Software engineers begin counting from zero, not from one, and that is nice since it give that first number a pre-beginning feeling. Please consider what is below as a first, test, “Beta” Vignette Zero. A first small trial.
Andrei for the Saker blog
First, a caveat which in the future I will post under every Christian Vignette. It is important, very, so please read it carefully. I, Andrei Raevsky, aka The Saker, have absolutely no authority whatsoever to teach. None. Zero. Ziltch. What I do have is a lot of exposure to sources of true Christianity, be it the people I met in my life, of my readings of the Church Fathers. The planned vignettes will NOT be a catechism, or a course in dogmatics or anything else formal. The planned vignettes will be one guys strictly personal musings on various topics. Nothing more.
Next, here are some of my working assumptions:
- While some of those who signed up clearly already know a great deal about original Christianity, others do not, and that is fine. I will primarily address the non-Orthodox in these vignettes, but mainstream, state-sponsored “world Orthodoxy” will be mentioned too.
- My first task will be two fold: first, to try to prove my thesis that modern Christianity has nothing in common with the original Christianity, in many ways modern “Christianity” is an anti-Christianity. My second task will be to remove some of the worst myths about early Christianity. Before I can place something healthy before you, I need to remove the poisons currently in your “mental plate”. I will begin by the two worst and most illogical ones:
- Saint Paul “invented/created/perverted” Christianity and Christ did not come to create an “organized religion”.
- I will then also explain a few basics about what the Scripture is and what it is not.
- Then we will discuss our reference system and sources.
- Then we will look at what “theology” meant to the early Christians.
Finally, an important note. “Christianity” is an empty, place-holder, term which means nothing. I discuss that in my interview about Orthodoxy with Yvonne Lorenzo. And words like “God” or “Virgin Mary” really need to be very carefully defined. We will deal with definitions a lot. But here is what I want you to know.
In those vignettes I will use the term of “Christianity” to ONLY refer to:
The faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (Athanasius of Alexandria, 4th century)
that “which has been believed everywhere, always and by all” (Saint Vicent of Lerins, 5th century).
“As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the teachers expressed in dogmas, as the whole world has agreed, as the grace has illuminated” (Synodikon of Orthodoxy, 6th century)
When referring to the modern times, I will call “Orthodox” and “Christian” only those entities/jurisdictions/churches/groups which have truly and fully kept the faith and traditions which were handed down to them. When referring to modern, state-supported Orthodox Churches, I will use their official names as in “Orthodox Church in America” or “Moscow Patriarchate”.
Finally, as this is A LOT about vocabulary and its uses, I will deal a lot of definitions.
I hope that this sounds like a fun program.
Hugs and cheers
Andrei (the Saker)