STATEMENT OF OUR FAITH
UP HOLDING THE FAITH OF THE
Catholic Church of the East
Archdiocese of Saint James the Apostle
+In the Name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen
+ بسم الأب والابن والروح القدس، الإله الواحد
We believe in Sacred Scripture as interpreted by the Holy Church, together with the Seven Undisputed Councils of the Church, together with doctrines believed by the Church as a whole prior to the Great Schism of East and West in 1054, as defining the belief of the Whole Church. Every person who wishes to become a member of the Catholic Church of the East must affirm and belief this Faith as is written in the articles below.
We affirm and belief that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as interpreted by the Church, as containing everything that is necessary for eternal salvation, and as being the rule and ultimate statement of Faith of the Catholic Church of the East.
We accept the Canon of Scripture as handed down to us from of Old Testament.
We belief that the Nicene Creed as the principal creed of the Faith of the Church.
We also recognize the Western Baptismal Creed, commonly called the "Apostles Creed," and the hymn commonly called the "Athanasian Creed" as representing statements of the Nicene Faith of the Church.
We believe that the Nicene Creed is the statement of the belief of the Church and is not subject to interpretation which dismisses as merely allegorical or merely mythological any portion thereof.
We belief in the Seven Sacraments Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Holy Unction, Holy Matrimony and Holy Order administered with the unfailing use of the traditional outward and visible signs, and the form, matter, ministers and intention received of old.
We belief in the Historic three-fold ministry of Bishops, priests and deacons, and the traditional rights and powers thereof, locally adapted in the methods of its administration according to the needs of the nations in which the Church resides, but historic in form, matter, ministers and intention.
We belief in accordance with the Sacred Scripture and ancient Tradition, only males may be ordained to the Diaconate, Priesthood, or Episcopate of this Church.
We believe that all Bishops who have valid orders and remain in the orthodox faith, are successors of the Apostles, and, while we accord to the Pope of Rome great respect, and primacy of position, professes filial devotion and loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI, the Successor of Saint Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth.
We belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist when the Eucharist is performed by a validly ordained Priest of the Holy Catholic Church, with the elements ordained by Christ, and a valid Canon of the Mass including Christ’s Words of Institution and the Epiklesis to be said during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
We belief that those who receive the Holy Sacraments of the Church unworthily do so to their detriment, but do so without effecting the nature or efficacy of the Sacrament itself.
We believe that the "Sacrifice of the Mass" is a "making present" of Jesus’ One Sacrifice, once offered, forever. Jesus’ Sacrifice is made present on the altar, and, as such, the Mass may be spoken of as a Sacrifice. Therefore, it is appropriate that Masses be offered for the living and the dead, making present to the Church now the One Sacrifice once offered, and making very present the benefits of Christ’s Holy Sacrifice to the benefit of those present at the offering during Holy Mass.
We affirm that the Eucharist is the principal celebration of the Catholic Church of the East; that its celebration of the Eucharist is commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ, and it shall celebrated on Sunday at Holy Mass and daily.
We belief that the unworthiness of a minister of a Sacrament does not invalidate the Sacrament, but, rather, that a Sacrament performed with the proper matter and form, and with the intention of the Church to make such action a Sacrament, remains valid, whether or not the minister is worthy to administer that Sacrament.
We belief that marriage, conducted as a Holy Sacrament, with the full understanding and intention of both parties to make a marriage, is indissoluble except by death. However, we believe that the Church may annul "marriages" which have taken place without full understanding and intention of the parties involved, and counsel that error be made on the side of compassion for those seeking to make marriages after divorce.
We belief an openness to all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the so-called "Charismata," but finding it unscriptural to require that anyone exercise any particular Charism to be considered a full, believing member of this body. (I Corinthians 12:21) Those who exercise the Charismata are welcome and encouraged to exercise their gifts to the edification of the Church in an orderly, Biblical manner, subject to the godly discipline of the Pastor of the Parish to which they have allegiance of this Church.
We believe in an intermediate state wherein, after death, those who do not die in a state of grace but are destined for Eternal Salvation, will be purged of the last stains of sin. We deny that this intermediate state is a place of torture and fear, but affirm that any pains endured in this state are gladly embraced, as they are the pains of releasing our earthly bondage and conforming to the Will of God in all things.
We believe that there is a possibility that some will reject grace, no matter how often it is offered by the Church, and these people freely choose to remain in a state of separation from God through sin. This state of spirit we call "Hell." It is a freely chosen state of the damned to be damned. It is not the will of the Father that any will lost it is the well of men.
We believe that humans are truly endowed with free-will and can freely choose Life in Christ Jesus or death through the rejection of grace.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures are inerrant on all matters of faith and morals.
