The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

The Church of Christ was and is the living Christian Body,  even  before
the  written  Gospels;  thus  the  Church  holds  both  written and Oral
Tradition and is "the ground of our  salvation".   The  Orthodox  Church
bears  the  full  meaning  of  the  "One,  Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
Church".  It is not only "One", not only "Holy", not only "Catholic", or
not  only  "Apostolic"; it is ALL of THEM; it is "ORTHODOX".  The Church
is One, for Christ is One, its Founder and Head, Who  preserves  it  and
keeps it united.  The Church is Holy because it is the sacred vessel for
the sanctification of its faithful by the Holy  Spirit,  Who  keeps  the
Church  infallible.   It  is  also  Catholic.   This  word, catholic, is
derived from Kath-olou, which is a historical  expression  implying  not
only  that  the truth of the Church is unique everywhere and always, but
also that it teaches the absolute  (Kath-olou)  Truth.   It  united  the
universe  of  man  "so  there  shall  be  one flock, one Shepherd" (John
Chapter 10, Verse 16).  Finally, the Church  is  Apostolic  because  its
teaching and its active mission have been handed down by the Apostles in
a continuous and unique succession to the leaders  and  members  of  the
Church.   The  Church  has the Lord, Jesus Christ, as its Head; the Holy
Spirit as  its  Protector;  the  Grace  of  God  in  abundance  for  its
sanctification;   the   living  faithful  and  the  departed  ones;  the
Scripture, especially the New Testament, for its  teachings.   As  such,
the  Church  is built "upon this rock", and "the gates of Hell shall not
prevail against it", because the Church of Christ "is the Pillar and the
Bulwark of the Truth".


A scriptural defence of the Position of the Orthodox Church as the  One,
Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

by D. H. Stamatis

        With the proliferation of world wide evangelical preaching,  one
wonders  what  is  the  Christian  Truth and if indeed, the Truth can be
isolated and identified.  Furthermore, if the Truth can be isolated  and
identified,  is it possible to recognize it, amidst such a high push for
'healing', 'born again', and 'speaking in tongues' and other euphemisms?

	For an	examination,  let  us  first  look  at	the  scriptures,
specifically,  the scriptural text of Matthew, chapter 16, verses 13-19.
(All scripture quotes are from the King	James Bible).

	"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Phillippi,	He asked
His  disciples,	 saying,  Whom do men say that I the son of man	am?  And
they said, some	say that Thou art John the  Baptist:   some  Elias,  and
others,	 Jeremia,  or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them,	but whom
say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter  answered  and  said,  Thou	art  the
Christ the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him,
blessed	art thou, Simon	Bar Jona, for flesh and	blood hath not	revealed
it  unto  thee,	 but  my Father	which is in heaven.  And I say also unto
thee, that thou	art Peter, and upon this rock I	will  build  my	 church;
and  the  gates	 of  hell shall	not prevail against it.	 And I will give
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou  shalt
bind on	earth shall be bound in	heaven:	 and whatsoever	thou shalt loose
on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

        One can see without hesitation, without being a  graduate  of  a
seminary  school  and without being a theologian, that Jesus Christ, our
Lord, indeed founded ONE church and  not  many.   It  is  an  imperative
truth,  that  any  one can recognize, whether they have any education or
not.  It is a definite truth, because Jesus  Himself  clearly  reassured
Peter,  that  He  would  found  the  church (based on faith) and NOT ONE
satanic power would be able to destroy it.  On the other hand,  it  will
remain  for  ever  and immortal; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it.  (Matt.16:18).

	Powerful words are these, coming from Jesus, yet,  they	 clearly
state  that  His  Church  is One.  His words are uncompromising, without
hesitation and stated with authority.  We (Orthodox christians)	 believe
these  words  because  Jesus  is  our  Lord  and our God and furthermore
because	His credibility	is at the highest.

	Let us examine what has	happened since Jesus spoke these  words.
In  the	 last  2000 years much has taken place.	 Specifically, countries
were destroyed,	kings and kingdoms fell, autocrats and empires were lost
and  science and theories have changed.	 The church, however, that Jesus
Christ	founded,  remains  and	will  remain   forever,	  standing   and
functioning.   Many  tried  to	prophesize  the	 demise	and death of the
church,	but  they  themselves  died  and  are  forgotten.   The	 church,
however,  the  one that	belongs	to Jesus, the one He founded and the one
He protects, is	alive and CONSTANTLY  CONQUERS.	  St.  John  Chrysostom,
regarding  the victory of the church states:  "Nothing can be equal with
the church.  The church	is higher than the sky.	  The  church  is  wider
than the earth.	 The church never knows	old age	because	it is constantly
finding	itself in its zenith.  Do not tell me about walls  and	weapons,
because	the walls with the passage of time will	definitely fail, but the
church never.  These words are not  bragging  but  truths  that	 can  be
substantiated  in  reality.  How many have declared war	with the Church?
Nevertheless everyone was lost and at  the  same  time	the  church  was
elevated  higher than the sky.	The church always conquers those who are
at war with it.	 It prevails when it is	pushed,	it becomes brighter when
they  try  to  defile it.  It allows itself to be bruised and or wounded
and yet	it never succumbs or rather falls down due to those wounds.   It
passes	thru  high  seas but it	never sinks to the bottom.  It goes thru
high hurricanes	but it never shipwrecks.  Always wrestles but never gets
defiled.  They always dare her to fight	but they do not	win."

