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protopresbyter Thomas Hopko

The Orthodox Faith




Volume I – Doctrine and Scripture Sources of Christian Doctrine Revelation Tradition Bible The Liturgy The Councils The Fathers The Saints Canons Church Art The Symbol of Faith Nicene Creed Faith God Creation Angels and Evil Spirits Man Sin Jesus Christ Son of God Incarnation Redemption Resurrection Ascension Judgment Kingdom of God Holy Spirit Church Sacraments Eternal Life The Holy Trinity The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity The Holy Trinity Revealed Wrong Doctrines of the Trinity One God, One Father One God: One Divine Nature and Being One God: One Divine Action and Will One God: One Divine Knowledge and Love The Three Divine Persons The Holy Trinity in Creation The Holy Trinity in Salvation The Holy Trinity in the Church The Holy Trinity in the Sacraments The Holy Trinity in Christian Life The Holy Trinity in Eternal Life The Bible Bible Word of God Authorship Interpretation Old Testament Law History Wisdom Psalms Prophets New Testament Gospels Saint Mark Saint Matthew Saint Luke Saint John Acts of the Apostles Letters of Saint Paul Romans First Corinthians Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Phillippians Colossians Thessalonians Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews Letters of Saint James Letters of Saint Peter Letters of Saint John Letter of Saint Jude Book of Revelation Salvation History Word and Spirit Pre-History Abraham Passover Kingship Priesthood Prophecy Holiness Resources Selected Bibliography Doctrine Questions and Reflections for Discussion Doctrine Answers and Reflections for Discussion Volume II – Worship The Church Building Church Building Altar Table Oblation Table Icons Sign of the Cross Vestments Christian Symbols The Sacraments The Sacraments Baptism Chrismation Holy Eucharist Penance Holy Unction Marriage Holy Orders Funeral Monasticism The Daily Cycles of Prayer Prayer Vespers Matins Hours, Compline and Nocturne The Church Year Church Year Pre-Lent Great Lent Lenten Fasting Lenten Services Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts Sundays of Lent Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday Holy Week Holy Thursday Holy Friday Holy Saturday Easter Sunday: The Holy Pascha Post-Easter Sundays Ascension Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit Nativity of Christ Epiphany Meeting of the Lord Transfiguration Annunciation Nativity of the Theotokos Entrance of the Theotokos to the Temple Dormition of the Theotokos Elevation of the Cross Other Feasts The Divine Liturgy The Divine Liturgy Prothesis Blessed is the Kingdom Great Litany Antiphons Small Entrance Epistle Gospel Fervent Supplication Offertory: Great Entrance Love and Faith Eucharistic Canon: Anaphora Epiklesis Rememberances Our Father Communion Thanksgiving Benediction and Dismissal Selected Bibliography Volume III – Church History Introduction First Century Christ and the Apostles The Church Second Century The Persecutions The Apostolic Fathers The Apologists Protecting the Church from Falsehood and Heresy The Quartodeciman Controversy Church Order and Liturgy Third Century Persecution The Lapsed Development of Theology Liturgical Development Fourth Century Constantine The Donatist Schism Arianism The First Ecumenical Council Saint Athanasius and his defence of Nicea New Heresies The Second Ecumenical Council Liturgical Development Monasticism Saint John Chrysostom Fifth Century Inner Struggles Third Ecumenical Council The Robber Council The Fourth Ecumenical Council The Monophysites The Henotikon Canons of the Councils The West Saint Augustine Saint John Cassian Pope Saint Leo the Great Sixth Century Emperor Justinian I and the Non-Chalcedonians The Fifth Ecumenical Council The Oriental Orthodox Churches Emperor Justinian I and Reform Liturgical Development Five Patriarchates The West Seventh Century Monoenergism / Monothelitism Saint Maximus the Confessor and Saint Martin of Rome The Sixth Ecumenical Council The Council of Trullo or the Quinisext Council Theological Writings Liturgical Development Relations with Rome The Rise of Islam Eighth Century Iconoclasm Emperor Leo III the Isaurian Emperor Constantine V Copronymos The Seventh Ecumenical Council Liturgical Development The West The Carolingian Renaissance Ninth Century The End of Iconoclasm Saints Cyril and Methodius-“Evangelizers of the Slavs and Equal to the Apostles” The Papacy Saint Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople Liturgical Developments New Law Code The West Tenth Century Cultural Renaissance Church and State Bulgaria Saint Vladimir of Kiev Liturgical Development The West Eleventh Century The Great Schism Pope Gregory VII The First Crusade Kievan Russia Saints Boris and Gleb Yaroslav the Wise and Saint Anna of Novgorod Other Developments East and West Twelfth Century Major Trends Kievan Russia Serbia The West Thirteenth Century The Fourth Crusade The Second Council of Lyons Serbia and Bulgaria Russia The West Fourteenth Century Saint Gregory Palamas Essence and Energies John Cantakuzenos Emperor John V Paleologos and Rome Russia The