A new session of OC101, taught by Father Steve, will begin on Wednesday evening, September 19th (2018) at 7PM! We meet in the Education Building in the Father George Stephanides Library. The purpose of this class is to provide a broad overview of the Church’s faith and life, beginning with our worship and is intended for those who wish only to explore Orthodoxy; for those who wish to become members of the Church here at St. Paul’s; and for those members of our parish family already Orthodox but interested in broadening and deepening their faith.

We will look at the Liturgy and the sacramental life: why do we worship the way we do? We’ll explore the Bible and look closely at the New Testament and who the Lord Jesus is. We’ll study the history of the Church, looking specifically at the question: where did all the many thousands of different denominations come from? We’ll discuss repentance, personal spiritual disciplines like prayer, almsgiving and fasting, stewardship, Christian moral values, dealing with our sins, the development of the virtues and living faithfully. And the most important question of all: what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in Orange County in 21st century America?

Please join us!


2018 – 2019
(Wednesdays, 7-9PM)

2018-2019 Syllabus

Introduction: a tour of St. Paul’s. Art, history, theology and Jesus.
“What the walls of an Orthodox Church teach us”  from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 111-118

“The Theotokos with Child in the Apse” and “Christ Pantokrator” from Section 6 of The Orthodox Christianity 101 Notebook

Liturgy: Why do we worship the way that we do?
“Symbols: What are they?’ and “Incense” and “Candles” from Section 6 of The OC 101 Notebook

Videos: What is the Orthodox Church? by Father Andrew Damick
What is Orthodox Christianity? by Steve Christoforou
5 Misconceptions about the Orthodox Church by Father Andrew Damick

Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 1.
“What we believe about the Divine Liturgy” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 44-61
“The Divine Liturgy: Reality not Symbol” from Section 6 of The OC 101 NotebookVideo: An Overview of the Divine Liturgy by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Introduction to Orthodox Worship Space by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 2.
Video: What do you mean “Pray to the Saints?” by Frederica Mathews-Green
Why do we repeat: Lord, have mercy? by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 3.
 Section 1 – the “Worship” section in The OC 101 Notebook
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A Commentary and Explanation 4ommentary and explanation 4.
Continue Section 1 – the “Worship” section in The OC 101 Notebook
Preparing the bread and wine for worship: the Proskomide 
Catch up on your reading
The Liturgical Year: seasons of feasting and fasting.
What we believe about the Church Year” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 93-110

Video: Orthodox Worship by Father Barnabas Powell

Living a sacramental life.
 “What we believe about the sacraments” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 163-196
“The Meaning of Baptism” – a letter of St. Cyprian of CarthageVideo: What is a Sacrament? (#119) by Steve Christoforou
Confession (#36) by Steve Christoforou
The Sacrament of Confession by Frederica Matthewes-Green
 21st  Thanksgiving eve celebration of the Liturgy!  Give thanks to God! Come to Liturgy! No class tonight.
Advent: Preparing for the Christmas/New Year/Epiphany Season.
 The Winter Pascha” and a collection of brief articles about the Christmas fast by Father Thomas Hopko in the OC 101 Notebook

“Epiphany and the blessing of water” from Section 6 of The OC 101 Notebook

Videos – The Wonder of Christmas (#14) and Christmas Gift-Giving (#13) by Steve Christoforou

What are Icons and why do we have them in our Churches?
Jesus is the icon of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
“What we believe about icons” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 225-240

Videos – Excerpts from: The Face: Jesus in Art
The Icons of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, Egypt 
by The Getty

FOCUS and All Human Beings are created in the image of God
Resurrection: Icon Exhibition in Moscow

Living icons, being holy: the saints and their witness to Jesus.
  “What we believe about the saints and the Theotokos” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 119-138

 Video – Mother Teresa: A Documentary   

19th    No class tonight. Christmas/New Year break.  
 26th   No class tonight. Christmas/New Year break.  
2nd No class tonight. Christmas/New Year break.
The Church: the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the household of God.
 “The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” and “We are the Church of the early fathers” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 4-18 and 74-93

Videos – A History of Orthodox Christianity: The Beginnings by GOA
Orthodox Epiphany by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

16th  The history of the early Church.  “Which came first: the Church or the New Testament?” a pamphlet by Father James Bernstein

