This Friday is the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul. Great Vespers will be Thursday at 6:30PM and Divine Liturgy is Friday at 9:30AM. In the Creed we confess One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ss. Peter and Paul were the leaders of the Apostles, but what does it mean for our Church to be Apostolic? It cannot simply mean that we are a Church that remembers some important historical figures. We confess the Church to be Apostolic because the Church today continues to do what the Apostles did. Let me suggest three ways we can continue to be Apostolic today.
Confess Christ: The Gospel for this Feast is Peter's Confession, "You are the Christ..." The Apostles were those who believed and paid for this belief with their lives. All of them suffered for their faith. Most of them were martyred. We could also expand on this by saying they confessed Christ crucified according to the Scriptures. This can be seen in St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians where he gives us one of the earliest Christian creeds, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." (1 Cor. 15:3) All of the Apostolic preaching in the book of Acts also highlights the Cross and the continuity between Christ and the Old Testament Scriptures. There are many versions of the Christian faith, but the Orthodox Church confesses the crucified and risen Christ of the Apostles.
Make Disciples: The word "Apostle" means messenger. The Apostles were Christ's messengers. They were busy obeying Christ's command to "Go and make disciples." They went on mission trips, met new people, started new Churches, and developed new ways to communicate the Gospel. When we confess an Apostolic Church, we're saying that our Church is making disciples like the Apostles did.
Be Transformed: When we say our Church is Apostolic, we are acknowledging an inner reality. Although the Apostles' culture, language, and circumstances were very different from ours, we share the same inner life. The inner life of the Apostolic Church consists of the purification of the soul, the illumination of the Nous, and the glorification of the whole person in the Divine life of the Holy Trinity. In the Scriptures we see St. Peter walking on the beach with Christ and St. Paul encountering the Lord on the Road to Damascus. We see them obey God's call and we see them transformed and glorified. The risen Christ also calls out to us from the depth of the heart, and like the Apostles we obey and are transformed. To be an Apostolic Church means to be transformed within like the Apostles.