The fullness of the truth abides in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church—in the Orthodox Church. When one confesses that he belongs to the Orthodox Church, he confesses that he accepts the fullness of the truth and proclaims his faith in it. As an expression of the faith and our avowal in it, we have been given the Nicene Creed, known in the Church as “The Symbol of Faith” because it is a representation and token of the Faith rather than a summary or epitome of it. The Creed is not a minimal list of doctrines to be accepted in order to be a Christian. When accepting the Creed, we accept the fullness of the truth of which it is a symbol; for the fullness transcends any possibility of expression in word. The mind cannot search out the mysteries of God nor plumb His depths. Through faith, however, we are granted a mystical understanding according to our capacity.
Heresy in our times has distorted the meaning of the Scriptures and of the Church’s ordinances, definitions and words. We must liberate our mind from these distortions, not by defining things which by their nature defy definition, but by contravening false teachings with truth. These refutations of false doctrine and articulations of diverse tenets of the Church are like road signs so that we do not stray from the true way of the one Faith.
It is our free choice to confess Christ and affirm our faith in the Church’s fullness of the truth, consciously accepting the pious doctrines of the Church and rejecting impiety; it is our free choice to heed and acknowledge God’s call for salvation, not out of any personal merit but through grace.
Faith is the means through which we come to know the things of God, while the intellectual comprehension of rationalism is the means through which we know the things of this world.
The Faith is delivered to us by the Saints from their experience of the living God. The Faith can only be truly believed when lived and experienced in the Church. Where Christ is, there is the Church; and it is through Christ that we have access to the Divinity. By faith in Christ, our souls are established even unconsciously by God through that participation in the Mystery of Christ’s Body: the Church and the Eucharist. Only in the Church does true doctrine exist, therefore only in the Church can it be perceived and experienced.
We have received the Faith from the Saints, the friends of God, those who know Him face to face. Indeed, all our Faith is delivered to us from the Saints through the Scriptures and their lives. All they who accept this witness and keep the Faith become the People of God, the Church. The continuance of the People of God is a further means of transmission of the Faith. It is they who receive the witness of the Saints and transmit it to succeeding generations, fulfilling the words of our Saviour, “He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:36-38). The People of God, the Church, preserve the Scriptures and hand them on. It is they who supply the context and the definition for the understanding of the Scriptures.
In the Old Covenant, the People of God were of one nation and blood, prefiguring the New Covenant where different races and generations become one flesh and blood with Christ; a closer, spiritual unity of identity rather than the former merely physical unity of familial descent and similarity. In the Church is guarded that Faith which was received from antiquity and was acknowledged by the Saints, and by all men, always, everywhere. This is the outer judgment and perception of the words of transmission, an intellectual apprehension. The true, convincing perception of the Faith, however, arises from an inner confirmation of the Holy Spirit infused by Christ where He is truly present, ever abiding in the Church, in the People of God.
We walk in faith: the Faith received of the Saints, faith in the word of God, and faith in God’s goodness and love. We know of the unknown God through the Faith: through hearing we have heard His report. By faith, setting aside all the things of this world, all created things, words and images, and setting all our hope and trust in God, we come to know God; and above all, we come to know God through that gratuitous act of faith, an action executed for God alone, which is worship, a worship in Spirit and in Truth.