Greek Orthodox Church
St John Chrysostom

Orthodox Catechism – The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church


The Church

According to the Fathers, the Church is known by the name “Church” “because it calls to and assembles together all men;” it “is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”It is constituted by two elements : the Divine, spiritual and invisible; as also the human, material and visible (as in that of the living body we cannot divorce the soul from the body, spiritual from material; so in the Church we cannot separate the Divine/spiritual element from the human/material).The Church is the totality of all those who profess correct belief in Christ as Lord and Savior of the world, united in the same Orthodox faith, in the same sacraments, to “one body”, the “Head” of which is the Lord.The Church is divided into two parts : the clergy, who possess the grace of ordination, and the laity.The Church is administered by bishops who possess an unbroken succession dating back to the Apostles, and through them to the Founder of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church is the only authentic and infallible teacher of the revealed truth.



A religious truth issuing from divine revelation and indisputably defined by the Church.Source & Basis of Dogma

  • Revelation- God’s self revelation to His Creation
  • Holy Tradition- that which is given over within the Church from the time of Christ’s apostles to the present day
  • The Bible- the Old Testament & the New Testament
  • The Liturgy- the gathering and work of the people
  • The Councils- a gathering of bishops who representing the body of the Church
  • The Fathers- saints who were theologians and spiritual teachers who defended and explained the doctrines of the Christian Faith
  • The Saints- those who share the holiness of God
  • The Canons- a rule or norm or measure of judging
  • Church Art- comprised of the artistic expressions of man and the blessings and inspirations of God


The Orthodox Church recognizes two distinct sorts of dogmas : those perpetually preached and believed by the fullness of the Church as included in various dogmatic and symbolic tests and the writings of the Fathers, and those proclaimed and ratified by the seven ancient ecumenical councils and those local council which were ratified by them.


The Nicene Creed – the Confession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages : Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made.For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.Crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, He suffered and was buried.On the third day He rose, according to the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Of His kingdom there shall be no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.

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.


One God in Three Persons
In the one God there are three hypostases, each one being different and each acting in a distinct manner: 

The Father – unbegotteness and paternity
The Son – begotteness and sonship
The Holy Spirit – procedure

The Orthodox Catholic Church preserves unchanged the dogmatic teaching of the ancient, undivided Church concerning the One Triune God, as formulated by the first two ecumenical councils, interpreted and developed by the great Fathers of the Church and then taught and practiced in various ways by the Church (i.e. the Nicene Creed, the hymns of the Church)


The Orthodox doctrine of creation is that God has brought everything and everyone from non-existence into being. God remains uncreated and ever-existing.


Man is “created in the image and likeness of God.” Humanity has the task (process- oriented) of reflecting God in His creation. Humanity though can only be understood in light of the revelation of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Sin, evil, the devil, suffering and death go hand in hand in the bible and in Orthodox theology. With sin, man literally, “misses the mark.” The fundamental truth : man and the world need to be saved.


Jesus Christ
Believing in “One Lord Jesus Christ” is the prime confession of faith. It is this confession which identifies Jesus with the Most High God. Thus, we understand that Jesus the Christ is begotten before all ages. In other words, He is without beginning and without end (the Alpha and the Omega).


Jesus is born from the Virgin Mary because He is the divine Son of God, the Savior of the world. Jesus is not understood as a “mere man.” He is indeed a real man, a whole and perfectly complete man with a human mind, body, and soul. But He is the man which the Son and Word of God has become. Thus, the Church confesses that Mary is the Theotokos, which means literally the one who gives birth to God.


Christ’s victory over death is man’s release from sins and man’s victory over enslavement to the devil.


Christ is Risen from the dead! This is the main proclamation of the Christian faith. IT forms the heart of the Church’s preaching, worship, and spiritual life. The Orthodox Church believes in Christ’s real death and His actual resurrection. In His resurrection Jesus is a new and glorious form. Christ’s resurrected humanity is full of life and divinity. It is humanity in the new form of eternal life of the Kingdom of God.


The ascension of Jesus Christ is the final act of His earthly mission of salvation. The doctrinal meaning of the ascension is the glorification of human nature, the reunion of man with God.


It is Christ who will judge, not God the Father. Christ has received the power of judgment as the One who is truly man, the One who has suffered every temptation of this world and has emerged victorious.Man’s final judgment and eternal destiny is depends solely on whether or not he loves God and his brethren. The conditions of the final judgment are already known. Christ has given them Himself with absolute clarity (Matthew 25:31-46; Gospel Reading for Meatfare Sunday).


The Kingdom of God
Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world.” The Kingdom of God, therefore is a Divine Reality. It is the reality of God’s presence among men through Christ and the Holy Spirit.