Who is a catechumen?

A Catechumen is one who is being instructed in life in the Orthodox Church. The word is of Greek origin, which mean to instruct orally, κατηχέω from κατά (katá, “down”) + ἠχή (ēkhḗ, “sound”).

This title bears a specific meaning in the Orthodox Church, conferred upon someone who chooses to start their struggle against the devil and the passions. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, talking to those who are to be enlightened, those awaiting Holy Baptism, says amongst other things “For there has been an inscription of your name and a call to service”. Thus, after this particular prayer, they are included in the order of Catechumens and their therapeutic treatment beings, in order for them to approach the sacrament of Holy Baptism fully prepared.

The Orthodox Creed

The Creed as used by the Orthodox Church today was established by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, which took place in Nicaea (modern day Iznik, Turkey) in 325, and in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey) in 381, respectively.

We will split the Symbol of Faith into 8 section to aid our study as follows:

  1. I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
  2. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages.
    Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made.
  3. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from the heavens and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
  4. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate and suffered and was buried.
    And He arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.
    And He ascended into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father.
    And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
  5. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets.
  6. In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
  7. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.
  8. I look for the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the age to come. Amen.

The whole faith of the Orthodox Church is contained within the entire Symbol of Faith. They are foundational and without this, our salvation is not possible. If we do not believe in the Trinitarian God, or that the Son of God took on human nature in order to save mankind, or the uniqueness of the Church, we reject the faith as revealed to us for our salvation. This rejection of the faith verifies in practice that we are not real Christians.

How to become an Orthodox Christian