“We believe in one God, God the Father the Pantocrator who created heaven and earth, and all things seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and became Man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the scriptures, ascended to the heavens; He sits at the right hand of His Father, and He is coming again in His glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.
Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And in one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.”
We also believe that the Holy Scripture is the divinely inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It is the story in which God reveals His love for man throughout the history of mankind.
The Old Testament tells of the history of that revelation from Creation through the Age of the Prophets. It contains 39 books which are divided into five sections: the books of History, book of the Law, the books of poetry and Wisdom, and the books of prophesy).
The New Testament records the birth and life of Jesus Christ, sets forth the writings and works of His Apostles, and documents the history of the early Church. The New Testament books contain 27 main books, which were written from about 50 to 95 A.D.
The Coptic Orthodox Church prefers the Septuagint (LXX) for the Old Testament and a literal translation of the Greek Textus Receptus, such as the New King James Version, for the New Testament.
The earliest writings of all the New Testament books as we know them today is found in the 33rd Canon of a local council held at the city of Carthage in 318 AD. and in the Paschal Letter of St. Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 AD. A local council, probably held in Rome at 382, set forth a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments.
The Scriptures are at the very heart of Orthodox worship and devotion. Its verses are declared in each of its sacraments, memorized and inscribed on the hearts of its people.
There are two separate meanings and interpretations for tradition mentioned in the Bible: one refers to the tradition of men—which is condemned by Our Lord Himself repeatedly. In one passage, Christ boldly denounces the Pharisees over their appeal to tradition. (See Matthew 15:3- 9). This tradition taught hypocrisy and vain worship.
However, there is a second tradition—the Tradition of God (capital T)—which the Church embraces, accepts and depends upon. This is the Tradition which St. Paul refers to in the when declaring, “Therefore brethren, stand fast to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or by epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:15); and “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” (2 Thess. 3:15)
Thus, this Tradition, is the apostles doctrine, mentioned in Acts 2:42, which Paul and the other apostles taught and preached. It is the Tradition revealed by our Lord to the disciples during the fifty days after His Resurrection, which St. John refers to “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they should be written every one, is suppose even the world could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:20)
Without such tradition, one would be compelled to ask, how did the Bible come to be? How can we accurately and consistently interpret the Bible for coming generations? A church without Tradition, is a church without roots, a church doomed to face relentless confusion and inevitable division.
The Scriptures are true—holy, just and good. But they were not meant to stand alone. Their enforcer, their interpreter—and indeed their writer—is the Church through the Apostolic tradition.