Today we stood outside our church doors and faced to street with our icons, read the proclamation for the Sunday of Orthodoxy and sang out,
"Who is so great a god as our God?
You are a God Who alone does wonders!"
I love the Sunday of Orthodoxy! It makes me realize how historic and broad Orthodoxy is... it's not just us in our little parish but it's all of us throughout the centuries and across the globe!
One thing that makes the Orthodox (and Catholic) different from the other Christian religions is our respect of the oral traditions as well as the written ones... Thank you, St. Basil, who made us aware of this importance. We maintain traditions that are beyond the contents of the written Word, the Bible. We make the sign of the cross. We venerate icons. We baptize infants and make them full members of the faith community... just to name a few.
People often wonder about the use of icons in the Orthodox church. Some inappropriately call them idols. But they are not idols. We do not believe the icon to be God, but that our love for Him extends to even the image of Him, as anyone would cherish a photo of a loved one. And today, we are reminded of the importance as we proclaim, "On the one hand, worshiping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord. And on the other hand, honoring and venerating His Saints as true servants of the same Lord."
Read the passage from the Synodikon of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which we read in unison earlier today...
As the Prophets beheld,
As the Apostles taught,
As the Church received,
As the Teachers dogmatized,
As the Universe agreed,
As Grace illumined,
As the Truth revealed,
As falsehood passed away,
As Wisdom presented,
As Christ awarded,
Thus we declare,
Thus we assert,
Thus we proclaim Christ our true God
and honor His saints,
In holy icons.
On the one hand, worshiping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord. And on the other hand, honoring and venerating His Saints as true servants of the same Lord.
This is the Faith of the Apostles.
This is the Faith of the Fathers.
This is the Faith of the Orthodox.
This is the Faith which has established the Universe.
I hope you are able to rejoice in today's celebration, considering that even today there are people who do not have the liberties or freedoms to stand outside their church and make this same proclamation. There are cities today (Syria) where people are killed for saying things like this in public.
God bless America and the Orthodox Church!