St Anthony of the Desert

Orthodox Christian Mission

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Fr Gabriel

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What is Orthodoxy?

The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church of Christ, in continuity with those churches established by the Apostles following the Resurrection.  Orthodoxy has been in existence since the day of Pentecost and has grown worldwide through mission efforts on the part of Apostles and Evangelists and missionaries since then.

Orthodoxy is evangelical, but not Protestant.  We preach Christ crucified and risen to new life for us and for our salvation.

Orthodoxy is catholic, but not Roman.  We hold the one faith of the church since time immemorial, but we are a council of churches not under the Bishop of Rome.

Orthodoxy is biblical, but not fundamentalist.  The church produced the Bible, not the other way around; early Christians used only the Old Testament, and in time produced Gospels and Epistles that were local but became universally recognized.

Orthodoxy is Tradition, but not traditionalist.  We accept what is called the Great Tradition, which includes the decrees of the Councils of the early church, the writings of the Church Fathers, early interpretation of the scriptures, and the Nicene Creed.

Orthodoxy is Christian, not Jewish, in our case.  Our worship, however, contains various practices which stem from our Jewish background: among these are the extensive use of Psalms in worship, the reading and interpretation of scriptures, the use of vestments, the incensing of the church and the people, and the form of prayers and worship patterns.

Orthodoxy cannot be defined by comparison to other Christian bodies.  We look “Protestant” because of our emphasis on the local church as the manifestation of the whole church; we look “Catholic” because of our rich and formal worship patterns. But we are neither; we pre-date the western division of Protestants and Catholics.  We are simply Orthodox. We are often identified by ethnicity, as in “Greek Orthodox” or “Russian Orthodox,” but these divisions are cultural and have nothing to do with our teaching, which is unified and whole across all ethnic and cultural divisions.

If you have never experienced the fullness and richness of the Christian Church, please come and see and be among us Orthodox.  All other churches have either subtracted, in some cases drastically, the content of the faith, or have added to the content in ways that have proven not to be helpful.  For many people, Saturday Vespers is a good introduction to the Orthodox faith community.  The ancient faith is vibrantly contemporary and speaks to your condition.