Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-09а [20нбр06]
WHAT IS CATECHISM
[А] The Catechism contains the basis of the Orthodox-Christian faith. Usually it is organized in short and concise questions and answers. The book can be divided in four parts: I-Introduction, II-Christian Faith, III-Christian Hope and IV-Christian Love. In I-Introduction one is talking about the Divine Revelation, Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition. In II Chapter "The Christian Faith" one studies dogmas of Orthodox faith which are contained in the Creed. In III Chapter "Christian Hope", the prayer is being studied. As the sample of a prayer is taken Lord's Prayer -- Our Father. In IV Chapter "The Christian Love" the Law on life: Ten Laws and Beatitude Commandments is studied.
Contents: (I) Introduction into Cathehism; (II) Christian Faith; (III) Christian Hope; (IV) Christiam Love.
I -- INTRODUCTION INTO CATHEHISM
The Orthodox-Christian Church takes its teaching from Natural and Supernatural Divine Revelation. Natural Revelation is that knowledge which we obtain by observing nature and the world which Lord God has created. Supernatural Revelation is that knowledge which is found the Holy Scriptures.
The Holy Scripture books are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament describes events before Jesus Christ's birth, and the New Testament after His birth. Books of the Old Testament are divided into on законоположительные, historical, teaching and prophetical. The most known book of the Old Testament is Book of Psalms. The New Testament books are divided into the Gospel and the Epistle. The contents of the Gospel includes 4 Gospels written by apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They describe events during Jesus Christ's life on earth. The Epistle describes events after His rise to heaven. This is the beginning of the apostolic sermon and the Orthodox-Christian Church. In the Epistle one finds the historical book "Acts of Holy Apostles" (Book of Acts), 21 letters of the apostles and the prophetic book by John Bogoslov "Revelation".
II -- CHRISTIAN FAITH
The Symbol of Faith (Creed) is the shortest definition of the Orthodox-Christian faith. It has XII articles. The first 7 articles were approved on the I-st, and the others 5 on II-nd Ecumenical Council (325 and 381). It was resolved that the Creed is not to be changed any more. The unchanged Creed remained only with Orthodox-Christians. The western Christians, following the Roman Church, changed VIII-th article.
I-st article of the Creed talks about Lord God, II-nd through VII-th articles talk about Jesus Christ and VIII-th about Holy Spirit. IX-th about the Church, X-th about Baptism, XI-th about resurrection from the dead and XII-th about the future life. All of these articles are analyzed in detail in Catechism.
Since the Baptism is a Mystery (Sacrament), in X-th article also explais all 7 Mysteries: Baptism, Christmation, Repentance, Communion, Marriage, Ordination and Holy Unction. Sacrament is a holy act through which the Holy Spirit mysteriously and invisibly confers Grace (the saving power of God) upon man.
On the Liturgy (III-rd part), after the exclamation by the deacon: "Doors, doors, with wisdom let us attend" the chorus sings the Creed and each article is marked by the ringing of the bell.
Every Orthodox-Christian should know by heart the Creed. Obviously it is also necessary to know and its meaning. During the Baptism, the person being baptized, reads Creed by heart, and if it is a baby then for him reads his godfather.
- I believe in one God, Father,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;
- And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
Begotten of the Father
before all ages;
Light from Light, True God from True God;
of one essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made:
- Who for us men,
and for our salvation,
came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became man:
- And was crucified for us
under Pontius Pilate,
and was buried:
- And He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures:
- And ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father:
- And He is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead: and His Kingdom will have no end:
- And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
Who proceeds from the Father,
Who with the Father and the Son is equally worshipped and glorified,
Who spoke by the Prophets.
- In One, Holy,
Catholic and Apostolic Church.
- I confess one Baptism
for the remission of sins. I look for the Resurrection of the Dead:
- And the Life of the Age to come:
Below is the translation into English from Russian.
- I believe in only one God the Father,
Who holds everything in His hands,
Who created the sky and ground,
Both, the visible world and invisible.
- Also I believe in the only one Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
Which was born from the Father
Before all times:
Light from Light, true God from the true God,
Who was born,
Who was not created by anybody,
Who is the same as the Father, Everything was created by Him.
- Who from for us people
and that to save us
came down from heaven
and received the body from Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary
and became a man.
- Who was crucified for us
in the time of Pontius Pilate,
and who suffered,
and was buried.
- And Who has resurrected on the third day
as it was predicted in the books by prophets.
- Who has risen to the heaven,
and sat on the right side of the Father.
- Who will come again
and in glory will judge all the living and the dead,
and His Kingdom will have end.
