What is Christian Perfection?

We all naturally wish, and are commanded to be perfect. The Lord commands: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (St. Matthew 6:48). And Saint Paul admonishes: "In malice be ye children, but in understanding b men" (I Corinthians 14:20). In another place he says: "Stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Col 4:12); and again: "Let us go on unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1). The same commandment is also found in the Old Testament. Thus God says to Israel in Deuteronomy: "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God" (Deut. 18:18)...

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New Idolatry - New Paganism

We are well aware that there are two directions in the Neo-paganistic circles. One is acutely antichristian and believes that Hellenism and Christianity are incompatible. The second is more prudent and conciliatory, although accepting the harsh criticism of the former, against "Judeo-Christianity." It believes however in a continuous "Helleno-Christianity", in the co-existence of the ancient and Christian world, of course with the understanding that Christianity has not added many original ideas, but the greater part has been taken from or is modified ancient ideas.

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The Evangelical Character of the Church (Part II)

The Holy Bible is both a Divine and human record -it is a theanthropic document, infallible and fallible, an eternal and temporal record. In the Holy Bible God reveals Himself either through Prophets, Kings, and Shepherds or through His own Son. In the Holy Bible man seeks to "discover and touch" God (Acts 17:27). This encounter, however, between the Heavenly Father and earthly son or daughter is primarily a revelation and self-disclosure of God because man is still an infant or even still unborn spiritually. What the community of believers needed to record about the life of Christ, as well as its own life and practical needs, was designated Holy Scripture. This recorded revelation stands or falls by the testimony of the authority of the Church. The testimony, or martyria, of the Church to the authority of the written revelation is an absolute necessity.

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The Evangelical Character of the Church

Many factors have influenced the formation of dogma and the evolution of Orthodox Christian Theology. The Evangelion, or Gospel, has contributed the most. Holy Scripture is the fountain and essence of Greek Orthodox Theology; all other elements are auxiliary. The very substance of the Creed, ethos, and worship of Orthodoxy derives from the Evangelion (Gospel). But some writers, either of the Orthodox Church or of other persuasions, have overlooked the evangelical, or biblical, character of Orthodox Christianity. Even in serious manuals this facet of the Orthodox Church goes almost unheeded.

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Is There Grace Outside the Church?

Is God's grace received only by members of the Church or can there be grace outside the Church? Are only Orthodox Christians saved? Before we address these questions, let us explain briefly what grace is. Grace is the uncreated Divine Energy or power of the Holy Trinity, given to us from God the Father, through God the Son, by God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity always acts in creation through a common action. Without God's grace there is no salvation, no spiritual life, no eternal life. Although grace is simple and one, it bestows different gifts to those who partake of it, depending upon the need of each one, and upon one's degree of receptivity. We partake of God's grace primarily, though not exclusively, through the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), especially through Baptism and Holy Communion, and through the ascetical life, primarily prayer.

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The Sinner's Condition (Part II)

Even worse is the prince of this world who is unparalleled in his cunning, spitefulness and experience in seduction. It is through the flesh and materialism with which the soul became mingled at the fall that he has free access to the soul. In his approach, he kindles curiosity, self-interest, and pleasure-loving, self-comfort in various ways. Through various enticements, he holds the soul in these things with no escape; through various suggestions he suggests plans for satisfying them and then either aids in fulfilling them, or thwarts them through instruction of other more ambitious plans.

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The Sinner's Condition

For the most part, the Logos/Word of God depicts the sinner, who is faced with the necessity of renewal in repentance, as being submerged in deep slumber. The distinguishing characteristic of such people is not always outright depravity, but rather the absence in the strictest sense of inspired, selfless zeal for pleasing God, together with a decided aversion for everything sinful. Devotion is not the main concern of their cares and labors; they are attentive about many other things, but are completely indifferent to their salvation, and do not sense the danger they are in. They neglect the good life and lead a life that is cold in faith, though it be occasionally righteous and outwardly irreproachable.

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What is the Relationship Between the Priest and the Parish Council?

The Parish Priest is the representative of the local Hierarch (Metropolitan) in the Parish and as such heads and administers the parish. As the Spiritual Leader of the Parish, his priestly duties consist in shepherding the Parish entrusted to his care, directing its orderly life, preserving its unity, and keeping it faithful to its divine purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ (GOAA Regulations 17:1). He and the members of the Parish Council are together responsible for the administration of the Parish. The following pastoral and theological guidelines should govern the working relationship of the Priest and the Parish Council:

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