Catechesis Final Written Exam
First, read the ecumenical confession of Faith (below) to yourself. Though you are familiar with it, and no doubt have it committed to memory, study it again, and ask any questions of your catechist, feeling free to discuss any new observations. Then, when you are ready, lay it aside, and begin the exam.
I believe in One God:
In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
I confess One Baptism for the remission of sins
I look for the Resurrection from the dead
And the Life of the Age to come.
Think of this as an essay on the Creed, and so on the Faith we confess. You are filling in the gaps with your knowledge, but also with what you have come to believe and profess. In that sense, you are also writing concerning your Faith. For the Orthodox Christian, there is no difference between The Faith and your own Faith, but rather you make The Faith your own.
Don’t skip around to different sections, but concentrate as much as possible on each paragraph, one at a time, doing the best that you can. Often reading the paragraph more than once will help shape your answers with a view to expressing the fullness of the truth that we have received. If later, you are reminded of the word you wanted, feel free to go back and put it in.
If you have a question about the meaning of a word, ask your catechist. You may go back and change an inadequate or incorrect answer, but use a pen, and strike a crisp line through the original answer so that you can still see it to discuss with your catechist. If you feel you are doing poorly, don’t despair, but remember that you are learning through this process, too. The exam is in this format partly to be used as a learning tool. If there is more that you need to learn, then consider its benefit for that purpose.
After the exam, make time to discuss the exam with your catechist, concentrating on those portions you found difficult, misunderstood, or could not complete, but also reflecting on the truth it contains for our salvation.
Your catechist may ask you to take the exam again at a later
date, after studying today’s exam, but don’t assume this. Trust the judgment of
your catechist as to whether your answers are sufficient for the record. You
will receive a copy of it, in any case, for further study.
“One Holy Catholic and
The Church is ______, and there can be only
The Church is called “apostolic”, being built, according to the scriptures, on the foundation and rock of the ___________, the witnesses of Christ, Christ being the Chief cornerstone, the Head by which the body is rightly fitted together. Likewise, in the _________ is the unity of the local Church and, as Overseer of our souls and prototype of monastics, he is venerated as __________. Furthermore, by the ascetic Life of Christ, and indeed of the Virgin, and likewise of the Bishop, we see that asceticism is not only the province of monastics and martyrs, but also the character of all orthodox practice, as we indeed model ourselves after these, our champions.
He has not God for his ___________ who has not the ___________ for his mother (Tertullian). As Saints Cyprian and Augustine say, apart from the Church and Her Holy Mysteries, there is no ____________. Just as all things in the Economy are for our salvation, so we say truly that the Holy Mysteries save us, and so Baptism __________ us. According to Christ, the Apostles, and the Ecumenical Creed of the Fathers, there is but One Lord and God, One Faith and Church, and “One ______________ for the remission of ___________.” In other words, the Mysteries are in one place, and apart from the Church, there are no Mysteries.
The One Baptism is within the
According the Scriptures and Tradition, the only Church that is _____________ is that Church that holds to the unity of the one Faith at all times and in every hour both in Heaven and on Earth, never apart from the Bishop nor contravening the Apostolic Tradition. In this sense, the Catholic Church is not merely universal and sharing the consensus of the Fathers but is also necessarily One, and apart from Her is no other.
“For us men and for our salvation”
Salvation is a work of ______ and of ______. This joint effort is called _____________, meaning the mingling of energies, so that one fulfills the other. In this way, salvation itself means ____________ with God, also called _____________ or deification, which is the perfect union of ________ and ________, while each remains also utterly distinct.
Salvation means becoming partakers of the divine nature, participating in the uncreated _____________of God, in other words salvation by ___________, or as Saints Irenaeus and Athanasius put it, God became man by nature that we might become God by _________.
“And was Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man”
By becoming man, Christ, the Second ________ has expiated and resurrected our human ___________, delivering it from _________ and Hell, and causing it to ascend with Him to Heaven, ‘leading a host of captives’ to sit with Him “on the right hand of the ___________”, with all the Saints.
Christ has become real flesh, created flesh, flesh from the flesh of ____________ and truly become fully man, the Seed of David, the Son of Abraham, the Root of Jesse, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, making ‘of one __________ all the nations of men,’ so that His Flesh and Blood can truly save those who eat and drink it.
