Articles » Different But Not New

WHAT IS ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY?
The Christian Church was founded in 33 A.D. in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Virtually all Christians believe that. But what may come as a surprise, is that this original Church has continued throughout history until today. There is one body in Christendom which has kept intact the faith as revealed in the New Testament. That body is the Orthodox Christian Church, the second largest Christian Church in the world (approximately 250 million people).

IF ORTHODOXY IS THE SECOND LARGEST CHRISTIAN GROUP IN THE WORLD, WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE ALL THE ORTHODOX?
The Church founded by Christ quickly expanded beyond Jerusalem. The first large number of Gentiles were converted to Christianity in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26). Indeed, the first time the disciples were called Christians was in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Midway through the first century the Church spread from Antioch to many other countries through her missionary efforts. Our parish, St. Raphael Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission, is a direct descendent of that ancient Church.
But only in about the last 200 years has the Orthodox Church come to America through immigrants. Many Orthodox Churches have been relatively isolated within the ethnic communities they served, often with services (Divine Liturgy) being offered only in their native language. Today, however, The Holy Orthodox Church, because of wide spread interest by scholars, students and members of other denominations, is growing dramatically in America. Increasingly, The Divine Liturgy is offered in English.  Such is the case here at St. Raphael.
Methodists, Church of England (Episcopalians) and many others (collectively referred to as “Protestants”) broke away each with their own interpretation of Scripture, in reaction against the Roman Catholic changes to the biblical faith.

SO WHERE IS THE NEW TESTAMENT FAITH OF OUR FATHERS?
Throughout the last 2000 years The Holy Orthodox Church has retained the unbroken continuity the faith “once for all delivered” (Jude 3) by Christ Himself and His Apostles. In fact, the word Orthodox means “straight (or true) teaching or worship.”

IF ORTHODOX MEANS “TRUE TEACHING”, WHAT DO ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?
We believe what was handed down from Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the early Fathers of the Church. This faith was put into a Creed by the bishops of the early Church.

NICENE CREED 325/381 A.D.
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 worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made;
When for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnated 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 sits at the right hand of the Father;
And He shall come again with the 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 proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spake 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 world to come.
Amen.

CAN SUCH AN ANCIENT CHURCH BE RELEVANT TODAY?
Absolutely! Christ founded his Church for all ages and for all people. Increasingly, our members are coming from various de-nominations as Christians, as well as non-believers, seeking the Church which Christ founded. In response, the Orthodox Church has translated the ancient Divine Liturgy into English. If you have not experienced this Liturgy, you are in for a rare treat. Many have said they are transformed spiritually by the Liturgy itself.

DOES ST. RAPHAEL ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CONDUCT THE DIVINE LITURGY IN ENGLISH?
Yes, in English only. Our schedule of services is listed on the back panel for your convenience. We cordially invite you to join us. You will likely meet other persons from your religious background in the congregation.

MAY I CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION WITHOUT OBLIGATION?
By all means. Father David Kruse was himself a Protestant minister prior to conversion to Orthodoxy. He will understand your questions and be happy to provide you with the information you need. Regardless of your background, Saint Raphael Orthodox Mission invites you to “come home” to the ancient Christian Faith.  Click on CONTACT US for e-mail and phone!

St. Raphael Antiochian Orthodox Church | Serving Palm Springs, Coachella Valley

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