We believe that people are justified by faith, which is demonstrated in good works and obedient practice. Both faith and works are necessary to the living of a Christian life in the Church.
We believe that there is a "cloud of witnesses," the Saints, whom we may ask to pray for us as one would ask any other member of the Church to pray for. It is an idolatrous practice, however, to ask Saints to give us any material or physical blessing of their own. For, while the prayer of the righteous is very effective (James 5:16), yet every good thing comes from the Father through Jesus Christ (James 1:17).
We believe that Mary, mother of Jesus, was truly the Theotokos, or bearer of the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. When Mary is called "Mother of God" we truly honor her who gave everything of herself to secure our Salvation. However, the Theotokos is called "Mother of God" in the sense that she bore Jesus Christ, who was and is the Incarnation of the Son, not in the sense that she generated, in any way, the Godhead.
We believe that the prayers of the Blessed Virgin are effective because of her great and unique faith, and because she has a relationship which is unique with God from having been the bearer of the Son. The relationship, which exists between Jesus and His mother, is the same relationship Jesus wants to have with all believers to come to know Him. Mary is unique because of her great faith, and it is this which gives special power to her prayers, and her maternal relationship with the Lord.
We affirm that without Mary there is no Jesus and without Jesus there no Mary in the Church.
We believe that whatsoever is not repugnant to the Catholic Faith, but which aids in belief and devotion, may be believed as pious opinion, but may not be taught as doctrine of the Church.
We believe that faithful in Christian Marriage between a male and a female, free of impediments, is the only legitimate state for sexual expression between individuals
AFFIRMATION OF PERSONAL FAITH
[The Church requires the making of a Profession of Faith by various persons when they undertake specific duties related to Church administration, teachings and upon receving a Church or members.
I believe and profess all that the Catholic Church of the East Archdiocese of Saint James the Apostle teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God. In particular:
I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the inviolability of human life. In accord with that teaching I affirm that human life is sacred and must be protected and respected from the moment of conception until natural death.
I affirm that I reject direct, intentional abortion and I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone’s claim to a moral right to form their own conscience in this matter. I am not pro-choice. I further attest that I am not affiliated with, nor supportive of, any organization which supports, encourages, provides or otherwise endorses abortion or euthanasia.
I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the sinfulness of artificial contraception.
I affirm, in accord with the teachings of the Church that any action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible, or seeks to end a life newly conceived, is intrinsically evil.
I affirm and believe that every person is called to chastity in accord with their present state of life and that it is only in marriage between man and woman that the intimacy of spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. I accept the Church’s teaching that any extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include pre-marital relations, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.
I affirm and believe all that the Church teaches about the Reality and Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Specifically I believe that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under each of the forms of bread and wine and that receiving either one is Communion with the whole Christ. I recognize that worship and adoration are appropriate, not only during Mass but also outside of Mass and that the Most Holy Eucharist must always be handled with the utmost care and devotion.
I affirm and believe the teachings of the Church regarding Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. I accept with the Church that it is fitting and proper to honor the Blessed Virgin with special devotion.
I affirm and believe that it is possible for a person to choose to remain separated from God for all eternity and that this state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell”.
I affirm and believe that those who die in God’s grace and friendship but are still imperfectly purified undergo additional purification and purgation so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joys of heaven.
I affirm and believe in the Catholic Church of the East is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and embrace the teachings about that Church as enunciated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I affirm and believe that the Church teaches with God-given authority and that the promise of Christ to remain with His Church always, until the end of time is a reality. I further acknowledge that those teachings pronounced in a definitive manner, even though not as an infallible definition, are binding on the consciences of the faithful and are to be adhered to with religious assent.
To these and to all the teaching of the Catholic Church of the East I give my assent. I attest that I believe these things and, while I am aware of my own sinfulness and shortcomings, I strive in my beliefs and life style to conform to this Affirmation of Personal of Faith.
The Creed Catholic Church of the East
The Creed of St. Athanasius
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord. So we are forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. Who although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Profession of Catholic Church of the East
I, N., enlightened by divine grace, profess the Christian Faith as it is taught and practiced in the Catholic Church.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and live everlasting.
I believe in that this Church is the Church in which the fullness of God's revelation through His Son, Jesus Christ, abides. I believe that her college of bishops, with the Pope, the bishop of Rome, presiding at its center continues to exercise in the world the authority for teaching and moral guidance given by Jesus Christ to his apostles for the salvation of men.
I further believe in seven sacraments, signs of worship through which the grace of the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ is communicated. They are: baptism, confirmation, penance, holy Eucharist, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony.
I promise, through prayer, participation in Church life and worship, and continued efforts to understand the tenets of my faith, to form my conscience in such away as to live according to the doctrines and practices which the Catholic Church of the East prescribes for the individual and common good of her faithful.