	From the above,	we can deduct, that only ONE church  has  to  be
the  true one and the one that was indeed founded by Jesus Himself.  All
others must be fakes and or elusive of the truth.

	Let us examine the Orthodox Church.  The people	who  believe  in
the Triune God,	receive	Jesus as their salvation and believe in	all that
the Holy Scriptures and	Holy Tradition proclaim, they make up the visual
church	--  the	church that Jesus founded in this world.  This church is
loved by Jesus,	so much, so that, '....even as	Christ	also  loved  the
church,	and gave Himself for it.'(Eph.5:25).

        For us, the Orthodox Christian, it is a dogma of faith that  the
church, the one founded by Jesus, is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
In fact, St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy proclaims that the church of
the  Living  God is 'the pillar and ground of the truth' (1 Tim.  3:15).
Therefore, only the church  possesses  the  whole  truth.   Or,  as  St.
Cyprian puts it "Outside and distant from the church, salvation does not
exist." It is precisely the issue of salvation, that caused the  Fathers
to name the church 'the vassal of salvation'.  St.Augustine, exemplifies
this point when he declares that 'the church is Christ in perpetuity'.

	After all this,	one might wonder and in	fact ask, why is it that
today there are	many churches (denominations) and all of them preach the
name of	Christ,	they hold the Holy Bible as foundation	of  their  faith
and they are asking the	populace to follow them?

	They tell us with all sincerity	that they are the 'real'  church
and that they are the holders of the 'truth'.  Between all of them which
one is the one and true	church which Christ Himself founded?  Is it  the
Protestants, is	it the Church of the Later Day Saints, is it the Jehovah
Witness, the Roman Catholic, or	is it the Orthodox Christians?	 Can  we
isolate	 the  truth?   Can  we	research  the question without being too
dogmatic and/or	academic?  I believe we	can.  In fact, we can answer the
question  without  hesitation and ambivalence -- just like Christ did --
that the true church, the one founded by Jesus is the  Orthodox	 Church.
One  might  say,  however,  that the other denominations claim the same,
with the same authority	and sureness.  Because of the significance  that
the  point  of	'church'  has  in  the ultimate	salvation of man, let us
examine	in a cursory fashion the facts of the  'church'	 before	 it  was
fragmented into	so many	'churches'.

	That Christ founded one	church and only	one church no  one  will
refute.	  In  fact,  even secular history refers to one	church up to the
9th century.  (During this century we begin to have major differences in
dogmas).   Up  to  this	point in time both the East and	the West had one
faith.	All Christians made up One Church and believed the same	 things.
In  the	 9th  century,	however,  Rome's  Pope	rebelled  from	the true
teachings and formed his own form of Christianity, i.e.	Catholicism.  In
the  16th  century a break was made from this new Catholicism because of
the inequities of the faith and	as a result the	Protestant movement came
into   existence.   Since  then,  the  Protestants  have  been	dividing
themselves into	groups,	such as	the Baptists, Pentecostals,  Methodists,

	All these churches that	left the  One  Church  of  Jesus  Christ
began  to  add	human  teachings  and  to  subtract Apostolic teachings,
because	of these changings, the	basic faith  does  not	agree  with  the
foundations of the original undivided church.

	This discrepancy happened because in their eagerness  to  defend
the  new  innovations,	all the	founders of these denominations	began to
misinterpret and misguide the words of the Bible to suite  their  flavor
of faith.

	We as Orthodox Christians, proclaim to the world and  especially
to  the	 heretics that we indeed hold the faith	and the	teachings of the
original  Christians,  pure  and  in  congruence  with	Jesus	Christ's
teachings.   To	 show  that  I	am not bending the truth or exaggerating
minute facts, let us look at the Holy Bible and	examine	the 'church'  of
Jesus  Christ.	 St.  Paul, in calling the bishops of Ephesus, proclaims
'Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,  over  which
the  Holy  Ghost hath made you overseers (epescopoe), to feed the church
of God,	which He hath purchased	with His own blood'  (Acts  20:28).   We
see  that  the	words in addition to the apostles and people (flock) are
specific  in  identification  of  clerics  i.e.,  bishops   (epescopoe).
Elsewhere,  St.Paul  states:   'Paul and Timotheus the servants	of Jesus
Christ,	to all the saints in Christ Jesus which	are  at	 Phillippi  with
the   bishops	(epescopoe)   and   deacons'  (Philipp.	  1:1).	  Paul's
delineation  of	 the  clerics  is  quite  evident,  because   here,   he
unmistakenably	differentiates between lay people, bishops, and	deacons.
As a matter of fact, in	1 Timothy 3:2-7	and 8-13 he goes on to say, what
is  the	 requirement  of  becoming  a  bishop  and  deacon respectively.
Furthermore, in	Titus 1:5 he orders Titus to identify and set  'ordained
elders'	(presbyters) in	each city.

