I was a little mystified. I had just entered the Orthodox Church for the first time, and then I heard this term Theotokos being applied to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. It took me some time to sort out just what the Orthodox mean by Theotokos. Let’s unpack just what’s going on here. Perhaps we can get a little “de-mystified” together!
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The Transfiguration is the time when Jesus led three disciples to the top of a mountain and He was revealed in His heavenly glory. This marked the event when His disciples truly knew Him for Who He Is. Let’s learn some more about what the Gospels say about the Transfiguration, and how this event informed our understanding of God. The event is described in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 9:28-36. The Transfiguration: Written in the Gospels “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
During the twentieth century many names were added to the Church’s roll of holy martyrs. Many of them bore witness to Christ during the Soviet Communist persecution in Russia. One who shines most brightly was a Protestant convert to the Orthodox faith, namely the Grand Duchess Elizabeth. Let’s learn some more about Grand Duchess Elizabeth the New Martyr, and how she lived her life.
Orthodox believe that our calling as Christians is to undertake a journey that leads to union with God, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, become partakers of the Divine nature. Sometimes this is referred to as “theosis” or “deification.” Let’s learn more about the path to union with God: the sacraments, prayer, and love. Union with God A study of 2 Peter 1:3-4 helps us to understand this:
The Greek word oikoumene means “the whole world,” and is the origin of the English word ecumenical. The seven ecumenical councils under discussion were assemblies consisting of bishops from all round the world. Their decisions at these councils on doctrine, cults and discipline were considered binding on all Christians. Let's learn some more about the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
Icons have been described as “Theology written in images and colour.” Icons are not just pictures — they are sacred images, which convey spiritual truth in picture form, and are sometimes described as windows to heaven. Let's learn some more about what icons are, how they are made, the symbolism involved in icons, and why some people protested against icons!
Chrismation is performed after baptism, and by it Christians are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let’s learn about Chrismation. Chrismation Chrismation is the mark of the Holy Spirit that God places upon His people. Making the sign of the cross on various parts of our body with the blessed oil of Chrism, the priest says, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The use of the word seal comes from the scriptures.
The word Orthodox means “conforming to established doctrine,” so Orthodox Christianity indicates “original Christianity” — Christianity in its pristine form and the fullness of Christian truth. It was the faith of the Apostles, which they took to the entire world in obedience to Christ’s command. Let’s learn some more about the Orthodox Church’s history and what makes it different from the Roman Catholic Church.