Rise of Moscow Saint Sergius of Radonezh Saint Stephen of Perm Saint Andrei Rublev The Serbs The Bulgarians Liturgical Developments The West Fifteenth Century The Great Schism in the Papacy, and the Conciliar Movement The Council of Florence The Fall of Byzantium The Establishment of the Rum Milet Russia The Rise of the Muscovite State The Rise of the Possessors and the Non-Possessors Other Developments in the West Sixteenth Century Russia The Victory of the Possessors Ivan the Terrible Tsar Theodore The Union of Brest-Litovsk The West The Protestant Reformation The Catholic Counter-Reformation Patriarch Jeremias II and the Dialogue with the Lutherans The Greek Orthodox under the Ottoman Turks Seventeenth Century Russia The Time of Troubles Tsar Michael Romanov and Patriarch Philaret (Romanov) The Nikonian Reforms The Council of 1666–1667 The Old Believer Schism Russian Saints in the 17th century The Unia Saint Peter Mogila Cyril Lukaris The Greek Church under the Turks The West Eighteenth Century The Greek Church Saint Cosmas Aitolos Saint Makarios of Corinth Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain Two other important saints of Greece Russia The Holy Governing Synod Saint Xenia of Saint Petersburg Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Saint Paisy Velichkovsky Metropolitan Platon of Moscow Mission to Alaska The West Nineteenth Century Russia: Spiritual Renewal The Elders of Optina Saint Seraphim of Sarov Russia: Missionary Activity Siberia Japan Alaska Kronstadt The Spread of Orthodoxy in the Lower 48 States in America Conversion of the Uniates The Serbs The Syrians The Greeks Eastern Europe and Greece Western Europe and America The Second Great Awakening Rise of the Social Gospel Responses to the Social Gospel Roman Catholicism Relations between the Churches East and West Twentieth Century Orthodoxy in America, Part One:  From the Russian Mission to the OCA Archbishop Tikhon Saint Tikhon’s Overarching Plan 1907–1917 The Russian-American Archdiocese after the Bolshevik Revolution The American Metropolia Pressure from Moscow American Destiny Development of the Metropolia Metropolitan Ireney American Autocephaly Canonization of Saint Herman Aftermath of the Autocephaly Continuing Development of the OCA Orthodoxy in America, Part Two:  Other Orthodox Jurisdictions The Greek Orthodox in America The Serbian Orthodox in America The Romanian Orthodox in America The Syrian Orthodox in America The Ukrainian Orthodox in America The Carpatho-Russian Orthodox in America The Albanian Orthodox in America The Bulgarian Orthodox in America The American Orthodox Catholic Church Further efforts at Orthodox unity in America SCOBA The “Ligonier” Meeting The Orthodox Church in Russia 1900 to 1917 The Council of Moscow, 1917–1918 Patriarch Tikhon (r. 1917–1925) The Living Church Russian Emigration to Western Europe The Era of Most Severe Persecution Relative Freedom during the Second World War The Return of Persecution Churchmen Appeal to the Soviet Authorities Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn Patriarch Pimen Glasnost, and Freedom to Rebuild Patriarch Alexei II Patriarch Kirill Japanese Autonomy The Church in Greece The Ecumenical Patriarchate Patriarch Athenagoras The Proposed Great Council Various Troubles Patriarch Bartholomew Other Orthodox Churches Serbia Romania Syria and Lebanon Jerusalem Africa Poland The Czech Republic and Slovakia Albania Bulgaria Ukraine Georgia Finland Western Europe Ecumenical Movement Beginnings in the Early 20th Century The World Council of Churches Protestant Fundamentalism and Protestant Liberalism Protestant Neo-Evangelicalism Major denominational mergers among Protestants The Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement The Roman Catholic Church Vatican II Council Pope John Paul II Pope Benedict XVI Pope Francis Resources Selected Bibliography History Questions and Reflections for Discussion History Answers and Reflections for Discussion Volume IV – Spirituality Orthodox Spirituality Spirituality God Christ The Holy Spirit Man Sin The Devil The World and the Flesh The Church The Sacraments The Kingdom of God The Beatitudes The Beatitudes Poverty in Spirit Blessed Mourning Meekness Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness Mercy Purity in Heart Peacemakers Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake Rejoice and Be Glad The Virtues The Virtues Faith Hope Knowledge Wisdom Honesty Humility Obedience Patience Courage Faithfulness Self-Control Kindness Gratitude The Greatest Virtue is Love God is Love Love of God Love of Neighbor The New Commandment Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving Prayer The Lord’s Prayer Intercessory Prayer Unceasing Prayer The Jesus Prayer Liturgical Prayer Meditation Prayer in the Spirit Fasting Almsgiving Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Sexuality Marriage Family Sickness, Suffering, and Death Sickness Suffering Death The Kingdom of Heaven The Final Judgment Heaven and Hell The Kingdom of Heaven Resources Selected Bibliography Spirituality Questions and Reflections for Discussion Spirituality Answers and Reflections for Discussion  


