Over the ages, the Orthodox Church has maintained a flow of love and faith among the apostolic community that was founded by Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Through her teachings of the historic Christian Faith, she has kept it free of error and distortion. In her entire body of teachings, you will not find anything that is opposed to the Divine Truth or that which hinders with real union with God.
Let us go through some of the beliefs and practices of the Orthodox Church that affirm the profound meaning of our faith and the glory and honor of Christ:
- Sanctity of marriage
The Orthodox Church believes that a marriage can only be considered authentic when it is between a man and a woman. It is opposed to same-sex marriage on both theological and moral grounds, and stresses on God’s will that marriage must be a lifelong commitment, heterosexual and monogamous. Anyone who is tempted to act in opposition to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality need to be offered pastoral guidance.
- Birth control
While the beliefs on birth control vary among many in the Orthodox Church, but most believe that married couples can be allowed to control conception through natural family planning or by means of contraception, as long as it is done in a way that is no way contradicts the Christian way of life. This means that birth control should not be used simply as a means to avoid financial or social burden. The form of contraception should not be harmful to either of the spouse. It should also not involve the termination of a fertilized egg. The use of birth control should be a mutual decision between the husband and the wife.
Cremation is considered a deliberate destruction and desecration of the human body, which is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Orthodox Church instead insists that the body should be buried so that it can go through natural decomposition. If a person chooses to be cremated, the Church does not grant any funeral. In such situations, memorial services with kolyva (boiled wheat) are also not allowed.
- Human life
God gave us the gift of life when he created the world. The Church’s teachings about human life are based on Holy Tradition, and it uses the Holy Scripture as a primary resource. The human life was created in the "image and likeness of God", which is why it deserves deep respect and dignity. Genocide, racism, any kind of sexual exploitation and abuse, domestic violence, theft, environmental destruction and other such unethical behavior violate the dignity of human life.
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