Exploring Faith


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Nicene Creed – introduction 

 
The Nicene Creed is a confession of our Christian faith. According to Holy Tradition, the Nicene Creed was composed on Pentecost by the twelve apostles. The creed contains twelve articles of Faith, each one written by one of the apostles.

When members of the Church began to teach incorrect or heretical opinions, it became necessary to elaborate on the Creed, based on the teaching of our Lord, which would refute false teachings and guard against them. The Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325 AD) adopted this Creed and it was completed at the subsequent Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople (381 AD) and Ephesus (431 AD).

The Creed was first used during the rite of the sacrament of Baptism. In 215 A.D., the Church Father and historian Hippolytus, in his work entitled the Apostolic Tradition, recorded that the Creed was recited in its entirety during the sacrament of Baptism. The Creed came to be used in the Divine Liturgy late in the fifth century. The purpose of placing it there was to prevent deviations of the faithful from the Orthodox faith.

The Creed is followed by an anathema, which refutes the heretical teachings. The historical value of the anathema is it indicates the false doctrines that were in existence during the early days of the Church. St. Gregory the Illuminator abridged the Creed by adding a doxology, which appears following the Anathema. A doxology is a short expression of praise or thanksgiving to God.

The saying of the last word of the Creed, “Amen”, is postponed in the Armenian Divine Liturgy until after the doxology of Saint Gregory.

 

 

 

Nicene Creed

 

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only-begotten, that is of the substance of the Father. God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten and not made; himself of the nature of the Father, by whom all things came into being in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate, became man, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. By whom he took body, soul and mind and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.

He suffered and was crucified and was buried, and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father.

He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there is no end.

We believe also in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated and the perfect, who spake in the law in and in the prophets and in the gospels. Who came down upon the Jordan, preached to the apostles and dwelt in the saints.

We believe also in the only One Catholic and Apostolic Holy Church.

In one baptism of repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins.In the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, in the kingdom of heaven and in the life eternal. Amen.

Anathema

“As for those who say there was a time when the Son was not or there was a time when the Holy Spirit was not or that they came into being out of nothing or who say that the Son of God or the Holy Spirit be of different substance and that they be changeable or alterable, such doth the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematize.”

Doxology of St. Gregory

As for us we shall glorify Him was before the ages, worshiping the Holy Trinity and the One God-head, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

Dogma of the True Faith

(Tavanootyoon Ooghapar Havadoh)

By St. Gregory of Datev

 

    With all our hearts, we confess and we believe in God the Father, uncreated, not born, and without beginning; who also brought forth the Son and emanated the Holy Spirit. 

    We believe in God the Word, uncreated, born, and begun from the Father before eternity; neither subsequent nor lesser, but as much as the Father is Father, with Him, the Son is Son. 

     We believe in God the Holy Spirit, uncreated and timeless; not born but proceeded from the Father, coexistent with the Father and with the same glory as the Son. 

     We believe in the Holy Trinity, one nature, one godhead; not three gods, but one God, one will, one kingdom, one authority; creator of things visible and invisible. 

      We believe in the holy Church, in the forgiveness of sins, in the communion of the saints.  We believe We believe that one of the three persons, God the Word, born of the Father before eternity, in time descended into the Mother of god, the Virgin Mary, took blood from her and united it with his divinity, restrained himself for nine months in the womb of the immaculate Virgin; and the perfect God became perfect man in soul, mind and body; one person, one essence and one nature united.

     God became man without change and without transformation; Immaculate Conception and incorruptible birth, as there is no beginning to his divinity, there is no end to his humanity.   (For Jesus Christ, yesterday and today is the same forever.)

      We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ walked upon the earth.  After thirty years he came to be baptized.  The Father witnessed from above, “This is my beloved Son;” and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove.

      He was tempted by Satan and defeated him.  He preached salvation to men; He labored physically, was fatigued, became hungry and thirsty.  He then came willingly to be tortured, was crucified and died in the flesh, but lived as God.  The body, united with the divinity, was laid in the tomb; and the soul, with inseparable divinity, descended into hell.  He preached to the souls, devastated hell, and freed the souls.  After three days He rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples. 

       We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the same body, ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father.  He will also come, with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead, which is the resurrection of all men.

        We also believe in the recompense of deeds; the everlasting life of the righteous and the everlasting suffering of the sinful.  Amen

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, 
thy will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory.
for ever and ever.

Amen

(Matthew 6.9-13)

Before Dawn

O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise (Psalm 50:17).
Blessed be the consubstantial, united and indivisible
Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
now and forever, world without end.

Amen.

From the Book of Hourly Prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church – Night Service

For Travellers

O Lord, lead us unto the paths of peace.
O Lord, lead our souls and those of all believers

unto the paths of righteousness and eternal life.

