What is Coptic Orthodox?
What is Coptic Orthodox?
The term 'Orthodox' is of Greek origin. 'Ortho' means straight, and 'doxa' mean glorification. So, 'Orthodox' is straight praise/ teachings, followed by established traditions and beliefs, conforming to established 'doctrine'.
The sources of Orthodox spirituality are;
Orthodox spirituality is mainly expressed through prayers, and daily worship, which ultimately lead to union with the uncreated divine Light.
Dogma is defined as:
THE ROLE OF THE FATHERS:
The Fathers understood their position to be witnesses only, and not interpreters of the Holy Scriptures. The first requirement was honesty, not learning. They recognized only one duty and responsibility, 'to hand down to other faithful men that good thing the Church had received according to the command of GOD.' (Jude 3)
The Fathers were not called upon to answer 'what do I think is probable or even certain' of the Holy Scriptures. Rather, 'what I was taught and have been entrusted upon to hand down to others'. This is The Traditional Faith of the Church.
Now, let us study the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, in 50AD; 16 years after the Lord's Ascension into the Heavens;
When Paul and Barnabas arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the entire church, including the apostles and elders. They reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. However, some men, who had been Pharisees before their conversion, stood up and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and are required to follow the law of Moses.
Apostolic preaching understands salvation in three tenses:
Past: We have been saved, in baptism
Present: We are being saved, working out our salvation with God's help (Phil.2:12, 13)
Future: We shall be saved on Judgment Day.
St. James Bishop of the Jerusalem Church, revealed the 'Orthodox teaching', is composed of four parts:
In this judgment we see clearly that St. James, along with the Jerusalem Council, have been:
GENERAL WORD ABOUT THE FATHERS OF THE COUNCILS:
THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF NICEA IN 32SAD:
Historical Background About The First Ecumenical Council of Nice(a):
318 Holy Fathers assembled in the city of Nice(a), in Bithynia, in the year 325AD, at the order of Emperor Constantine the Great. [Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, second series, vol. XIV, p.8)
The Thoughts of the Fathers As They Are Witnessing:
The Fathers of the Council at Nice(a) were, at one time, ready to accede to the request of some of the bishops and use only Scriptural expressions in their definitions.
However, after several attempts, they determined there may be explanations drifted from the focal point or message.
St. Athanasius explains after many attempts, the Orthodox proposed expressions, and found something clearer and more unequivocal to be adopted,
real unity of faith was to be attained. Accordingly the word 'homousios' was if adopted.
Son Himself said; "The Logos is always in the Father, and, the Father always in the Logos", as the sun and its splendor are inseparable.
[Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, second series, vol. XIV, Introduction to Nicene Creed]
Quick Hints Concerning The Orthodoxy of the Decree:
We believe in One God: Gen.1 :27; Ex.20:3; Deut.6:4; ls.45:5,21; Matt.19:17; Rom.3:30
God the Father the Pantocrator: Psalm 45:3,4; Ps.68:5; 1 Cor.8:6; Eph.4:5,6; Gal.1 :1,3
Creator of heaven and earth, of all things; seen and unseen: Ex.20:11; Neh.9:6; Rev.10:6; Col.1 :16
We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ: the only-begotten Son of the Father, before all ages: Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb.1 :5; 5:5; ls.9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:14,18; 3:16; 1Cor.8:6; Eph.4:5; Phil.2:11; Rom.5:17; Jude 25
Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten not created: ls.6:1-3; John 3:19; 12:35; 8:12,42; 16:38
Of one essence (same substance) with the Father: John 1:1; 10:30,38; 14:11-18' 16:15; 17:21,22
By Whom all things were made: Gn.1 :3,6,8-11, 14,20,22,24,26,28,29; John 1 :3; Eph.3:9; Col.1 :16; Heb.1 :2; Rev.4:11; Ps. 33:6
Who for us men, and for our salvation: Rom.5:6,8; 1 Peter2:21; 3:18
Came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit: John3:13; 6:38; Matt.1 :18,20
And of the Virgin Mary, He took flesh: ls.7:14; Luke 1 :35; Gal. 4:4
Was crucified for us, under-during the reign of Pontius Pilate; suffered and was buried: ls.53:4-9; Matt.27:26; Heb.2:9, 10, 18; 1 Peter 2:21; 3:18
He rose from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures: Matt.28:6; Rom.14:9; 1Cor.15:4; 1Thess.4:14
Ascended into the heavens, and sat at the right hand of His Father: Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 7:55
He is coming again in His glory, to judge the living and the dead: Matt.16:27; Luke 19:26; Acts 1 :11; 10:42; 2Tim.4:1; 1 Peter4:5
Whose kingdom shall have no end: Dan.7:13,14; Luke 1:33
THE SECOND ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE IN 381AD:
150 Holy Fathers set forth the continuation or second part of the Creed, which is consonant with the holy and great synod of Nice (a)
Orthodoxy Is Practiced In The Decree of This Council:
The First Canon says: The Faith of the 318 Fathers assembled at Nice(a) in Bithynia, shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm.