Just as Christ, God in the flesh, was Incarnate in the womb of Mary, was truly born, truly suffered, and was buried, so likewise He has raised Himself in that very flesh, ascended in the flesh, and so “_________ at the right hand of the Father,” from whence he shall likewise come to judge, so that of the Kingdom of His Economy, “there shall be no _______”. Indeed, the Son, “by Whom all things were made”, having become _______ is also the proper Judge of ________. As Creator he entered his creation to become like us, raising us as peers to him, and so “will come again to judge the living and the dead” as just Judge being also the peer of mankind.
What the Lord fills, he redeems. The calendar, feasts, fasts, veneration of saints’ days, times and events, expresses the redemption of _________, one of his creatures, by the Creator, who entered history. These events now save us, because the one event that truly saves us is the ____________. Christ has become our Passover, our sacred Pascha. In the same way, the veneration of the Icons, the Cross, and the blessing of water, indicates the redemption of matter. Our redemption is wrought by matter, because God became matter to save us who are material beings, restoring to us who were dead a spiritual life. The icons, for example, are right and indeed necessary safeguards of the Incarnation. We have __________ him with human ________, therefore we can depict him with human hands, though we say of the Holy Icons that they are made without hands.
We say then, that Christ’s Incarnation, fulfilling all types, true prophesies, and operations of man is “according to the ____________”, (as we say of the Resurrection). In other words, the Resurrection and indeed the Incarnation in its entirety - the Gospel - is ‘in accord’ with the Holy Writ. The Creator of time entered history, “crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate”, summing up its meaning in the fall from fellowship with God and into _______ and also the faithfulness and love of God to go beyond even restoring man, making possible a true _________ with Him.
Likewise, Christ in His Incarnation has summed up all categories of operation proper to both _______ and _______; thanks to St. Irenaeus, we call this ______________, a literary term which refers to a summative review of all that has gone before and, indeed, a summing up of the whole Economy.
By the Economy, we mean specifically the ______________, which is the recapitulation of all of God’s creation and activity toward creation, so that we call this activity likewise the Economy or Economia. Economia is God condescending to our weakness, overcoming the barriers between God and creation, which are there because of the finite and contingent nature of all that is not God and further because of man’s Fall into _________, the doom inherited from Adam. In this way, we refer to the exercise of economia, which removes barriers to salvation on an individual basis, salvation being absolutely personal – that is, unique to the person. In fact, the entire Economy, that is all God’s activity toward what is not God, is for salvation – for bringing it into union with God, especially for ourselves.
By His Passion, he freed us from our ___________, the signs of our disintegration in death. By His death, He overcame __________, so that, refusing the passions, we say with the Apostle, “Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Because of the Incarnation, we say that Mary is Mother of _________, the ______________ or “God-bearer”, and that God truly suffered in the flesh. Therefore, we venerate Her as the Panagia (“All-Holy”), whose “name will be forever exalted”, and we adore Him who became man for our sakes.
Christ was truly lifted up, as the brazen serpent was lifted up, so that all who look upon Him with Faith are healed. Christ by becoming man, who is made of ____________ (so that the first man is called Adam), fulfills all matter and deifies it. It is not that a man became God, but that God the Son was Incarnate and became _________.
Being fully God and fully man, Christ Incarnate is __________ person(s),
__________ set(s) of operations (e.g. will), ___________ nature(s).
The unity is in the ____________, and the union is of the two ____________.
“I believe in One God”
By ____________, we mean God considered apart from any created thing. We mean the Holy ___________, confessing _____ person(s), ______ essence(s), undivided. The ___________ is God, The ___________ is God, and The _________________ is God, and yet there are not many Gods but One God. The _____________ is Lord, The ______________ is Lord, and The ________________ is Lord, and yet there are not many Lords but One Lord. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are One _________ and _________ with the Father who is without beginning, and yet __________ person(s).
