Word Magazine March 1960 Page 10
WHAT ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH?
By Father John Newcombe
The chief and principal Commandments of the Holy Church are nine in number:
1. Every member of the Orthodox Church must pray to God every day with contrition and compunction of heart; and he must join in the Divine Liturgy every Sunday and Feast Day.
2. The Orthodox Christian must yearly keep the appointed Fasts.
3. The Spiritual Authorities must be held in due and scrupulous respect, as Servants of God, and as Intercessors who intercede for us with God. Especially, let those be honored who hear our Confessions, for they are our must we have converse with them, nor have (spiritual) companionship with them.
4. We must confess our sins four times a year before a Priest who has been ordained lawfully and in the Orthodox manner.
5. We must not read the books of Heretics; nor hear the teaching spoken by those who are not trained in Holy Scripture and Orthodox Theological Disciplines. Nor must we have converse with them, nor (spiritual) companionship with them.
6. We must pray to the All good God for men of every condition and station: First, for the Clergy. Second, for the civil authorities; especially for those who do good and take thought for magnifying and spreading the Orthodox Catholic Faith. Furthermore, we must pray for all who have departed this life in the Orthodox Faith; and also for heretics and schismatics, that they may return to the Orthodox Faith before they leave this present life.
7. All the Faithful in an Orthodox Province must keep those Fasts and supplications which the Metropolitan or Bishop may particularly appoint for his Province whenever necessary.
8. The Lay people must not dare to take away forcibly the goods and monies of the Church nor to use them for their own needs. Rather, it is the duty of the Spiritual Authorities to provide from the goods of the Church the Vestments and whatever other things are necessary for the Church, and additionally for the food and clothing of those who serve the Church as well as for the poor and the stranger.
9. Marriages must not be celebrated on days forbidden by the Church. Furthermore, Orthodox Christians must not be present at forbidden sports and games; nor follow after heathenish and unchristian customs: rather, they must abstain from such things with all their might.
— from the Orthodox Catechism
Nine Ways of Being A Credit to Your Church and Parish
1. Find something to DO for the Church … do not be content to sit in a pew — Orthodox Christianity finds little expression in mere pew sitting. The first thing the Church needs from you is active service. If you give it, you will find yourself, not a bored passenger, but an alert, enthusiastic member of the crew.
2. If you claim to be Orthodox then attend the Holy Services, especially the Divine Liturgy. The Holy Liturgy is the one really thrilling thing in all the world and sea and sky. It is the bridge between man and God. It is the privilege of the Orthodox Christian to be present at the Most Holy Sacrifice . . . It is also his duty.
3. Support your parish financially. Christ our Saviour did not care about money for its own sake … but He cared about money tremendously for the sake of man’s spiritual welfare. It costs money to operate your parish and diocese and every Christian is expected to give regularly and in proportion as he has prospered. If what you give financially is a sacrifice so much the better . . . consider the price Christ paid for your salvation!
4. Grow in Grace and Christian Knowledge by frequenting the Holy Sacraments of Confession and Communion and by prayer, fasting and the study of the Christian Doctrine.
5. Draw others to the True Faith . . . our friends need the Church and your parish needs your friends. Christ’s last command to the Apostles places upon His Church and its members the obligation to make converts. Help restore those who have wandered by your words and example.
6. Promote the spirit of charity (love) within your parish . . . “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, If you love one to another . . .”
7. Stand by the Parish Priest . . . The parish should be “not the priest’s field but his force.” Give your Priest your loyalty, respect and assistance . . . he is your best friend.
8. Be Loyal to the Church and you will be loyal to Christ. Do not abandon your Church and God will not abandon you. St. Cyprian said, “He cannot have God for a Father, who has not the Church for a Mother.”
9. Give evidence of the Power of Christ by your Orthodox Christian Life. Let the imitation of Christ be your guide.