	We can see that	the church of Christ during the	apostolic years,
was organized and also was made	up of shepherds	(clerics) and sheep (lay
people).  In fact, the shepherds received  the	grace  and  their  title
(honor	of  ordination)	 of  cleric  via  the laying on	of hands (1 Tim.

	You then, judge	 if  your  Christian  denomination  follows  the
Tradition  of  church  organization  and  the  division	of clergy.  Upon
examination, you will find that	ONLY Orthodoxy has kept	this.

	Another	 characteristic	 of  the  True	Church	is  that  it  is
unconsumable:	'That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will	build my
church;	and the	gates  of  hell	 shall	not  prevail  against  it'(Matt.
16:18).	  Here Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that His church will
not succumb to any satanic power.  On the other	hand, it will  stand  up
onto  the ages of ages unwavering, so that, it can continue its	purpose,
i.e. the salvation of the people.  Again,  you	be  the	 judge	of  your
denomination.  Does your denomination have the roots to	Jesus?	You will
find that ONLY Orthodoxy (founded in 33	A.D.) was  always.   All  others
came  after 1054 A.D.  Since Jesus reassured us	that His Church	will not
be destroyed, to the contrary, it will be  in  existence  for  ever  and
since  all  the	denominations came after 1054 A.D.  what happened to the
church for the first 1021 years?

	The third characteristic of  the  church  is  the  infallibility
i.e., the True Church does not make errors.  The True Church does not go
astray because the Holy	Spirit guides it  'into	 all  the  truth'  (John
16:13).	  ONLY	the  church  that  was founded by Christ Himself is 'the
pillar and ground of the truth'	(1 Tim.	 3:15) and  never  the	churches
that were founded by mortals.

	Again, there is	only one church	that  fits  these  descriptions,
i.e., the Orthodox Church.  How	does your denomination compare?

	The fourth characteristic of the True Church  is  the  Apostolic
Tradition.   Since  the	 church	 was before the	total scripture	(the New
Testament was completed	some 70	 years	after  Christ's	 death	and  the
Pentecost -- the birthday of the Church	-- the True Church must	continue
the Tradition of the early and developing church.   In	fact,  John  the
Evangelist  explicitly identifies in his Gospel, in the	21st chapter and
25th verse, the	rationale for Tradition.  He  summarizes  it  as:   "and
there  are  also  many	other things which Jesus did, the which, if they
should be written every	one, I suppose that even the world itself  could
not  contain  the  books  that	should be written.  Amen.' Also, 'And we
commend	you brethren, in the name of our  Lord	Jesus  Christ,	that  ye
withdraw  yourselves from every	brother	that walketh disorderly, and not
after the tradition which he received of us' (2	Thes.  3:6).  Also, 'For
as much	as ye know that	ye were	not redeemed with corruptible things, as
silver and gold, from your vain	conversation received by tradition  from
your  fathers'	(1  Peter  1:18).   See	 also  (Matt  15:   2-3,6;  Mark
7:3,5,8,9,13; and Col.2:8).

        Again, you judge if your denomination follows the Holy Tradition
of  Jesus  Christ  and the Apostles.  You will find that the ONLY church
that follows, keeps and guards these commandments of the  New  Testament
writers  is  the  ONE,  HOLY,  CATHOLIC  and APOSTOLIC Church, i.e., the
Orthodox Church.

	After a	really short cursory, I	hope that you will agree with me
and  you  will not doubt that indeed there is only One,	True Church that
was founded by Christ.	In fact, it is in that Church that one may  find
salvation  and	become	God's  child,  with the	right of the everlasting
life.  What do you think?  What	are you	going  to  choose?   The  Church
that is	founded	in Jesus Christ	or a church that was founded by	a mortal
person?	 What are you going to choose, the light or  the  darkness,  the
absolute  truth	 or  the perceived truth, the Orthodoxy	or the heretical
denominations?	The choice is clearly yours.


Let us love one another, that we may with one mind confess:
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Trinity cosubstantial and undivided.

The doors, the doors; with wisdom let us attend.

      The Twelve Articles of the Nicene Creed or the Symbol of Faith.

        1.  I believe in one (1) God, Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and
   Earth and of everything visible and invisable.

        2.  And in one (1) Lord Jesus Christ, the only-be-gotten Son of God,
   begotten of the Father before all Ages.  Light of Light, True God of True
   God, begotten not made, co-substantial with the Father, through Whom all
   things were made.

        3.  Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and
   was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became Man.

        4.  Crucified for our salvation under Pontius Pilate, He suffered and
   was buried.

        5.  And was resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures.

        6.  And ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father;

        7.  And He will return in glory to judge the living and the dead;
   Whose reign will have no end.

        8.  And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who
   proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son, is
   worshipped and glorified; Who spoke through the Prophets.

        9.  I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

       10.  I acknowledge One Baptism for the remission of sins.

       11.  I await for the resurrection of the dead.

       12.  And the life of the Ages to come.   Amen.