Eve92 Wrote:In short, here are my general questions about the Orthodox faith:
1) How is a person saved? (faith alone, faith + works?)
2) What is the Orthodox view of Calvinism / predestination?
3) I believe that Orthodox Christians pray to the Saints, is their attitude to this praying the same as Roman Catholics? Do Orthodox Christians ever pray to just God or is it always the Saints?
4) What is the Orthodox view of the role of man and woman in the home?
5) What are Orthodox church services like?
6) What does 'raising of incense' mean?
7) What does liturgy mean?
8) Are there any major differences between the Greek Orthodox Church and the British and the Russian?
Thank you so much for reading this and for taking the time to answer any of these questions.
I see, looking through the thread that whilst we have engaged with some of your questions we have not, perhaps, answered the list you initially appended. They are ones I have heard from other enquirers and perhaps it would be good if we could, between us, try to deal with them. I'll do my best, if only to encourage those more knowledgeable to correct my errors or amplify anything which is correct
You ask how we are saved, positing the classic Western dichotomy of Faith and works, or faith. We are saved by Christ. Salvation is a process. We were saved when we were sealed as His by our baptism; we are being saved by wlaking in His way and by received Him into us at the Eucharistic feast; and we hope to be saved at the last through His mercy. Any one who tells you they know who is and who is not saved tells you what he cannot possibly know. God makes this decision; He alone has the wisdom, love and compassion so to do. We are saved by His mercy.
This really answers the question about predestination, although it does not address the issue of the 'elect'. To believe, as some do, that God creates certain people knowing they will be damned forever runs so contrary to the God I know that I find it difficult to comprehend. What earthly father would not do all he could to save his child? God sent Christ to be our Saviour; we can, of course, reject Him.
On prayer, we pray to God, we pray to Him through the Saints and the Blessed Mother of God (THeotokos). Let us face it, we can use all the prayers we can get, and if God's Mother will pray for me, I am always going to ask for her help.
On your fourth point, this is probably culturally conditioned. I suspect that in Egyptian Coptic homes it is similar to elsewhere in Egypt; in the UK it is likewise.
Your fifth point has, I hope, been eloquently dealt with.
On your sixth point, it is the service before the Divine Liturgy, when a good deal of incense is raised
On the seventh, Litrugy is, literally, the worship the people offer to God. In the OC it is usually an hour and a half to two hours long and divided into a number of sections which lead up to the taking of the Eucharist.
On the final point, do look at Abba Seraphim's wonderful You Tube entries on the newly designed website. He deals very well with the talks which have revealed that the misunderstandings of the past are now supported only by the long history which, alas, still divides us, despite the fact that there is so much more which unites us.
There, that is my go, now over to the others
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)