RELI 448N Assignment Interview Essay
RELI 448N Assignment Interview Essay
Orthodox Christianity comparative analysis
The person I interviewed is a close friend of mine who has been practicing Orthodox Christianity for over 10 years and identifies himself as a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As you know, Christianity has several directions: Orthodox, Catholic and Baptist. Today, only about 12% of Christians are Orthodox and occupy the third place in the number of followers among the directions in Christianity. Initially, the Christian Church was One, but in 1054 there was a split between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. For many centuries, enmity and mutual reproaches of hereticism reigned; the heads of the two churches anathematized each other. Unity within Orthodoxy and Catholicism also could not resist, since Protestants broke away from the Catholic branch, and the Orthodox Church had its own schismatics – Old Believers. It was then in 1054 that a branch of Orthodox Christianity was officially formed.
There are several basic beliefs in Orthodox Christianity that a friend of mine told me about. They include the following: God is seated in the faces of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the head of the church is Jesus Christ, not the Patriarch; baptism frees a person from sins; the believer will be saved and receive eternal life. Orthodox Christians believe that after death his soul will gain eternal salvation and for this, practicing Orthodox Christian believers devote to serving God and fulfilling the commandments. It is believed that the believer should accept any trials with meekness and even with joy, because despondency and murmuring are revered as a mortal sin.
As mentioned before, believing Orthodox Christians to confess their faith mainly come to services that are held in churches. The Orthodox Church itself in terms of society consists of priesthood (bishops, priests, deacons), as well as clergy (subdeacon, psalmist / reader, chorister, sexton / altar boy) and the believers themselves, who play the role of parishioners in the Orthodox Church. Every baptized Christian tries to follow the Commandments, not to sin, and in order to practice religion, he also visits the temple during services, and also studies the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) and reads prayers, psalms.
One of the main stories is the story of the birth and salvation of mankind from their sinfulness by Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father to Earth. As the son of the Father, the Holy Spirit and an ordinary human woman, the Virgin Mary, who was later canonized, he lived an ordinary human life in which he preached, and in the end, he was crucified and died for human sins in order to save them and give eternal life to Kingdom of the Father.
Many different rituals come out of this, which are directly related to biblical stories and the practice of religion. For example, there are several basic ordinances, including Confession and Communion. They are tightly connected with each other and are just a direct connection with the events of the crucifixion of Christ and his Ascension into the Kingdom of the Father. Confession is the repentance of the soul, and during the Communion the Priest forgives sins, allowing the believer to taste the wine (blood) and prosphora (flesh) of Christ, as was done by Jesus himself with the Disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. There are also smaller rituals like the consecration of willow or fruit on certain days, the consecration of holy water, or the painting of eggs red for Easter, as a memory of a miracle that happened. Church candles made from natural materials (for example, beeswax) can be used for the sacraments and rituals. In addition, the Clergy use incense, censers, as well as various scriptures, they themselves wear different clothes (cassocks) by color for different holidays. In the temples themselves there are icons to which believers can approach in order to pray in person and “venerate”. Bells are often used to start a liturgy or memorial service. The altar in the temple is considered a sacred place. Only priests of the church can go there (and those who helps), mainly only men and, in rare exceptions, girls before their first menstruation.
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The main laws that Orthodox Christians adhere to are the Commandments from the New Testament, which speak about how to lead a correct, godly life. A sense of God’s grace and love is what awaits godly Christians.
Orthodox Christianity most likely refers to the Theistic theory according to the Bible, in which God created the Universe, people and those wished to establish contact with him and live according to his laws.
However, given the fact that all this time society did not stand in one place and the world was changing, conflicts arose to this day. My partner told me that the Christian Orthodox Church to this day imposes quite severe restrictions on the lives of people with whom she personally does not always agree. For example, the fact that women are forbidden to wear trousers or skirts above the knee, as this way they inflame lust in men. However, before the knowledge of nudity, people used to dress differently, besides, a person as a rational being can himself fight inappropriate thoughts. And this is the only example – there are a lot of such inconsistencies and strange inconsistencies. Basically, a large number of traditions focus on both faith and behavior. Jesus said that many believers will be rewarded with everything according to faith, but they must adhere to the correct way of life, which is what practicing Orthodox Christians follow.
My practice of traditions is noticeably different, because despite the fact that I also read prayers (mantras), I make offerings in the form of flowers, and in Christianity it is not very customary to do this. Moreover, we also pray for a sacred image (in Orthodox Christianity it is an icon), but we follow the “correct” behavior because of belief in reincarnation, while Christians believe in the second coming and the Day of Judgment, as well as Eternal life in Paradise or Hell.
This experience gave me an excellent opportunity not only to get to know and better understand Orthodox Christianity, but also gave me the opportunity to look at it from the outside, to better understand how certain rituals and foundations take place, as well as to hear the personal experience of a practicing faith; learn better about what causes conflicts between the modern realities of the world and Orthodox Christianity, and also helped to better understand what religions are similar to each other in terms of rituals and general philosophy.
Meyedorff, J. (August 20, 2020). Eastern Orthodoxy. Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eastern-Orthodoxy