Whether you’re familiar with the beliefs of the Orthodox Church or not, you may wonder what these things entail. For example, you might be curious about why women cover their heads when entering an Orthodox church. Or why priests must practice celibacy. If you’re more of a layperson, you might wonder why the Bible is the only source of truth. Here are some answers to those questions and more.
Angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve His heaven realm
While angels have no physical bodies, they are omnipresent, ministering spirits who do not possess human nature. According to Jesus, angels are spirits, not human beings, and they are not responsible for human sin or suffering. But the Bible clearly states that angels are limited in time and place, and they cannot travel around as humans do. When the occasion calls for it, they can take human form, as we see in Genesis 18:1-3, Matthew 28:2-3, Revelation 10:1-6, and the Bible.
The Bible explains that angels are created by God to help humans in their everyday lives. They are powerful, but not divine, and are not to be worshipped. They are a separate order of beings, but they are superior to us and have powers far beyond our own. Although they are superior to us, angels are still limited in their knowledge and activities, and are subject to God’s judgment.
Women cover their heads entering an Orthodox church
Many Orthodox churches allow women to wear a head covering and men may also remove their hats. Women of different cultures may wear head coverings such as hats or simple bandanas while entering the church. Some wear head scarves or prayer shawls, but all are welcome. You are not required to wear a head covering, however. It is simply a cultural preference.
Some 21st century converts may choose to wear a head scarf while entering the church. Others may choose to grow a beard. Others may be motivated by nostalgia for a simpler time. Whatever the reason, Orthodoxy allows you to maintain a sense of continuity with the past. Instead of escaping the past, it lets you live in it. Here are some reasons why women wear head coverings in Orthodox churches.
Celibacy for priests is obligatory for priests
It isn’t clear when the Catholic Church decided to make priestly celibacy mandatory. The practice is said to have originated with Jesus. Protestants, on the other hand, make much of the biblical reference to Peter’s mother-in-law, which suggests that Catholics would not accept Peter as the first pope. Both sides point to differing time periods when priestly celibacy first became mandatory.
According to Catholic tradition, Western-rite priests are required to take vows of celibacy. Celibacy for priests dates back to the early Middle Ages, but exceptions do exist. A priest can be married if he is a convert from another denomination or a non-Catholic. While the Catholic Church views celibacy as a dogma, it is also an important disciplinary rule.
The Bible is the only source of truth
The Bible is the sole source of truth for orthodox church beliefs, according to the Orthodox Church. This is not to say that the content of the faith is beyond reason. Indeed, Orthodoxy acknowledges the majesty of God and the limitations of the human mind. Rather, it accepts a certain element of mystery in its approach to God. Those who are devoted to the Orthodox faith should strive to understand the Bible and its sources.
In the Orthodox tradition, the Bible is a primary source of truth. Tradition is the oral teaching of Christ which was not recorded by his disciples. Many Orthodox writers have adopted a dualistic view of Scripture and Tradition. Scripture exists within Tradition, but separating the two diminishes the ideas of both. Orthodoxy also recognizes that Tradition is the most reliable source of truth for orthodox church beliefs.
Theotokos has tremendous theological significance
Theotokos is an accurate term for Virgin Mary. In orthodox church beliefs, she has enormous theological significance. Her husband, Saint Joseph, is not recognized as the husband of the Theotokos, and we never see him with Mary and the Christ Child. The old man in some icons represents Satan, telling Joseph that a virgin birth is impossible. However, Joseph’s stance and position reassure the mystery surrounding the Virgin Birth.
The hymns of the Dormition feast are reflective of the Christian perspective of salvation and the All-Holy Theotokos. While the Feast of the Dormition was not established until the sixth century, its roots go back to the 5th century. The name Theotokos was officially adopted during the third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus. During the rite of the Dormition feast, the congregation stands in reverence and respect for Mary as the mother of our Lord.
For the pious Orthodox Christian, the idea of cremation does not violate faith. The Catholic Church does not prohibit funeral services or mass if the deceased person had requested them. Furthermore, the cremated remains can be buried after cremation. The progress of technology and the rigor mortis of the funeral industry do not compromise faith. Instead, they enhance it. The pious Orthodox have embraced cremation as a viable alternative to burial.
In recent years, a number of Orthodox Christians have committed suicide, and others have left instructions in their wills that they wish to be cremated. They do not understand the sanctity of the human body and have not been raised to understand how grave these matters are. For this reason, it is advisable to get educated on these matters. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable Orthodox funeral home to discuss the issue.