Our Faith

The categories below contain detailed explanations of various beliefs of the ancient Orthodox Church.  But the faith cannot be learned online or from books.  Orthodoxy is a lived faith, the faith of the Apostles, and we live it within our parish communities.  We invite you to join us!

  • Faith and Worship
    Explore the tenets of the Orthodox faith.
  • The Nicene Creed

    The Nicene Creed is the essential statement of the Orthodox Faith.

    I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

    And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made:

    Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

    And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;

    And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

    And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;

    And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

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

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

    I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.

    I look for the Resurrection of the dead,

    And the Life of the age to come. Amen.

  • The Lord's Prayer

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

    Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

    Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;

    and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

    If a priest is present, the prayer ends with the priest saying:

    For thine is the kingdom and the power and the Glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

    If said at home or outside the presence of a priest, conclude the prayer by saying:

    Through the prayers of our Holy Father, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

  • The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints

    Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, in full, conscious, and ostensible act, belongs to the Genuine Eastern Orthodox Church (the Old Calendar Orthodoxy). Our Holy Synod, accepts, implements and preaches only whatever was delivered to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by the Holy Apostles, and the God-bearing Fathers, through the Holy Ecumenical and the Local Councils, as they included in the “Sacred Pedalion” (also known as the "Rudder" or the “Steering Wheel of the Church”).

    We remain faithful and dedicated, by the grace of the Holy Trinity, to the one tradition of the God-bearingfathers and have and hold and preservethe Faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3).

    We also believe in what was decided in all of the pan-orthodox synods, including the condemnation of the heresy of ecumenism and the prohibition against the adoption of new calendar which was invented by the popes to replace the Church's traditional Julian calendar, which was approved by the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea,and has never, by Ecumenical Council, been repudiated. For all Church services, we practice and follow the calendar of the Holy Saints, Martyrs and faithful who have preserved the Faith of Christ’s Church through the generations.

  • Holy Sacraments

    The sacraments in the Orthodox Church are called the “Holy Mysteries.” Seven actions of Grace are generally considered to be sacraments: baptism, chrismation, holy eucharist, confession and penance, matrimony, holy orders and holy unction (annointing of the sick).

    Enumerating the sacraments is a Roman Catholic innovation and is not an ancient practice of the Church and, in many ways, it tends to be misleading since it appears that there are just seven specific rites which are “sacraments” and that all other aspects of the life of the Church are essentially different from these particular actions. The more ancient and traditional practice of the Orthodox Church is to consider everything which is in and of the Church as sacramental or mystical.

  • Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition

    Orthodoxy believes that the Bible is the sacred and divinely inspired revelation of God to human history. The Orthodox faith and devotion are firmly rooted in scripture. There is no worship service in the Orthodox Church which does not include bible readings from both the Old and New Testaments.

    The source of the New Testament goes beyond the apostolic authorship. Christ Himself is the good teacher, and He is the ‘Word of God’. The teachings of the Church are embodied in the Life of Christ. Jesus himself left no writings of His own. What He gave us was His life, and a lifestyle known simply as, ‘The Way’. He also formed a Church headed by the Apostles, making a new covenant, sealed by His last and most precious gift, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit speaks through the Word, but is alive and active in Christ’s followers; the Church.

    However, it is historical fact that early Christians had only limited access to bibles until the invention of the printing press in 1493. The source of their unity and faith in the centuries before bibles were available was Holy Tradition. In fact, until a Council of the Orthodox Church in 397 AD, there was not even an accepted set of writings that Christians agreed constituted the Holy Scripture. Remember also, early Christians worshiped Christ and practiced the Faith of the Apostles for decades before the books of the New Testament were even written. Those first Christians worshiped and sustained the Faith based on Apostolic Tradition. In 2 Thess. 2:15, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Thessalonians: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” Remember as St. John writes in his Gospel ““Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.” Are we then to ignore those things that the Apostles taught by word of mouth, but did not write? God Forbid! Tradition is ‘The Way’ of life, based on Christ’s teachings and sayings, and handed down from the Apostles and their successors. Orthodoxy observes strictly this traditional way of life. Scripture is not open to individual interpretation. It is understood by the Holy Spirit in the Living Tradition of the Church. Scripture complements and strengthens Tradition, and likewise, Scripture requires the dynamic embodiment of Tradition, where the Spirit thrives.

  • The Seven Ecumenical Councils

    As the Christian faith grew and spread from the Middle East into Africa, Asia and Europe, as you might imagine disagreements about the essential dogmas (doctrines) of the faith arose from time to time. The vast majority of those disagreements arose around the understanding of God. It is impossible to share the same faith when one does not share the same understanding of God. Thus, these disagreements had to be resolved to answer the fundamental question of what a Christian must believe.

    The questions were answered in what are called Ecumenical Councils. An Ecumenical Council is a council of Bishops of the Church whose decisions are accepted by the Church as a whole. The Orthodox Church recognizes Seven Ecumenical Councils. The conciliar (meaning by council) method of decision making is strictly biblical.

