For the past year we’ve been looking at the article of the Creed, the fundamental statements of the Orthodox faith. We recall that the Creed was proclaimed at the Councils of Nicea (325AD) and Constantinople (381 AD). It is recited by a person about to be baptized (and by that person’s sponsor) and at the Divine Liturgy. The series of articles can be found on our website at www.churchofourladyofkazan.org
Now we begin a new series of article based on the books “The Orthodox Faith” by Father (later Protopresbyter) Thomas Hopko. Father Hopko was a professor and later the dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. There are four volumes in this series, the first of which was published in 1971. The four volumes are:
1. Doctrine – the fundamental beliefs of the Orthodox Church
2. Worship – the liturgical aspect of the Orthodox faiths
3. Bible and Church History – the story of the Orthodox Church beginning in the Old Testament and carried through up to the present day
4. Spirituality – prayer, fasting and repentance
These four books are often called The Rainbow Series because each volume was a different color as originally issued. Although these books are often seen as an introduction to the beliefs and practices of the Orthodox Church, they are useful also to lifelong Orthodox, especially converts and clergy.
Since these books were originally published in the 1970s, Fr. Tom thought they could use an update in design and content, so he started to work with Dr. David Ford, professor at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary to revise the books. Fr. Tom and Dr. Ford were able to thoroughly revise Volume 3 (Church History) bringing the history of the church into the 21st century. However, due to the illness and death of Fr. Tom in March 2015, he was unable to revise the other volumes as he had planned. Nevertheless, a new edition has been published. It is available for purchase from SVS Press at www.svspress.com/the-orthodox-faith-four-volume-set/. In addition, the Department of Christian Education at the OCA has produced a series of questions and answers based on these books, which are useful for private study or group study of the volumes, or as a basis for meditation and reflection, as will be presented in the following articles. Just as with the series on the Creed, these articles will not simply be a list of facts but will invite the reader (and the author!) to greater reflection on what it means to profess and practice the Orthodox faith. The series may be found online at: www.oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith