Q: What do the three bars on the cross mean?
A: The top bar represents the sign over the head of Jesus that read in Latin, Hebrew, Greek: “This is Jesus King of the Jews”
The Second bar represents the cross piece where the arms of Christ were nailed.
The third bar, where Christ’s feet were nailed and rested points up on the right of Christ toward the “good thief “, represents Dydimus as he is known in the Tradition who chose to follow Christ even in his last moments. He is considered a Saint in the Orthodox Church.
Q: What do the “onion” domes represent on many Orthodox Churches?
A: The Dome represents the womb of the Virgin Mary. It is a remembrance for the Orthodox that God became like us, and took on our form for all eternity.
Q: What is the difference between the Russian Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox, the Romanian Orthodox, etc.?
A: All Orthodox Churches are in communion with one another around the world. The “Russian”, Greek”, “Romania” ,“Albania” names designates the country founding it here in this Country as we are a melting pot of nationalities.
*This parish of Saints Peter and Paul is the Orthodox Church in America, we and others founded by the Russian Church were given our autonomy in 1970. All other Orthodox communities in this country are subject to their mother Church.
Q: How is the Orthodox Church different from the Roman Church?
A: Before the year 1054 AD the Roman Church and the other 4 Sees of Christendom (Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria) were unified and in communion with one another. In 1054 Rome broke away from the other 4 thus ending the long history of a unified Church. (see map on wall)
Q; What are the reasons for the division between the Orthodox and the Romans?
- The Pope of Rome wanted full ruling power, instead of the conciliar history of the 5 Sees together.
- The addition of the filoque (and the Son) phrase in the Nicene Creed, which upsets the teaching on the Holy Trinity.
- Other doctrines added to the Holy Tradition of the Church like: Indulgences (moneys’ paid to get people out of “purgatory”), the teaching on original sin, the immaculate conception of Mary to name a few.