- And in Holy Spirit, the Lord giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father,
to Whom we together with the Father and the Son worship and glorify,
Who spoke through prophets.
- In the only holy,
catholic-universal and Apostolic Church.
- I profess one baptism
In which all sins are forgiven.
- I am waiting for the time when all dead will ressurect:
- Also I am waiting for the life the next life.
III -- CHRISTIAN HOPE
This part of Catechism is called the Christian Hope because in it the prayer is being studied. The prayer is a communion with our Father, the Lord God and from which follows the hope that our prayer will be heard. This is why the part of Catechism that studies the prayer is called The Hope.
The model of a Christian prayer for us is the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) which was given to us by Lord God Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 6:9-13) (Luke 11:2-4). It can be divided in three parts: a greeting, request and glorification. This is similar to the letter than contains a greeting, request and ending.
Exclamation: Our Father, Who is in heaven,
Request 1: Hallowed be Your name.
Request 2: Your kingdom come.
Request 3: Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Request 4: Give us this day our daily bread.
Request 5: And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
Request 6: And do not lead us into temptation,
Request 7: But deliver us from the evil one.
Glorification: For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
[NKJV: For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever].
The first part of the Lord's Prayer is greeting: "Our Father, Who is in heaven"! Like in every letter first there is salutation of the person to whom we are writing, so in the same way in the beginning of the Lord's Prayer first there is a salutation, that is an exclamation.
Next three requests in the Lord's Prayer sound as follows: "Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.". We are asking Lord God to have His name glorified, that His Kingdom of truth, fairness and goodness and that His Law should be followed -- God's Law.
The 4th Request in the Lord's Prayer sounds as follows: "Give us this day our daily bread". Here we are asking Lord God for our bodily and spiritual needs.
5th Request in the Lord's Prayer sounds as follows: "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors". Here we are asking Lord God to forgive our sins and we are promising to forgive those who offend us. One of the most essential requirements of the Christians is to forgive those who offend us.
6th and 7th Request in the Lord's Prayer sounds as follows: "And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one". Here we are asking Lord God to deliver us from evil causes. From all kinds of temptation, which unnoticeable lead us to the sin and also from the source of all evil, from the evil one.
Glorification in the Lord's Prayer sound as follows: "For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages". This glorification is added do the Lord's Prayer. This glorification expresses our certainty that Lord God loves us and that He will hear our prayer.
IV -- CHRISTIAN LOVE
This part of Catechism is called Christian Love, since it contains the teaching about Christian Life. All Christian's life and all relationships should be built on Christian Love.
(Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21)
Ten Commandments were given in the Old Testament (1615 BC), to prophet Moses on mount Sinai, on the fiftieth day of Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Jesus Christ's sermon is based on the Old Testament and deepens its meaning. When ancient Jews accused Him that He is teaching something else, He answered: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law of the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Mat. 5:17). This is how the Jews split into two groups. First group followed Jesus Christ. The second group not only did not follow Him, but also considered Him a dangerous rebel (troublemaker).
This is why ancient Jews and their ancestors interpret these commandments literally, and Jesus Christ interpreted them widely. Sin is not only to violate them, but also any action that directly or indirectly leads towards violation of the commandment. This is the basic difference between Old Testament and New Testament and people who follow first or the second.
10 Commandments and Beatitude Commandments from the Gospel, during nearly 2000 years, were the base of all civilized societies. Our civil laws are based on these commandments. The following of these commandments creates wellbeing in our life on earth, and also the eternal salvation. (Recently there is gradual moving away from Christian norms in life). Below they are given in abbreviated form.
Catholics, and with them the whole western world, are very close to interpreting commandments like ancient Jews -- that is literally. Very often one can hear that since he did not kill anybody, that means that he is not sinful.
- I am the Lord thy God.
Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me. (Exodus 20:2,3)
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
nor any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, nor that is in the earth beneath,
nor that is in waters under the earth:
thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them. (20:4)
- Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. (20:7)
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy;
Six days shalt thou labor, and do thy work:
but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. (20:8)
- Honor thy father and thy mother
that it may be well with thee and that thy days may be well with thee and that thy days may be long on the earth. (20:12)
- Thou shalt not kill. (20:13)
- Thou shalt not commit adultery. (20:14)
- Thou shalt not steal. (20:15)
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (20:16)
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife;
thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house,
nor his land, nor his manservant, nor his maidservent,
nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any of his cattle,
nor anything that is thy neighbor's. (20:17)
They are given below in a short form.