The Monarch or ‘sole source’ of the Godhead is the ____________. Who is also the ultimate source of all things (“maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible, so that we say “Almighty” or ‘greater than and beyond all else’. But we do not say that the Father is Father of the Son in the same way that He is Father of the world, as the heretic Origen offered. Rather, we say that the Son is “___________ not made” and of “one ____________ with the Father.” Nor does anything co-exist with God, but all else is contingent, such that God’s existence is not comparable or comprehensible to any other.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguishable as persons only in that the Father is ________________, the Son is _________________, and the Holy Spirit ______________ from the ____________ alone. The begetting and proceeding does not diminish the persons or imply inferiority, but is as “Light from Light, True _________ of True __________.”
Attempting to speak of God’s essence, we can only say that it is unknowable, incomparable, unapproachable, and so genuinely unutterable. We do not acknowledge that we can say anything real at all about God’s essence, so that our theology is truly ______________ – one of denial of all sensible things and imaginary (or graven) images. We do not transform the energies of God – love, knowledge, wisdom – into ‘attributes’, nor confuse them with God’s essence, as though God is comparable to us or containable in human concepts. Even the divine energies appear as light only to those few whose unceasing prayers and exceeding holiness permits them to see.
While Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always act together toward and in the Economy, in the Godhead, the Son is “begotten of the ___________” and not the ___________, and the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the ____________” alone and not from the _____________, the Father being the sole Monarch and font of divinity.
The Son is begotten not in time, as though there were a time that he was not, but in eternity, so that He is without beginning, just as the proceeding of the Holy Spirit from the ___________ is an eternal procession and before all ages. To speak of the Economy, and specifically of what occurs in time, is not to speak in Theology, of Who God Is.
Therefore, we do not violate the Holy Canons, blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and cast away the Apostolic Succession by altering the ecumenical Creed with the words “and the Son” when speaking of the procession of the Holy Spirit, as the Latins have with the addition of the word ____________. To do so is to worship a different god, one of human comprehension, of human creation, of satanic imagination, so that indeed our whole faith would become unraveled and transform us into a manmade religion full of every impiety in the guise of piety, “summing up all of the rash impudence’ of our passions, and alienating us from the Life of the Spirit.
So, too, as “Only-Begotten”, the begetting of the Son is neither comprehensible nor comparable to any other. Neither is Christ Begotten of the ___________ in a similar way that He was born of ____________. From the __________, it is an eternal begetting – it is who the Son is. From ____________, the conception and birthing inaugurates the Economy of the fullness of times, in which the Spirit has been sent by the Son as Comforter until the end. Christ, “begotten not ________”, being neither created and so less than fully God, also fully possesses in His Incarnation a human nature and a human will that is not lost in the Divine Nature or Will as though a drop of water in the sea. He retains the fullness of a human nature and will, for “what is not assumed is not healed” (St. Gregory of Nazianzen). Christ is fully man and Very __________ of Very _________, at once “acquainted with grief” and remaining ever the Sacrifice, the Paschal Lamb, and always and ever the Lord of Glory.
“And in The Holy Spirit”
The Holy Spirit, far from being an impersonal force, is a Person, so that we use such appellations as The Comforter, “The Lord, The ________ of Life, saying that the Holy Spirit “who together with the Father and the Son is __________ and ___________” also “__________ by the Prophets”.
By saying “The Giver of _________”, we also acknowledge that man does not have life or immortality in himself, neither can he create it, but his life is contingent and wholly dependent on God. Man, who is composed of body and ___________, is made alive by God, and this life we call spirit, that divine energy that unites body to soul, where death divides and fragments body and soul. Man does not have spirit autonomously, but rather lives with the life that God gives, and then can say with the Theotokos, “My spirit exults in God my Saviour”.
“We look for the Resurrection”
Constantly mindful of our mortality and death, we live also in hope, watchful of the Lord’s return so that we “look for the Resurrection of the ________”, shaping our lives in this looking, to ever dwell in the Kingdom that is, was, and shall be, “the _________ of the age to come.” The Divine Life that now deifies.
By confessing these things with my mouth, heart, and mind, in unison with The Church of the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ and firmly setting myself to live in this truth, I evidence the first words of the Creed, namely that “____ __________”, following it with a final word, saying with my heart and mind “_________”, meaning, ‘it is so and so be it’.