Orthodox Christianity 101

Orthodox Christianity 101 2017-12-05T20:27:06+00:00

A new session of OC101, taught by Father Steve, will begin on Wednesday evening, September 20th (2017) 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! Childcare will be available!

 

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY 101
2017 – 2018
(Wednesdays, 7-9PM)

Download the 2017-2018 OC 101 Syllabus (pdf)

September 
20th
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 Sacred Symbols that Speak pp. 125-155

27th
Liturgy: Why do we worship the way that we do?
“Symbols: What are they?’ and “Incense” and “Candles” from Sacred Symbols that Speak pp. 1-46

Videos: What is the Orthodox Church? by Father Andrew Damick
5 Misconceptions about the Orthodox Church by Father Andrew Damick
Introduction to Orthodox Worship Space by Frederica Mathewes Green

October 
 4th
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 1.
 “The Divine Liturgy: Reality not Symbol” from Sacred Symbols that Speak pp. 155-193

Video: An Overview of the Divine Liturgy by Frederica Mathewes Green

11th
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 2.
“What we believe about the Divine Liturgy” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 44-61
 Video: What do you mean “Pray to the Saints?” by Frederica Mathews Green
 18th
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A commentary and explanation 3.
 The “Worship” section in the OC 101 Notebook
 25th
Looking at the Divine Liturgy: A Commentary and Explanation 4ommentary and explanation 4.
Catch up on your reading.
 November 
 1st
The Liturgical Year: seasons of feasting and fasting. 
What we believe about the Church Year” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 93-110
8th
Preparing the bread and wine for worship: the Proskomide
The “Worship” section in the OC 101 Notebook
 15th
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 Carthage

 22nd  Thanksgiving eve celebration of the Liturgy!  Give thanks to God! Come to Liturgy! No class tonight.
 29th
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 Sacred Symbols that Speak pp. 195-217

Videos – The Wonder of Christmas and Christmas Gift-Giving

 December 
6th
Icons: 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 – an excerpt from The Face: Jesus in Art

FOCUS and All Human Beings are created in the image of God

13th
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   

20th    No class tonight. Christmas/New Year break.  
 27th   No class tonight. Christmas/New Year break.  
 January 
3rd
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

Video – A History of Orthodox Christianity: The Beginnings

10th  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

  17th
Where did all these churches come from? The history of the Church 
from the Middle Ages thru modern times.
The “Teaching” section in the OC 101 Notebook about the Church and her history

Video – A History of Orthodox Christianity: A Hidden Treasure

 24th
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
31st
Reading the Scriptures: the Bible as sacrament.
“What we believe about the Bible” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 197-224   

Video: 3 Things you need to know about the Bible w/Steve Christoforou  (#45)

February
 7th
Studying the Bible: being a disciple of Jesus and doing the Truth.
The “Scripture” section in the OC 101 NotebookAll 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!
 14th
Reading the Old Testament: getting our feet wet.
The Book of Psalms and Wisdom of Sirach

Video: The Old Testament in the Church

 19th
Pure Monday: Great Lent begins! Lenten mini-retreat 10AM-1PM
 
 21st 
Reading the New Testament: getting our feet wet.
The Gospel of Luke and the First Letter of John
 28th
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

March 
 7th
Being a disciple of Jesus: the spiritual disciplines of Great Lent – 
prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
 Videos: What is the Jesus Prayer?

             The Discipline of Fasting (#26) and Fasting from more than Food (#25) with Steve Christophorou

14th
The monastic witness to the Gospel.
 “Monasticism: the Biblical Call” from The OC 101 Notebook Videos – The Monastery of St. Katherine on Mt. Sinai and Mt. Athos
21st 

Christianity as personal encounter and personal discipline.

 Read all of God and You: Person to Person

Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus pp. 1-133

Video – Icons from Sinai

 28th
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 Sacred Symbols that Speak pp. 61-92

In preparation for the services of Holy Week, read “Palms: symbols of victory, surrender and allegiance” and “Good Friday: the tomb of Jesus” from Sacred Symbols that Speak pp.93-122.

Video: Greek Orthodox Holy Week and Easter with Rick Steves in Greece

 April 
 4th
Great and Holy Wednesday.
 No class tonight.Come to the anointing service!
 11th
Practicing the spiritual life: stewardship and service. 
Missions and evangelism: sharing our faith with others
potluck celebration!
 In view of all this: what, therefore, is expected of us?” from Introducing the Orthodox Church pp. 275-28In preparation for the services of Holy Week, read “Palms: symbols of victory, surrender and allegiance” and “Good Friday: the tomb of Jesus” from Sacred Symbols that Speak pp.93-122.
  

REQUIRED READING

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