The term CHURCH, according to the strict Orthodox view, has two meanings,
one of them expressing its doctrinal and religious character, that is, its inner,
peculiarly spiritual essence, and the other expressing its external character.
Thus, according to the Orthodox confession, the Church is defined in a twofold
manner: as a religious institution, and as a religious community (koinonia).
The definition of the CHURCH as a religious institution may be formulated
thus: The Church is a divine religious institution of the New Testament, built
by our Savior Jesus Christ through His incarnate Dispensation, established upon
faith on the day of holy Pentecost by the descent of the All-Holy Spirit upon
the holy Disciples and Apostles of the Savior Christ, whom He rendered
instruments of Divine grace for the perpetuation of His work of redemption. In
this institution is entrusted the totality of revealed truths; in it operates
Divine grace through the Mysteries; in it are regenerated those, who with
faith, approach Christ the Savior; in it has been preserved both the written
and the unwritten Apostolic teaching and tradition.
The definition of the CHURCH as a religious community may be formulated
thus: The CHURCH is a society of men united in the unity of the Spirit, in the
bond of peace.
The right view of the CHURCH is that the CHURCH is distinguished into the
Militant and the Triumphant; and that it is Militant so long as it struggles
against wickedness for the prevalence of the good, the Triumphant in the
heavens, where there dwells the choir of the Righteous, who struggled and were
made perfect in the faith in God and in virtue.
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