-Every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Arians and the Semi-Arians, Macedonians or Pneumatomachi (as the Macedonians are called by the Catholics), Sabellians, as well as that of the Apollinarians.
The Semi-Arian, Macedonians Heresy:
This heresy was adopted by Macedonius, who occupied the see of Constantinople. The divinity of the Holy Spirit was denied, and that was their capital error.
The Sabellians Heresy:
This heresy regarded the Son and the Holy Spirit as aspects and modes of, or as emanations from, the One Person of the Father. Such a view tended to directly dissolve Christian belief in the Holy Trinity and in the divine Incarnation.
The Apollinarians Heresy:
In his zeal for the true deity of Christ, and fear of a double personality, Apollinarius fell into the error of a partial denial of Jesus' true humanity. He made Christ a 'middle being' between God and man. One part divine and two parts human were fused in the unity of a new nature.
He said, Christ is neither whole man, nor God, but a mixture of God and man. On the other hand, he regarded the Orthodox view of a union of full humanity with a full divinity in one person-of two whole entities, i.e. in one whole entity, as an absurdity.
[Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, second series, vol. XIV, p.172•174]
QUICK HINTS CONCERNING THE ORTHODOX OF THE DECREE:
Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, Giver of Life: Matt.9:38; John 3:6; 6:45; Acts 5:3,4; 13:2,4; 1Cor.2:13; 2Cor.3:17; Heb.6:4; 2Peter1 :21; 2Tim.3:16; 1 John5:4
Who proceeds from the Father: John 15:26
Is worshiped and glorified, with the Father and the Son: John 4:24; 1John5:7
Who spoke by the prophets: 2Peter1 :21
And in one, holy, catholic-universal, and Apostolic Church: Matt.18:17; Acts 2:1; 1Cor.11:18,22; Gal.3:28; Eph.2:20
We confess one baptism for the remission of sins: Acts 2:38; Rom.6:4; Eph.4:5; Col.2:12; 1 Peter3:21
We look for the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the age to come. Amen: Matt.25:32; John 5:29' 1 Cor.15: 12-58
THE THIRD ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF EPHESUS IN 431AD:
This Council was to bestow on St. Mary the Title of 'Theotokos', which was understood, however, not formulated in the church. This Council assembled to refute the heresy of Nestorius, who said that St. Mary is the Mother of Jesus in flesh, but not the Mother-of-God!
1 -Ancient Christian Writers, The Didache, vol.6, p.1-25
2 -The Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, second series, vol. XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, p. 2,3,4-56; 172-174; 3 - NKJV-Nelsons Study Bible
4 - Septuagint Version
5 - Webster's Dictionary
6 - Wikipedia Internet
Father Markos Hanna was ordained presbyter by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III on Friday, February 19, 1988 in St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. He served at St. Mark’s in Los Angeles from 1988-2002 and is currently serving at Archangel Michael in Simi Valley. He has written and translated many church books from Arabic to English. Amazon published one of his books; MORAL ISSUES in 2012.
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