12. History

The Church’s history records the progress of Christ’s work throughout the course of the human experience. History in Orthodoxy has a theological importance because of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Just as God chose to become a physical, living, breathing human man, He also chooses to work in and through human history to bring about salvation for us. While the Biblical history is most sacred in that it is the salvation story, the Gospel, the rest of the Church’s history is also sacred, because it is a witness to the continued effects of the salvation story in the experience of mankind.

 

History is also a record of the Church’s experience through time, applying the one, unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ across the centuries, across continents and across very diverse cultures. It is because of this experience over the centuries that we turn to the guidance of the saints for practical direction on living the spiritual life and for help in understanding the Scriptures and all the teachings of the Church. Some of the saints are called Church Fathers, whose word is trusted on how the Bible should be interpreted, how worship should be done, and how to repent of our sins and grow in holiness. It is because of their personal experience and knowledge of God as recognized by the Church that they are trustworthy guides.

Next Article: Conclusion

Adapted from St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.