    The first church council in history was held in the apostolic church to decide the conditions under which the gentiles, that is, the non-Jews, could enter the Christian Church. The Council of Jerusalem is described in Acts 15 and the Apostles, gathered as a council, understood their decisions would be guided not by man, but by the Holy Spirit. From that time on, all through history councils were held on every level of church life to make important decisions. Bishops met regularly with their priests, also called presbyters or elders, and people. It became the practice, and even the law, very early in church history that bishops in given regions should meet in councils held on a regular basis.

    At times in church history, councils of all of the bishops in the church were called. All the bishops were not able to attend these councils, of course, and not all such councils were automatically approved and accepted by the Church in its Holy Tradition. In the Orthodox Church only seven such councils, some of which were actually quite small in terms of the number of bishops attending, have received the universal approval of the entire Church in all times and places. These councils have been termed the Seven Ecumenical Councils. From these Seven Ecumenical Councils derive the essential dogmas of the Christian Church. No modern denomination which rejects any of the Councils can claim to be a continuation of the early Church.

    Summary of the Seven Ecumenical Councils


    Council Year Decisions
    Nicea 1 325 Formulated the First Part of the Creed, defining the divinity of the Son of God
    Constantinople I 381 Formulated the Second Part of the Creed, defining the divinity of the Holy Spirit
    Ephesus 431 Defined Christ as the Incarnate Word of God and Mary as Theotokos
    Chalcedon 451 Defined Christ as Perfect God and Perfect Man in One Person
    Constantinople II 553 Reconfirmed the Doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ
    Constantinople III 680 Affirmed the True Humanity of Jesus by insisting upon the reality of His human will and action
     Nicea II 787 Affirmed the propriety of icons as genuine expressions of the Christian Faith
  • The Calendar Question

    Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church bases its liturgical year and celebrates the Feasts of the Church based on the Julian Calendar. While our daily lives in the world are ordered on the Gregorian Calendar, we must remember that it was Jesus Christ himself said "“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36). Likewise the Apostle Paul reminds us that in Christ we have died to the world, and are not to be bound to earthly things. (Colossians 2:20). To be sure, the life of Christ's Church in no way can be bound to the demands or rigor of worldly convention. The use of the Julian calendar has both ecclesiastical and spiritual reasons behind it.

    The First Ecumenical Council adopted the Julian calendar as the method for determining the date of Easter and the decision was affirmed in subsequent councils. With full awareness of the scientific errors in the calendar, the Church steadfastly maintained that for ecclesiastical purposes, the Julian calendar was the only calendar to be followed. No Church council ever overturned this decision. It was the unilateral act of the Pope of Rome that imposed the Gregorian calendar on the Western Church. The Eastern Church continued to uphold the decisions of the Church Councils.

    Sadly, in 1924, the Greek state church unilaterally adopted the new calendar, and was widely condemned. Yet over time, more local churches followed suit. This action caused a separation between those faithful who uphold traditional Christianity and modernist who wish to mold the church to the present day. They live in the world and want the church to be of the world. But that is not the commandment of Christ!

    We hold to the Old Calendar for several reasons. First, the Orthodox Church is a conciliar Church, and the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils must be upheld. The Apostle Paul reminded us that all things must be done in good order, and this is our duty. Second, the adoption of the new calendar betrays ecumenist intentions, which place agreement and friendship above preaching the true faith. In addition, the use of the Old Calendar maintains the continuity of the Church which was founded by Christ, governed by the Apostles, and preserved by the sacrifice of the martyrs, saints and faithful through the ages. We celebrate the festivals and Holy Days of the Church as our forebearers did. We see no reason to change the practice of 1900 years of Orhtodox Christianity to conform to modern culture.  The Apostle Paul urges the faithful to "Stand firm in faith." (1 Corinthians 16:13).  For this reason, the True Orthodox have found it necessary to separate from those jurisdictions that condone the usage of the Gregorian calendar.

    Yes, it is a little confusing at first to celebrate fixed feasts 13 days later than the day on the Gregorian calendar, but the change is an easy adjustment. And it is a constant reminder that we are set apart from the world. When we enter the Church, when we pray in our homes, we are no longer in the world. Instead, we are in festival with the saints and faithful from centuries past, who prayed, worshiped and spread the faith as we continue to do today.

  • Church Governance

    The Orthodox Church does not have a supreme leader, such as the pope in the Roman church.  In the Orthodox church, each bishop is responsible for the care of their diocese and bishops may not interfere in the affairs of another bishop’s diocese.  All bishops are of equal rank.  Bishops in a jurisdiction form a Holy Synod, and one Bishop may preside over the Synod in an administrative role and act as a spokesman for the jurisdiction.  Yet even that primate is a ruling bishop only within the boundaries of his diocese.  Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church is a stavropegial parish, meaning that it is directly under the head of our Holy Synod, Metropolitan Angelos.