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Re: Why Syrian Orthodox?

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  • Mike Wingert
    Dearest George, It is important to be part of the SOC for several reasons: 1) It is the backbone of the One Holy Catholic (Universal) and Apostolic Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2004
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      Dearest George,

      It is important to be part of the SOC for several reasons:

      1) It is the backbone of the "One Holy Catholic (Universal)
      and Apostolic Church" that we mention in the Creed. It
      is St. Paul himself, who in his Biblical Epistle to
      St. Timothy says that the Church is the pillar and
      bulwark of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) The vast majority
      of Protestant groups use the Scriptures as their foundation
      for truth. Contrarily, we have the Church, who has
      endured nearly 2000 years of trials and tribulations,
      maintaining the same faith in the ancient days, as we
      have today. We also have succession from the Apostles
      to back this up.

      2) As an elaboration of the above, the SOC is the
      remnant of the Jerusalem community, who was scattered
      after the sacking of the city by the Romans circa 73AD.
      Likewise, our liturgy is the St. James liturgy - the
      first of Christian liturgies. Further, we carry the
      language of Christ with us. Even the Malayalam
      language has many Aramaic cognates: Sleha, Derya,
      Sleeba, etc.

      3) Our Church was founded in 33AD in the Upper Room
      and grew from the shores of the Mediterranean throughout
      Asia. The two surviving elements of this once Great
      expression of Christianity are in the Near East and
      in India.

      4) Where the Church is, we find the Holy Sacraments.
      The Sacraments are the heart of Christian life.
      Without them, we depart from the grace God freely
      gives us.

      > With this being the case, how should we respond? Yes,
      > to an extent, we can only do so much. It is ultimately
      > their decision. For Jesus did not force his teaching
      > on others. But, on the other hand, he did not ignore
      > them either. What arguments can we give them? What
      > can the church do? What changes (if any) should be
      > considered?

      I would first start with catechesis. If the youth
      understands our theology, that person will have all
      his/her questions answered. History should also be taught
      along with theology, though I would suggest theology is
      far more important.

      A nice introduction can be found here:

      If you have more specific questions, I encourage you
      to bring them forward so we can compile a database of such.

      Finally, along with theology and history, we must be
      good examples of Christians. The love that emerges
      because of our Christian faith will teach far more than
      the "wisdom of men." We need to expose these youths
      to living saints and encourage them take up saintly
      lives themselves. Let us share the mystical teachings
      of our holy ones - this will have great effect.

      I am in the process of writing a short book on my
      conversion account (I am a convert to Christianity
      from Atheism). I am hoping it will be a benefiscial
      resource for our Church, since my journey starts
      with having to first believe in God, and eventually
      being led to the Syriac Orthodox Christian faith.
      Do pray for me that I finish soon, I've had many
      projects distracting me.

      Mike Wingert
      St. Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Cathedral
      Burbank, CA
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