Beauty and Saving the World

July 16, 2014 / Jean Hoefling This is an excerpt of the article originally published by Relief Journal, a Christian online publication. Click the link below for full article. Beauty will save the world. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky In the Orthodox Church, from Easter to the Ascension, an ethereal hymn is sung while the faithful partake of Eucharist. The brief lyrics implore all who will, to receive the Body of Christ, drink of the Fountain of Immortality. Assuming this transformation of … [Read more...]

On the Reception of Holy Communion

From the Orthodox Study Bible: Who May Receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church? Orthodox Christians fully participate in the celebration of the Liturgy when they receive the body and blood of the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion, as the Lord himself commands (John 6: 53). To receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, one must be a practicing Orthodox Christian; this means that you must be baptized and/or chrismated in the Orthodox Church and that your beliefs and lifestyle are in … [Read more...]

The Eucharist

From the Orthodox Study Bible: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks [Gr. eucharistesas], He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’” (1 … [Read more...]

The Sacraments, Divine Mysteries of the Church

Do you know what a sacrament is?  A sacrament or divine mystery by its most basic definition is a special occasion of Divine grace. Most of us have heard of the seven main sacraments or mysteries of the Church they are: Baptism, Chrismation, Holy Communion, Confession, Holy Unction, Marriage, and Ordination.  Some people within their lifetime will receive each of the seven main sacraments while others may only participate in four or five.  Yet every Orthodox Christian receives at least three of … [Read more...]

The Case for Communion

Part I A friend recently explained to me that he did not find the worship of the Orthodox Church relevant.  For him, it was boring, out of touch with twenty-first century life, and simply one "branch" of Christianity’s "take" on how we should worship.  In response, I explained that true worship comes from God and is ordained by Him.  The Church, therefore, cannot seek or invent new ways of worshiping Him, ways that might appear to be relevant.  Rather, she must be faithful to the commands and … [Read more...]

How Does the Bread and Wine Become the Body and Blood?

Part 3 In this article, which is party of a series dedicated to the Mystery of the Eucharist, I will discuss how the bread and wine (the gifts) become the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this passage, I must be careful not to say too much. There are many things that the Church in her wisdom has passed over in silence. Leaving the tendency to “explain” or provide logical answers to every question that arises, the Church through the centuries only speaks when she … [Read more...]

Is Communion the Real Body and Blood of Christ?

Part 2 In a previous article, I wrote about a friend of mine who questioned why Orthodox Christians couldn’t just get back to the Bible and use it as a means for agreeing over what Christianity truly is. During that conversation, my friend asked another question that is intimately related to the first: he wanted to know why we Orthodox Christians teach that Communion is the actual body and blood of Christ. Now, I would be naïve to believe that only non-Orthodox Christians question the … [Read more...]