My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth", writes the Holy Apostle, John the Theologian (III John, v.4). "Instruct us in Thy path, that we may walk in Thy Truth"--is the first petition in the priestly prayers (the Prayers at Lamplighting) in the first Divine service of the daily cycle, Vespers.
The true path of faith, which has always been carefully preserved in the history of the Church, from of old was called "straight, right", in Greek, orthos--that is, "orthodoxy." In the early Christian literature there is constant mention of the keeping of "the rule of faith," the "the rule of truth." The very term "orthodoxy" was widely used even in the period before the Ecumenical Councils themselves, and in the Holy Fathers of the Church both of the East and of the West.
"Becoming acquainted with the history of the Church, and likewise observing the contemporary world, we see that the errors which war against Orthodox Truth have appeared and do appear (a) under the influence of other religions, (b) under the influence of philosophy, and (c) through the weakness of inclinations of fallen human nature, which seeks the rights and justifications of these weaknesses and inclinations.
Errors take root and become obstinate most frequently because of the pride of those who defend them, because of intellectual pride."
As Orthodox Christians we must be aware of the numerous threats posed to our beliefs by outside forces. We, as Orthodox Christians, must be willing to protect, preserve, and defend, our Orthodox Christian faith from error and heresy.
"In accordance with Apostolic faith delivered to us by tradition from the Fathers, I have delivered the tradition, without inventing anything extraneous to it. What I have learned, that I inscribed, comfortably with the Holy Scripture" - Saint Athanasios the Great.
"The Church is often likened to an ark. We Orthodox Christians believe that we should always be spiritually aware, and through prayer, fasting, and witnessing, enable people of our generation to come to know who we are and what we believe when it comes to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Faith. The "ship of salvation," the ark which is the Church, is available for anyone who desires to confess the faith with us. We seek always to help and guide the loving, faithful Christians within the Holy Orthodox Church to be zealous to fulfill her commandments and ordinances, not least to draw in with love and humility those who are crying out for help and salvation. And in the Holy Orthodox Church we and they may obtain that eternal salvation through Christ Our Lord."
No Orthodox Christian should ever attempt to compromise, ignore, to add, or subtract anything from our Holy Orthodox Christina faith. An Orthodox Christian is forbidden to be a so called "selective" Christian. The Orthodox Christian adheres and is obedient to the entirety of the Orthodox Christian faith. We, together, recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (The Symbol of Faith) openly to declare our common faith.
We must not be "marginal" Christians, and out of ignorance of the Faith, to create a false understanding of the Holy Tradition of the Church. We should never abuse the rights that we all have within the Church. A true and sincere commitment to our Church is required from all practicing Orthodox Christians. We must be careful as not to emulate people of other Christian traditions and practices.
Remain faithful and committed to our Holy Orthodox Christian Faith and not simply turn to the Church only when you need something from her. It is wrong and unorthodox to marginalize the Church in your mind and to mistreat and disrespect her. The whole idea of "hit and run" is totally unacceptable. In other words to turn to the Church when one needs her for a funeral, sickness, sacraments, memorials, divorce, or a Church document, and then the rest of the time to disappear. No Orthodox Christian of good conscience would act so rudely.
May Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enlighten us to think, feel, and act, as Orthodox Christian believers.