Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fr. Thomas Hopko: The One True Church

 Orthodox Christians claim that the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Chalcedonian Orthodox Church, is the one true Church of Christ. That’s the confession of faith that we make. Of course, we have to say right away that there are members of the Orthodox Church who are relativistic, especially in America, there would be those who could say, “Well, all churches are the same,” and, “no one can claim the truth,” and, “different churches have different things,” so we really shouldn’t be so proud and so arrogant as to say that our church is the only church or the only true church, that we really should not do that. However, that is the teaching.

I mean, it really is the teaching of the Holy Scripture and certainly of the Councils and certainly of the Holy Fathers and the saints. There would be no doubt at all, absolutely no doubt, that it is really a dogma. I would say that, a kind of a formal, official conviction and teaching in the Eastern Orthodox Church, that the Eastern Orthodox Church and only the Eastern Orthodox Church is really, truly, fully the one Church of Christ.

It is the Church of the Messiah. It is the qahal Israel. It is the assembly of Israel in the Messiah, in Jesus, to which Gentiles like myself may now be included by faith and grace. And that indeed this church is the Church. Certainly it would be a dogma, an absolutely official teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church, that at baptisms and at the Holy Eucharist, at the Divine Liturgy—and we also do this at the compline service at the daily services in church—we say the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. And we say it in the singular: not “we” as the Council said it, but “I,” meaning “I accept it, I believe this.”

Read the rest here.