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The Faith We Hold

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An unpretentious little book by the former head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, written "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those outside." Useful also for the Orthodox themselves, it deals with the most basic elements of the Orthodox faith, revealing with remarkable simplicity and directness its messages of salvation for all mankind. An unpretentious little book by the former head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, written "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those outside." Useful also for the Orthodox themselves, it deals with the most basic elements of the Orthodox faith, revealing with remarkable simplicity and directness its messages of salvation for all mankind.


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An unpretentious little book by the former head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, written "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those outside." Useful also for the Orthodox themselves, it deals with the most basic elements of the Orthodox faith, revealing with remarkable simplicity and directness its messages of salvation for all mankind. An unpretentious little book by the former head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, written "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those outside." Useful also for the Orthodox themselves, it deals with the most basic elements of the Orthodox faith, revealing with remarkable simplicity and directness its messages of salvation for all mankind.

46 review for The Faith We Hold

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    This is a good, brief, concise book on what the Orthodox Church believes --- I'd first heard of it on Steve Tobey's "Gospel Minute Live" podcast on YouTube. On that topic, it doesn't necessarily plow new ground in the beginning, and I was leaning on giving it a 4-star rating; however, in the latter part of this book, Archbishop Paul goes beyond explaining Orthodox Christianity's beliefs, values, and sacraments, and takes the next step in explaining how to apply these to living a life in which on This is a good, brief, concise book on what the Orthodox Church believes --- I'd first heard of it on Steve Tobey's "Gospel Minute Live" podcast on YouTube. On that topic, it doesn't necessarily plow new ground in the beginning, and I was leaning on giving it a 4-star rating; however, in the latter part of this book, Archbishop Paul goes beyond explaining Orthodox Christianity's beliefs, values, and sacraments, and takes the next step in explaining how to apply these to living a life in which one progresses closer and closer to God over time. As I've found is consistently most often the case with many Orthodox writings --- from the First Century to date --- Archbishop Paul places heavy emphasis upon prayer and humility --- going beyond mere empty mutterings or self-serving supplications --- to taking this to a higher level. He also explains means by which to combat temptations and the world's distractions from the blessed life. As is also often I've found the case so far in my journey, his advice and recommendations are eminently practical and viable. For this reason, it's got to be a 5-star rating, and this will be a treasured addition to my library!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris Whitehead

