Why Orthodox Christianity
Why Orthodox Christianity
Let’s face it; life today can be disorienting, isolating, and ugly. Bombarded with images of violence and disasters, expressions of hatred and division, and an endless stream of promises offering “the path to personal happiness,” we can easily feel lost and alone. To be sure, Orthodox Christianity is not an instant cure; nor does it promise a guaranteed fix for either the world’s problems or the spiritual illnesses that lie in human hearts. Such claims ring hollow when we reflect deeply on our experiences as persons, including the complexity of our freedom, the reality of our human nature, and our history as human beings.
Orthodoxy, however, does not shy away from bold claims. Taking to heart the Lord’s often-repeated instruction to “be not afraid,” Orthodoxy, at its core, relentlessly bears witness to Beauty, Love, and Truth.
Beauty typically takes the lead for Orthodox Christians. Our churches stand out as spaces that elevate and inspire, and our worship connects ancient, modern, and eternal through prayer, music, and visual beauty. Dostoevsky famously stated: “It is beauty that will save the world.” For Orthodox Christianity, this is absolutely true—not in the sense that beauty replaces God, but in the sense that beauty is grounded in God as Creator and, as such, beauty always has the potential to lead us toward God.
Love is both the central experience and the goal of Orthodox Christianity. God is Love (1 Jn 4:8)—a Holy Trinity of loving communion—and we, as beings created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26), exist in and for love. Yet love is like happiness—every human being wants it, but so few seem to find it. Within Orthodoxy, everything aims at cultivating love, increasing our capacity for love, offering love, and experiencing the depths of love. From fasting and prayer, to sacraments and philanthropic service, to community building and welcoming all people, the way of life taught and practiced within Orthodox Christianity aims solely at love. One of our most recent saints, St. Amphilochios of the island of Patmos (+1970), reminded us in word and deed that “we are born to love.”
Truth seems to have become a dirty word for many in today’s society. From an Orthodox Christian perspective, truth neither refers simply to the opinions of those in power, nor is it reducible to a set of data points confirmed through science and logic. Instead, truth is grounded in the reality of God and revealed in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Truth (Jn 14:6). Orthodoxy is unapologetic in claiming to be true, unapologetic in affirming the goodness of human intelligence and ethical science, and unapologetic in celebrating Christ and the Saints as evidence of humanity’s true purpose.
In the end, Orthodox Christianity exists to meet the need for beauty in a world filled with so much ugliness; to preserve a spiritual tradition aimed solely at deepening and expanding our experience of love and to affirm truth in a world that has lost its grounding.
To all those who seek beauty, love, and truth, Orthodox Christianity welcomes you with open arms. We invite you to “come and see” (Jn 1:39) Orthodoxy; we are a diverse Christian community of 300 million faithful around the world, and we would be honored to pray, learn, and walk with you.
For additional insight on what is means to be an Orthodox Christian, please click HERE to read an essay by the Deacon Perry T. Hamalis, PhD.