***

Guide us, O lord our God, and teach us to walk in thy paths of righteousness.
Keep our lives in peace, and our ways pleasing in thy sight.
Guide thy servants on their earthly and heavenly course
along thy paths of purity unto thine eternal life
through the grace of thine only begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who became our prince of life and the hope of our salvation,
with whom thou art blessed, O Father Almighty,
together with thy lifegiving and liberating Holy Spirit,
now and forever, world without end.

Amen.

From the Book of Hourly Prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church – Sunrise Service

On Beginning Work

Lord, may thy loving favour rest upon us

and prosper all the work we undertake.

From the Gandzasar Prayer book

Prayer Before Meals

Let us in peace eat this food which the Lord hath provided for us.
Blessed be the Lord in His gifts.

Amen.

From the Book of Hourly Prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church, “Meals Blessing”

Thanksgiving After Meals

Let us give thanks and glory to the nourisher of the universe
who didst nourish and fill us.
To Him be glory forever.

Amen.

Leaving The Church

Heavenly King, preserve thy Church unshaken,
and keep the worshippers of thy name in peace.

From the Divine Liturgy Of The Armenian Church

For The Sick

Dispel the pain and heal the sickness of thy people, Lord our God
and grant to all perfect health by the sign of thine all-conquering cross
through which thou removed the weakness of mankind
and condemned the enemy of our life and salvation.
Thou art our life and salvation, beneficent and all merciful God,
who alone can forgive us our sins
and remove diseases and sickness from us,
to whom are known our needs and necessities.
Bestower of gifts, grant thy bounteous mercy to thy creatures
according to their individual needs,
through whom thy Holy Trinity is always glorified and praised,
now and always and forever and ever.

Amen.

Book of Hourly Prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church – Sixth Hour Service

Before Sleep

Christ, Guardian of all,
May your right hand be upon me
Both day and night, 
while at home and traveling,
While sleeping and awake,
So that I may never falter.
Have mercy upon your creation,

And on me, a manifold sinner.

From the works of St. Nerses the Graceful “I CONFESS WITH FAITH”

Prayer Against Troubles

Provider of all creation, by the sign of your cross,
Keep my soul and my body from the bonds of sin,
From the temptation of demons,
And from unjust men,
And from all dangers of the soul and the body.
Have mercy upon your creation,

And on me, a manifold sinner.

From the works of St. Nerses the Graceful “I CONFESS WITH FAITH”

Prayer Before Work

Jesus, wisdom of the Father, grant me the wisdom
To always think, speak and do that which is good in your sight.
Deliver me from evil thoughts, words and deeds.
Have mercy upon your creation,

And on me, a manifold sinner.
From the works of St. Nerses the Graceful “I CONFESS WITH FAITH”

Home Blessings

A tradition of the Armenian Church

 One of the holy traditions of the Armenian Church is the Home Blessing Service, which according to St. Gregory of Datev was established by Our Savior Jesus Christ, when after His Resurrection He entered the upper room and blessed the disciples. 

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (John. 20:19)

            During the apostolic times, the twelve apostles of Jesus visited the homes of the faithful to bless them and to spread the good news of Christ’s birth and His Resurrection. Likewise their followers priests and bishops, entered the homes of the faithful on the occasions of Christmas (Theophany) and Easter (Holy Resurrection) to tell the good news of our Lord’s Nativity and to bless them and their homes through a special Service.

            Through the Home Blessing Service, the house of the faithful becomes a small church. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2). During the Service the priest prays to God and asks Him to keep the home, its inhabitants, and the children in good health, so that they live a devout life, glorify the name of Almighty God and heighten the Holy Church.

            Love and peace are established in the sanctified home. Therefore, it is desirable that the faithful devoutly keep the graces from heaven, which filled their homes. But if sinful behavior dominates in the house it can never become a the church inhabited by the Holy Trinity, saints and angels.

            According to the sacred traditions of the Armenian Church, God’s blessing is asked for homes on different occasions, like on the Nativity and the Resurrection of Christ, as well as on the joyous occasion of moving into a new home.
            The peace and warm atmosphere of faithful families are so important to the church that the church fathers always preached to keep long-lasting peace. They testify that sacredness and peace are disturbed because of sinful behavior by members of the family. Therefore if there is no peace, understanding of sacredness, love, unity and harmony, God’s blessings can never be given. Thus the place which is devoid of the Lord’s protection will naturally be full of evil or devils, which “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” (1Peter 5:8).
            However priestly prayers and blessings alone are not enough to renew our spiritual life and to remove the evil from our homes. Great faith is needed from the individual to receive blessing and healing, as well as for communing with the divine graces “

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29), faith, repentance, prayers and fasting are expected from the family members, because But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20).

            It is desirable and encouraging that the devout faithful attend church and invite a priest to conduct the service of the home blessing on Christmas, Easter and on other occasions. That Service is of great importance and necessary for every Christian both for the peace of soul and blessing of home items


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