Some elders once visited Abba Anthony, and Abba Joseph was with them. The elder mentioned a verse from Scripture, wishing to put them to the test. He began to ask, starting with the least of them, what this verse was about and each one began to speak according to his own ability. But the elder said to each one: “You have not discovered it yet.” Last of all he said to Abba Joseph: “You then, what do you say this phrase is about?” “I do not know,” he replied-so Abba Anthony said: ”Because he said, ‘I do not know,’ Abba Joseph has indeed discovered the way.”

During the last years of his life, the late Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko was fond of carrying with him a copy of The Arena, by Saint Ignatius ­Brianchaninov, and a print-out of the thirty-eight sayings of Saint Anthony the Great from the Alphabetical Sayings of the Desert Fathers, from which the above quotation is taken. Being himself deeply rooted in the rich scriptural, patristic, and historical soil of the Orthodox faith, Father Tom saw both texts as fundamental to the Christian life. He knew through his own experience what Saint Anthony was trying to convey to the elders that came to see him: that knowledge of God is best attained, not through study and discourse-though these have their place-but through the experience of living in Christ, which requires great humility and great love.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the series The Orthodox Faith, one of the earliest publications written by Father Tom, the first volume of which came out in 1971. This deceptively labeled “elementary handbook” on the Orthodox Church has been used by thousands, from casual enquirers to catechumens to lifelong Church members, as both a catechesis and basic reference tool on Orthodox Christianity.

Yet the series has always been more than a simple set of reference manuals, precisely because it is the fruit of the living faith and understanding of tradition of its author, which give the work its sense of immediacy and zeal. Over forty-five years after their first appearance, these volumes continue to fulfill a dual purpose. First, they provide a rich base of introductory information on many aspects of Orthodoxy: Church doctrine and its development, Holy Scripture, liturgical practices, the spiritual life, etc. But, beyond this, through the rousing voice of Father Tom, they remind us that our life in the Church-in Christ-means more than a vain repetition of ritual by a group of individuals.

Writing about the Liturgy, Father Tom writes:

The Divine Liturgy is not an act of personal piety. It is not a prayer service. It is not merely one of the sacraments. The Divine Liturgy is the one common sacrament of the very being of the Church itself. It is the one sacramental manifestation of the essence of the Church as the Community of God in heaven and on earth. It is the one unique sacramental revelation of the Church as the mystical Body and Bride of Christ.

And so, it is more than fitting that these books be given an update in design and content after so many years of faithful service. Father Tom had plans to revise and update all four volumes of this series. But alas, with his final illness and death in March, 2015, this was not to be.

Significantly, however, Father Tom, working together with Dr. David Ford of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, was able to complete one important piece of that plan, namely, a fully re-worked Church history volume. The revised and expanded Volume 3: Church History of this series contains the fruit of that labor, containing greatly enhanced coverage of major events in the history of the Church, from the Church’s birth at Pentecost through the arrival of Orthodoxy to the Americas in the eighteenth century and into the early twenty-first. This new edition of Church History also includes theological and historical developments occurring in the West during the same periods.

Of course, in today’s digital era, there are more considerations to take account of when updating content. These volumes will also be available for download in digital formats. Additionally, in an effort to provide more interactivity and the possibility for continual updates, the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America has created a section on the OCA’s website offering discussion questions and points for reflection. To view and download these resources as they become available, please visit: oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith.

My hope is that these volumes will continue to inspire those who have made use of them over the years and will serve as an introduction to the Orthodox Faith for a new generation of seekers and learners who are willing to enter into the experience of God by following the example provided by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko and his words.

†Tikhon Archbishop of Washington Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Источник: The Orthodox Faith : An Elementary Handbook on the Orthodox Church: In 4 volumes. — New York: Department of Religious Education of the Orthodox Church in America, 1972—1976: Vol. 1. Doctrine; Vol. 2. Worship; Vol. 3. Bible and Church History; Vol. 4. Spirituality.

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