by Stavros Belesiotis
Sometimes it is extremely difficult and frustrating as such to open up and share some of your experiences with others that you haven’t even met before. But this time I thought it was a great opportunity for me to reveal some of my past experiences to those who would be interested in finding more about Orthodoxy and the pure spirituality that Orthodoxy offers to those that currently support it.
As the Greek term ‘Orthodoxy’ suggests those who are baptised and chrismated Orthodox Christians are strong believers of the ‘right faith’. This was something that I forgot, unfortunately, last year. Coming from Greece with a strong Christian orthodox background, regarding the fact that all the rest of the members of my family are Orthodox Christians, I got totally confused in the past few years, since I came to study in the UK, having to face people from all sorts of different traditions of which they refer to as the “main Christian faith”.
To be a Christian is not an easy thing taking into account that you have to fully commit yourself as to serve for the rest of your life the LORD’s will. Although it is not an easy thing, a lot of people are preparing themselves as to accept the gift of chrismation. It is our desire to be saved in the name of the LORD when the day of the second coming will finally arrive.
“It is nice to know that you will be saved no matter what.”
That’s what my Evangelical friends tried to explain to me last year when I raised up the question
“Will we finally be saved if we commit ourselves to the LORD?”
The answer was
“Yes, you are saved if you are a Christian, no matter what.
I believed them in the first place being convinced by their incredibly advanced ability to explain their words according to the Scriptures.
As an Orthodox Christian originally I never had to defend my faith on such a ground, and hence there was no need for me to learn by heart the Bible. As far as I had the truth with me it was pointless to testify the truthfulness of my faith once more.
However, I would like to admit that these different denominations challenged my spiritual ego, so that I decided to investigate further what the truth was and who had got the truth. It was severely destructive for me and for my spiritual life to live in the same house, under the same roof, with people coming from completely different religious backgrounds. But, for me personally, every difficulty is a challenge. So, I had to challenge myself by attending their meetings and trying to find out what these people really believed and why they were so fanatical about it.
What I found was that their loss of spirituality forced them to do things that resulted in an undesirable criticism of what we call worship. Worshipping God is not like going to a pub and listening to your favourite music and praise with the most of your soul your favourite pop star.
Unfortunately, I realised that these people were victims of their own ignorance of what true faith and true worship is. They were interfering with really important values and doctrines of the orthodox faith as the value of the Church and the Holy Tradition.
They couldn’t understand that Church is not the building but the discipline of the believers that maintain the constancy of their faith by praying to God together. They couldn’t understand that the Bible, that they were so blindly obeying, was the outcome of the Church. They had no intention to understand that the Orthodox faith raised up with Jesus Christ and retained its values unchanged throughout the passing of time through his holy Apostles.
The religious pathway that contributes to the substantial background of the orthodox faith was and still is the Holy Tradition, which was taught to be followed by St. Paul and it is zealously followed by the orthodox church ‘till now.
Ironically, for me, I gained the truth of my faith back through the teaching of a convert priest who serves for the Orthodox Community of The Life-Giving Cross in Lancaster.
Therefore, being through all these testing ways to find out more about my faith and why I was believing in Orthodoxy, I discovered the real spirituality of my faith and became stronger and ready to defend my initiatives regarding my religious status.
Questioning yourself about the truth is the most powerful weapon that people have to defend those that intrude the peace of their minds.
Thanks to the Life-Giving Trinity for bringing me back to appreciate the true faith and establishing me into the path of the righteousness and heritage to which I have been called.
Glory to Thee, O God, glory to Thee.