Orthodox Christians consider the Holy Spirit to be God’s medium of communication. They also believe that God promises rewards in the afterlife to those who have lived pious lives in this life. However, there is more to Orthodox Christianity than just its beliefs. For example, this religion also emphasizes observing the Gregorian calendar.
Orthodox Christianity practices a rich liturgical tradition, with its focus on the Eucharist. The word “liturgy” comes from the Greek words theia and leitourgia, which mean “pertaining to God”. “Liturgia” is a verb that refers to a public service or act, and was originally used to describe acts of worship.
Liturgical practices are integral to Orthodox Christian worship and life. They are rich in biblical readings, imagery, and expressions and reflect the authentic tradition of the Church. In doing so, they allow the faithful to be continually in touch with the core truths of their faith. This constant connection makes worship an act of theology, a living sacrifice of praise, a betrothal with the Holy Spirit, and a foretaste of things to come.
The Divine Liturgy is the main worship service of the Church. It is a eucharistic service consisting of two parts, the Liturgy of the Faithful and the Liturgy of the Catechumens. In this service, the gifts of bread and wine are consecrated and offered to the faithful in Holy Communion. In the Eucharist, the gifts of bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Sacramental orthodox Christianity emphasizes the importance of marriage in the lives of Christians. It stresses the indissolubility of a marriage vow and the sacramental eternity of the marriage relationship. Second marriages are celebrated through a penitential rite, and men who have been married more than once are not permitted to serve as priests. Remarriage after divorce is accepted, as long as it was not caused by a lack of sacramental faith.
The importance of sacraments was clearly recognized in the Second Vatican Council, where it was stated that “sacraments were to build up the body of Christ and give worship to God.” The sacraments are signs of grace, and are designed to inspire and strengthen the faithful.
Sacramental orthodox Christian marriages are all performed in Orthodox churches. They are considered to be sacramental because they involve participation in the church’s liturgical life.
The New Calendar has been adopted by most Orthodox Churches, but some have rejected it. This has led to schisms. Those who oppose the New Calendar believe it is a compromise with the Faith. While the Churches of Alexandria, Constantinople, and Cyprus have embraced it, the Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch continue to use the Old Calendar.
For centuries, the Orthodox Church has strictly followed the Julian calendar, but it was a controversial choice. Despite its minor inaccuracy, the calendar served the Church well for centuries. It never caused hardship for farmers and was generally accepted by the Orthodox Church. Moreover, farmers do not care about the number on the calendar.
The Gregorian calendar first came into existence in Italy in 1582. Later, it was adopted by other European countries. Because the Gregorian calendar differs from the Julian calendar, the dates of Orthodox Christmas and Easter are often different from those of the Western Christian church. Currently, there are discussions about using the same formula to determine Easter in both traditions.