    This book is perfect for the consumer of small bites. Each chapter is very easy to read and short. Though it is not considered to be an exhaustive manual for the tenants of Orthodox Christian faith it does a great job of opening the door to basic principles and practices.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Archbishop Paul (Olmari) of Finland provides a basic introduction to Orthodox Christianity. The Faith We Hold is a great introduction for the non-Orthodox as well as a refresher (or catechismal text) for practicing Orthodox Christians. Written by His Beatitude, the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul (Olmari), primate of the Church of Finland and Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland from 1960 to 1987, the intention of this book is "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those on the outside" (page 1 Archbishop Paul (Olmari) of Finland provides a basic introduction to Orthodox Christianity. The Faith We Hold is a great introduction for the non-Orthodox as well as a refresher (or catechismal text) for practicing Orthodox Christians. Written by His Beatitude, the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul (Olmari), primate of the Church of Finland and Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland from 1960 to 1987, the intention of this book is "to describe Orthodoxy from the inside to those on the outside" (page 11). It covers the most fundamental beliefs and practices of the Orthodox Christian Faith. The book is divided into three sections: faith, the Eucharist, and prayer. Each section is then subdivided into different 1 to 3 page topics. Section I: Faith covers what the Orthodox consider "The Church," sources of doctrine, salvation, faith and good works, spiritual guidance, and the communion of saints. These are the most basic foundational beliefs of Orthodox Christianity. I thought Archbishop Paul did a great job explaining that traditional practice is key to Orthodoxy as the Church predates the earliest written texts by hundred of years. He also clearly explains that His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is considered first among equals but not the Orthodox "Pope" with central administrative authority. This is a major point of confusion for the non-Orthodox who often consider Orthodoxy to be a form of Catholicism. Archbishop Paul didn't, however, make clear that when it comes to the Bible, Orthodox Christians do not practice personal interpretation (Sola Scriptura), which the majority of Protestants do. Instead, Orthodox Christians refer to the writings of the Church Fathers as well as some more contemporary -- Church sanctioned -- works by various theologians and clergymen to understand the meaning of the text. The works of the Holy Fathers, saints, monastics, and clerics are considered to have authority rather than infallibility. The meaning ascribed by Orthodox tradition is also an important source for explaining Biblical and liturgical texts. I also wished that during the discussion of salvation, he would have made clear that Orthodox Christians no matter how devout are not allowed to say that they are going to heaven because "only Christ can judge." This has a tendency to cause many a monastic to lament that everyone except him will be saved, which can be a bit annoying since it comes off as a humble brag. Orthodox Christians are also not allowed to say that people belonging to other faiths are going to hell because "we know where the Church is, but we don't know where the Church isn't." These are two crucial points about Orthodox Christianity. They're two of Orthodox Christianity's finer points in my opinion as no one is allowed to direct any righteous hellfire at anyone else. Section II: The Eucharist specifically addresses important aspects of liturgical practice, primarily the Divine Liturgy, with Holy Communion as the central focus. Archbishop Paul translates the Greek word for liturgy as "public service," but I prefer "work of the people," even though that is not a correct literal translation, as it better describes the role of public communal worship since those in attendance play an active vital part in the services. I was surprised to discover what a rebel Archbishop Paul is, suggesting that the Royal Doors in the iconostasis be left open during the Communion of the clergy. Section III: Prayer starts out by discussing personal spirituality before it delves into personal prayer. I wished Archbishop Paul would have simply dived into the prayer rule without any preamble about spiritual warfare or the inescapability of involuntary sin. Here Archbishop Paul is forgetting his audience in the interest of being thorough. This will only turn off the more pragmatic readers such as the deeply secular and majority Lutheran population in Finland. It also marks a departure from the simple and straight forward approach he had taken up to this point and strays from his basic premise of explaining Orthodoxy to the non-orthodox. Archbishop Paul does touch upon the daily prayer rule and the home icon corner, and he discusses the Jesus prayer at length in this section, but his initial focus is on prayer as a defensive against man's own sinful nature. A better approach would have been to begin by defining prayer at its most basic as mankind's attempt to commune with God and then immediately follow with explanations of the Orthodox practice of prayer. For those interested in the Orthodox practice of prayer, the pamphlet "Building a Habit of Prayer" by Fr. Marc Dunaway, available from Ancient Faith Publishing, is the best guide for a daily prayer routine that I've encountered. It offers the simplest, most basic, and shortest sets of morning and evening prayers. Most Orthodox prayer books are quite daunting even for practicing Orthodox Christians because they are written by monastics and, therefore, contain extended monastic prayer rules. These full prayer rules are not intended for the laity. The laity are not expected to pray like monks and instead receive personally tailored, shorter, and more realistic prayer rules from their priests or spiritual fathers/mothers. Getting stressed out, overscheduled people to say the Invocation of the Trinity, the Prayer to Holy Spirit, the Trisagion Prayer, and the Lord's Prayer twice a day is a feat of which any pastoral leader should be proud. Why Archbishop Paul chose this moment to frown upon people with short rushed daily prayers and break from his gentle, inclusive tone is beyond me. Like Archbishop Paul, I would also recommend The Way of a Pilgrim (particularly the English translation by Helen Bacovcin) to understand the Jesus Prayer and its importance in Orthodox Christianity. Praying with Icons by Jim Forest is an excellent introduction to role of iconography in Orthodox worship.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    This text was an interesting overview of both Orthodoxy and Christianity in general. While it is a simply text, it does covers the Faith, liturgy, and prayer. It is recommended as a refresher or an introduction to those interested in Orthodoxy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Roger Burk

    Short and straightforward book about Eastern Orthodoxy written by the head of the Finnish Orthodox Church.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Read it. You will be enlightened.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Konugres

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jason Rogers

  9. 4 out of 5

    TΞΞL❍CK Mith!lesh

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mickey Lowery

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian Jonson

  13. 4 out of 5

    Millie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Justin Aldrich

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Shatarevyan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Justin •••

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Philip Ryan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Matthew

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Stewart

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  24. 4 out of 5

    Olga Atty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julius

  27. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Page

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thom Crowe

  31. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Marty

  32. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Tillman Russell

  33. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  34. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Watson

  35. 5 out of 5

    Vinnie Santini

  36. 4 out of 5

    Brad Lyman

  37. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  38. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  39. 4 out of 5

    Klidell

  40. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  41. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  42. 4 out of 5

    Precious Sekhoane

  43. 5 out of 5

    Seraphim Abel

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  45. 5 out of 5

    Anold

  46. 4 out of 5

    T.P. Davis

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