The Orthodox Church
The Scriptures tell us of God’s creation of the world, of the fall of the human race from Paradise, and of God’s promise of a Savior.
This promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God incarnate, revealed as such by His words and works.
His Gospel proclaims eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, attained by repentance and faith.
His life, death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven have initiated the renewal of the universe.
His second coming at the end of the world will inaugurate the Kingdom of Heaven.
He sent to His disciples (Apostles) the Divine Spirit, Who empowered them to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
“Church” refers to the body of believers throughout the world, (also to each local community).
The Church is called Orthodox (upright faith) because it keeps the teaching of the Apostles unchanged.
To this day the Gospel is preached everywhere and believers are added to the Church, as we anticipate the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Russian Orthodox Church
In the late tenth century, envoys from the Slavic lands were sent to Constantinople—capital of the Christian world at the time; they were so impressed by the splendor of Christian worship there, they famously expressed their sentiments to their ruler, Prince Vladimir: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth…”
He converted to Orthodoxy together with his people, beginning the glorious history of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the eighteenth century, missionaries from Russia brought the Orthodox faith to the American continent (starting in Alaska).
As the numbers of Orthodox believers here grow, temples are built to the glory of God and in honor of His Saints.
St Sergius of Radonezh
Sergius was a great ascetic and light of the Russian Church. He was born in 1313, in Rostov, of devout parents, Cyril and Maria.
After his parents’ deaths, he became a monk, and founded the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in the forests of Radonezh.
As a gentle servant of God, he knew only labor and prayer.
Because of the purity of his heart he was made worthy of the gift of miracle-working, even resurrecting the dead in the name of Christ.
The Holy Theotokos appeared to him many times. Princes and bishops came to him for advice. He saw into the hearts of men as well as future events.
His monastery was full of monks, even during his lifetime, and, century after century, has been one of the most important centers of spiritual life and God’s miracles.
St. Sergius entered into rest in the year 1392.
Following his repose, he appeared many times to various people.
—Excerpts from “Prologue from Ochrid”, by St Nikolai Velimirovich