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Living an Orthodox Life: Introduction

These pages are devoted to helping Orthodox Christians living in the world to properly live the Orthodox life, i.e., to practice their Faith. We are all called to an ascetic podvig. Thus, the articles on these pages are geared towards helping us engage in this mysteriological-ascetic struggle.

Also, it is not uncommon today to find sincere, devout people who simply were never told about certain aspects of etiquette in Church, how to greet a priest, how to properly prepare for Holy Communion, etc. By hosting a collection of page containing the "essentials", with some supporting articles, I hope to help a few of us at least become aware of traditional practices.

I should mention that there are small differences in practice between the Russian and Greek traditions. I make note of these differences whenever possible. I caution you against any form of legalism that would see certain practices as the only way. It is always best to submit to the authority of, and be guided by, a spiritual father and/or your local priest. In this way we are kept in balance and can avoid judgmentalism and delusion.

Finally, the term orthopraxis is a transliteration from the Greek meaning "right practice." It is a kin to orthodoxy, which means "right glory" or "right worship."

 

Of course, you need labor and effort, both mental and from the heart. Do not spare yourself. If you do, you will ruin yourself. Do not spare yourself, and you will have salvation. Abandon a certain wrongful activity that often strikes and afflicts almost everyone: That is, the fact that we spare no labor on any matter except when it comes to that of salvation. We want to think that we have only to contemplate salvation and desire it, and everything is all set. That is not how it happens in reality. The matter of salvation is the most important thing. Consequently it is the most difficult. This is by virtue of its importance and by the labor required. Labor then, for the Lord's sake! Very soon you will see the fruit. If you do not set to work, however, you will be left without anything and be unworthy. Deliver us, Lord, from this!

—St. Theophan the Recluse, The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned to It, Letter 51

"Theology without action (praxis) is the theology of demons."

—St. Maximos the Confessor