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Orthodox Christian Education
A ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
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Consistory Office of Religious Education
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The Trinity alone has eternal essence and eternal existence.  In the beginning of creation God brought time and space into existence, as is evident from the very term "the beginning."   Everything else was made by God in time and space and is comprised of created matter/energy.  Created matter is that which was brought forth by God out of non-existence into being in space and time.  This includes angels, who although are rightly called incorporeal with regard to the dense matter of the body, are still of created matter (albeit spiritual rather than dense matter), "for in reality only the Deity is immaterial and incorporeal" (St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith 2.3).  This is because we have two definitions of matter, the one definition used to distinguish dense material from that which is created but less dense, or spiritual (also we might say in "energy" form, as St. John points out from Scripture).  However, even created spirit has "form and limitation of essence" that is known only to God and is made of created matter-energy.  It is here that we find the other more particular definition of matter, distinguishing between God who alone has limitless essence and creation which has bounded essence, and in this case only God is immaterial and all else "we find to be dense and material" (ibid.).  

This is highly significant in that it squares completely with science.  Although some modern forms of Christianity try to present a "dualistic" form of created existence (i.e. an ontological difference between created matter and spirit), in terms of original Christian ontology, Christian Orthodoxy from ancient times has upheld the monistic form of created existence that we also find in science, distinguishing relatively between dense and spiritual matter, but ontologically upholding it all to be created matter nonetheless.  While by the supernatural energy of the Creator all matter was created, nevertheless, by natural forces, matter cannot be created or destroyed, but only its form changed (as we see in Einstein's famous formula E=mc^2).   

Among rational created beings we have angels and humans.  "Also all that is rational is endowed with free-will. As it is, then, rational and intelligent, it is endowed with free-will: and as it is created, it is changeable, having power either to abide or progress in goodness, or to turn towards evil" (St. John of Damascus On the Orthodox Faith 2.3).   St. John, however, notes one difference between humans and angels, that while both may choose which path to trod, only the humans are predisposed to repentance due to the humility of the body.  Thus, although not a matter of comparitive dogma, we may deduce that it is easier for an angel not to sin, and yet and it is easier for a human to turn from His wickedness by repentance and live, thereby striking a balance and also explaining what is observed in salvation history.  

Creation, Faith, Science and Scripture

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 Medicine and Science

Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 38:

38:1 Honour a physician with the honour due to him for the uses that you may have of him: for the Lord has created him.
38:2 For from the most High comes healing, and he shall receive honour of the king.
38:3 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.
38:4 The Lord has created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
38:5 Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known?
38:6 And he has given science to humans, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works.
38:7-8 With this He heals humans, and takes away their pains.
38:8 From the things He has given the pharmacist makes a confection; and of His works there is no end; and from Him is peace over all the earth,
38:9 My son, in your sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the Lord, and he will make you whole.
38:10 Leave off from sin, and order your hands aright, and cleanse your heart from all wickedness.
38:11 Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour; and make a fat offering, as not being.
38:12 Then give place to the physician, for the Lord has created him: let him not go from you, for you have need of him.
38:13 There is a time when in their hands there is good success.
38:14 For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that, which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.

 
 
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Scripture Readings

Julian Readings

CLICK HERE FOR JULIAN READINGS

*Note, the audio readings above are provided by Ancient Faith Radio and provides readings based on the Revised Orthodox Julian Calendar, because a majority of Orthodox jurisdictions are on the Revised Julian Calendar, as are the large majority of Orthodox in America.  While most of the year the daily readings are the same for the Julian and Revised Julian Calendar, there is a portion of the calendar where they differ.  For this reason, we here provide the readings for days when they differ. 

Saint of the Day

Julian Saint of the Day

The above audio readings are provided by AFR and are based on the Orthodox Revised Julian Calendar because a majority of Orthodox jurisdictions (and the largest three in the US) follow the RJC.  There are no audio readings based on the old Julian reckoning of the Menaion. 

CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF JULIAN SAINTS OF THE DAY

The Orthodox Calendars (both Julian and Revised Julian) are both the same with regard to the Octoechos, the Lenten Triodion, the Pentecostorian (Flowery Triodion).  The only difference is that observation of the Menaion (currently 13 days apart) and "shifts" that occur with regard to the Menaion (such as Lucan jump, and when major feasts fall on a particular day).

   

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