Video – A History of Orthodox Christianity: Byzantium by GOA

Where did all these churches come from? The history of the Church 
from the Middle Ages thru modern times.
“The Church: Place of Encounter with Jesus” in Section 2 of the OC 101 Notebook

Videos – A History of Orthodox Christianity: A Hidden Treasure by GOA
Division in Christendom: The Great Schism and Reformation by Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Church of the 7 ecumenical councils and the Nicene Creed.
“What we believe about the Nicene Creed” and “What we believe about Jesus” and “What we believe about the Holy Trinity” and “What we believe about salvation.” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 19-43 and 62-73
“The Teaching and Doctrine” Section 4 in The OC 101 Notebook
Reading the Scriptures: the Bible as sacrament.
“What we believe about the Bible” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 197-224   

Videos: 3 Things you need to know about the Bible (#45) by Steve Christoforou
How to read the Bible (#128) by Steve Christoforou

Studying the Bible: being a disciple of Jesus and doing the Truth.
The “Scripture” from Section 3 in The OC 101 Notebook

Videos: Where did the Bible come from? by Father Andrew Stephen Damick
The Bible Explored: Can I trust the Bible? by the Canadian Bible Society

Reading the Old Testament: getting our feet wet.
The Book of Psalms and Wisdom of Sirach

Video: The Old Testament in the Church with Father Harry Pappas
The Psalms by The Bible Project

Reading the New Testament: getting our feet wet.
The Gospel of Luke and the First Letter of John

Video: Introduction to the Gospel of Luke by Steve Christoforou

All those who wish to be made catechumens on Sunday, February 19th  and begin the process of entering the Church through baptism and/or chrismation must have made their decision and informed Father Steve by tonight!

Life after death, praying for the dead and the end of the world.
“What we believe about eschatology or life after death” and“What we believe about prayers for the dead” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp.139-162 and 241-247

Prayer and the Departed Saints” a pamphlet by Professor David Ford

Videos: Heaven and Hell (#67) and Memory Eternal (#75) by Steve Christoforou

Pure Monday:
Great Lent begins! Lenten mini-retreat 10AM-1PM
Being a disciple of Jesus: the spiritual disciplines of Great Lent – prayer, fasting and almsgiving (concrete acts of love and mercy)
Videos: What is the Jesus Prayer?
The Discipline of Fasting (#26) and Fasting from more than Food (#25) with Steve Christophorou 
The monastic witness to the Gospel.
 “Monasticism: the Biblical Call” from The OC 101 Notebook 

Videos: Mt Athos – 60 Minutes
Athos: The Holy Mountain – 60 Minutes

Christianity as personal encounter and personal discipline.
 Read all of God and You: Person to Person
Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus pp. 1-133Video – What if God is Real? by Steve Christoforou
The spiritual ascent: silence, solitude and prayer.
“What we believe about Prayer” from Introducing the Orthodox Church” pp. 248-274
“The Ladder to Heaven” and “Hesychasm: the Practice of Silence” from Section 6 of The OC 101 NotebookVideos: Why Prayer Matters (#95) and Is it Possible to Pray Always? (#104) by Steve Christoforou
Orthodoxy around the World
 Videos: The Last Anchorite
Greek Orthodox Holy Week and Easter 
with Rick Steves in Greece
The Novospassky Monastery: Persecution of Christians in Russia under Communism
Stewardship, service, missions and evangelism
“The Faith and Practice” Section 5 from The OC 101 Notebook
“In view of all this: what, therefore, is expected of us?” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 275-28
In preparation for the services of Holy Week, read “Palms: symbols of victory, surrender and allegiance” and “Good Friday: the tomb of Jesus” from Section 6 of The OC 101 Notebook
Great and Holy Wednesday.
 No class tonight.Come to the anointing service!
End of Class Potluck celebration! The Beginning!


The Bible

Introducing the Orthodox Church by Father Anthony Coniaris

Sacred Symbols that Speak by Father Anthony Coniaris

God and You: developing a daily personal relationship with Jesus  by Father Anthony Coniaris

The Orthodox Christianity 101 Notebook

Suggested Reading

The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Beginning to Pray by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

Living Prayer by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

The Ladder of the Beatitudes by Jim Forest

For the Life of the World by Father Alexander Schmemann

Becoming Orthodox by Father Peter Gillquist