- I am your Lord God,
you will have no other gods, (Exodus 20:2,3)
- Do not make idols and do not serve them, (20:4)
- Do not use God's name unnecessarily, (20:7)
- Work six days, and seveth dedicate it to Lord God, (20:8)
- Respect your parents, (20:12)
- Do not kill, (20:13)
- Do not commit adultery, (20:14)
- Do not steal, (20:15)
- Do not lie, (20:16)
- Do not wish anything that is not yours; do not envy. (20:17)
As mentioned earlier, Orthodox Christians interpret these commandments widely. Sin is not only not to follow them, but also any action that leads towards its violation. Below are given the detailed explanations:
1. It is necessary to love and respect the Lord God above all in the world and not to render divine honor to anybody except Him. It is necessary to love, honor and learn everything that is connected to Him: His Law (Divine Law), Orthodox-Christian Church, Orthodox Faith. It is necessary to pray and live according to His teaching.
2. It is forbidden to worship idols and to serve them; neither in literal nor in indirect sense. It is forbidden to serve passions (sinful habits) like: love of possessions (love and desire for riches), pampering your stomach (gluttony) (love of special foods, overeating, drunkenness), pride and vanity (exaggerated opinion about yourself, about your mind, beauty, riches). The following virtues are taught: absence of craving for possessions and generosity; abstention, fast and humility.
3. It is forbidden to utter the name of our Lord God if it is not required, in empty conversations, to swear and swear in God’s name if it it is not necessary.
4. It is required to labor six days, and the seventh day to devote to the Lord God. It is forbidden to be lazy and spend time idly.
5. We have to love and respect our parents and to obey their righteous advices. This applies also to all grown-up, and also to people which replace parents: priests, confessors, teachers, civil authority. When parents will grow old it is necessary to become their support and take care of them.
6. It is forbidden to kill others or one self. It is forbidden to shorten the life to oneself or others by various acts or bad habits or to undermine the health. One should contain the anger and not offend others. It is necessary to live in peace and understanding with everybody. It is also necessary to love animals.
7. It is forbidden to violate spouses loyalty (commit adultery), as well as any illegal and unclean love. It is required to observe the purity of thought and desires. It is necessary to avoid all that can lead to unclean feelings (in oneself and in others): shameless jokes, pictures, films, books, songs, dances, clothes.
8. It is forbidden to steal, deceive, take without asking. It is necessary to work honestly.
9. It is forbidden to lie, slander, talk evil, insinuate a lie, to promise and not to keep it etc. It is necessary to be honest.
10. It is forbidden to desire (covet) something that belongs to others, to envy, and also to think badly of other people. From envy and bad thoughts bad desires are born, and from them evil acts.
(Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23)
Ten Commandments together with The Beatitudes are the basis of the Christian teaching about life. Ten Commandments describe commandments by which we should live, and Beatitude Commandments teach us what emotional attitudes we should have. Commandments of Beatitudes do not destroy the Ten Commandments but reinforce them.
The Beatitude Commandments are sung during the Liturgy’s small entrance. They are given below:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Blessed are the mourners,
for they will be comforted.
- Blessed are meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful,
for they will obtain mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called the children of God.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Blessed are you when men revile and persecute you
and say all manner of evil against you falsely and on My account.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,
for great is your reward Heaven.
The Orthodox-Christianity teaches us not only to live in accordance with the Commandments, but also to gradually banish our sinful habits and to correct ourself. The Beatitudes show us the way of this correction. Explanations of these commandments are given below:
1. It is necessary to be poor spirit, that means to be quiet, peaceful and modest, not to think that we are better than others. This is a first step on the road to correction.
2. One must mourn (to cry) about our sins and repent. This is very important because in order to correct ourselves, it is necessary to see and regret our sins.
3. It is necessary to be meek, not spiteful, quiet and full of Christian love.
4. It is necessary to look for the truth and to live in accordance with God’s Laws ("Hungering and thirsting for the truth" means "to desire the truth so much as a hungry wants to eat and thirsting wants to drink").
5. It is necessary to be merciful, that is to sympathize with people in their grief (share their grief), and help them when they are in trouble.
6. It is necessary to have pure (clean) heart. Not to have bad and dirty thoughts, desires and feelings. One must drive away any bad thoughts, desires and feelings from ones mind.
7. It is necessary to be a peacemaker, that is to live with everybody in peace and to create the piece, quite and tranquility (calmness) and to reconcile those who are quarrelling.
8. Very often evil and bad people, enemies of the truth and goodness, envious persons, spiteful and other sinners, do not love people who are living in accordance with God’s Laws (righteous) and do them all kinds of problems. One must not despair and remember that God sees and knows everything and will reward for the truth.
9. Same as in 8th Beatitude, if people suffer for Jesus Christ, God sees and knows all this and will reward the righteous.
14/27 сентября 1996
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