What Do Orthodox Christians Believe?
The principal tenets of the Orthodox faith are contained in the Nicene Creed (found in the service book). Orthodox Christians believe in the Blessed Trinity, in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, in his virgin birth and His glorious resurrection. The Orthodox Church is a very traditional church in faith and worship.
The Orthodox Church teaches that the source of all truth is the Spirit of God (i.e., the Holy Spirit) active in the life of the Church. The apostolic pattern and self-understanding is already clear in the decree of the Jerusalem Council, “…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28). Orthodox beliefs are founded not on the rational conceptions or decrees of a single person or on the majority vote of a group of like-minded individuals. Instead, Orthodox beliefs are founded on the teaching and pattern and person of Jesus Christ, who entrusted those beliefs and practices to His disciples, who handed them down to their disciples, and so on to the present day in the Church. Saint Paul says it this way: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
In a word, this catholic (i.e., universal) consciousness forms what we call “Tradition.” Metropolitan Kallistos Ware captures the Orthodox understanding of Tradition well:
“But to an Orthodox Christian, Tradition means something more concrete and specific than this. It means the books of the Bible; it means the Creed; it means the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Fathers; it means the Canons, the Service Books, the Holy Icons — in fact, the whole system of doctrine, Church government, worship, spirituality and art which Orthodoxy has articulated over the ages. Orthodox Christians of today see themselves as heirs and guardians to a rich inheritance received from the past, and they believe that it is their duty to transmit this inheritance unimpaired to the future.” (Ware, The Orthodox Church, 196)
To learn more about topics of popular interest, browse a concise collection of Orthodox beliefs.