Orthodox Church of the Mother of God

Joy of all the Sorrowful - Mays Landing, NJ (f. 1966)

Brief Catechism

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THE THIRD ARTICLE

Q. 54. How does the third article of the Creed read?
A. Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Q. 55. Of what is it spoken in the third article of the Creed?
A. In the third article of the Creed it is spoken of this, that the Son of God came from heaven to save the people from sin, the curse, and death.
Q. 56. What do the words: "He came down from heaven" mean?
A. The Lord has always been and is both in heaven and on earth, in the whole universe, but on earth He was invisible before and afterwards took up flesh as the God-man, became visible.
Q. 57. What do the words: "and was incarnate" mean?
A. The words: "and was incarnate" mean, that the Son of God took upon Himself human flesh, except sin, without ceasing to be God.
Q. 58. What do the words: "and was made man" mean?
A. The words: "and was made man" mean that the Son of God took upon Himself the flesh and the soul of man and became man.
Q. 59. From whom was the Son of God incarnated?
A. The Son of God was incarnated from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
Q. 60. Who was the Virgin Mary?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary was of the family of Abraham and David, to whom namely was given the promise of the Savior.
Q. 61. Why is she called the Ever-Virgin?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is called the Ever-Virgin because She always was and is a Virgin.
Q. 62. How does the Holy Orthodox Church teach of the dignity of the Virgin Mary?
A. The Holy Orthodox Church titles the Virgin Mary "The Mother of God" (Theotokos, Bohoroditza) and honors Her far above the cherubim and seraphim.
The title "The Mother of God" has the origin in the Holy Scripture, it is taken from the words of Prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name IMMANUEL which being interpreted, is, "GOD WITH US." (Is. 7:14; Mat. 1:23.)
So also the righteous Elizabeth calls the Most Holy Virgin Mary "The Mother of the Lord," which title is all one with that of Mother of God. "Whence is this to the, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luk. 7:43.)
Q. 63. Why it is said: "for the sake of us men?"
A. By the words: "for the sake of us men" is expressed that the Lord Jesus Christ came down to save -- not one particular people, as the Jews thought, but all men to whatsoever nation any may belong.
Q. 64. What is sin?
A. Sin is a transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4.)
Q. 65. Whence is sin in men, seeing that they were created in the image of God, and God cannot sin ?
A. Sin in men is from the devil. He that committeth sin, is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. (1 John 3:8.)
Q. 66. How did sin pass from the devil to men?
A. The devil deceived Eve and Adam, and induced them to transgress God's commandment.
Q. 67. What commandment?
A. God commanded Adam in Paradise not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and withal told him, that as soon as he ate thereof he should surely die.
Q. 68. How could Adam and Eve listen to the devil against the will of God?
A. God of His goodness, at the creation of span, gave him a will naturally disposed to love God, but still free and man used this freedom for evil.
Q. 69. How did the devil deceive Adam and Eve?
A. Eve saw in Paradise a serpent, which assured her that if men ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would know good and evil, and would become as gods. Eve was deceived by this promise, and by the fairness of the fruit, and ate of it. Adam ate after her example.
Q. 70. What came of Adam's sin?
A. The curse and death.
Q. 71. What is a curse?
A. The curse is the condemnation of sin by God's just judgment, and the evil which from sin came upon the earth for the punishment of men. God said to Adam, Cursed is the ground for thy sake. (Genesis 3:17.)
Q. 72. What is death which came from The sin of Adam?
A. The death which came from the sin, of Adam is twofold: bodily, when the body loses the soul which quickened it, and spiritual, when the soul loses the grace of God, which quickened it with the higher and spiritual life.
Q. 73. Can the soul then die, as well as the body?
A. The soul can die, but not so as the body. The body, when it dies, loses sense, and is dissolved; the soul, when it dies by sin, loses spiritual light, joy, and happiness, but is not dissolved nor annihilated, but remains in a state of darkness, anguish, and suffering.
Q. 74. Why did not the first than only die, and not all as now?
A. Because all have came of Adam since his infection by sin, and all sin themselves. As from an infected source there naturally flows an infected stream, so from a father infected with sin, and consequently mortal, there naturally proceeds a posterity infected like him with sin, and like him mortal.
Q. 75. How is this spoken of in the Holy Scripture?
A. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so, death passed upon all men for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12 by St. Paul..)
Q. 76. What is this sin called in us?
A. This sin in which we are born is called original sin. Behold I was conceived in iniquities, and in sin did my mother bare me. (50 Psalm.)
Q. 77. Had men then any Hope left of salvation?
A. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, had confessed before God their sin, God, of His mercy, gave them a hope of salvation.
Q. 78. In what consisted this hope?
A. God promised, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. (Gen, 3:15.)
Q. 79. What did that mean?
A. That meant, that Jesus Christ would overcome the devil who had deceived men, and deliver them from sin, the curse, and death.
Q. 80. Why is Jesus Christ, called the seed of the woman?
A. Jesus Christ is called the seed of the woman because He was born on earth without man, from the Most Holy Virgin Mary.
Q. 81. What benefit was there, in this promise?
A. There was benefit in this promise that from the time of the promise men could believe savingly in the Savior that was to come, even as we now believe in the Savior that has come.
Q. 82. How then did the Lord save us?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of all mankind and suffered for us all the most painful and humiliating punishment, namely the death on the cross. Such self-immolation of the Son of God Himself has in the eyes of God a priceless value, and thereby the Lord reconciled us with God's justice and opened for us the way into the heavenly Kingdom. At the same time He taught us what we ought to believe and how we should live in order to free ourselves from sins and to inherit the life eternal, and in His own life He gave us the example of all virtues.
Q. 83. When does Christ's life minister to our salvation?
A. Christ's life ministers to our salvation when we imitate it. He says: If any one serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be. (John 12:26.)
Q. 84. What does the third Article of the Creed teach?
A. The third Article of the Creed teaches:
  1. that Jesus Christ the Son of God, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and took up not only the body, but the soul of man, and became perfect man, without ceasing to be God;
  2. that the All-holy Virgin Mary is rightly called the Mother of God, and is higher than all angels and men;
  3. that the Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, was incarnate for our sake that He might save us from sin, the curse and death;
  4. that He did, and continues to save us by His suffering and death, by His teaching, by diving us in His own life the example of all the virtues.

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