Updated: Aug 14
Orthodox Christianity is a way of life, not merely something we do on Sunday mornings and quickly forget when we leave church. Orthodox marriage is the path to salvation. The husband, wife and children are on pilgrimage to paradise. This is Life's Purpose.
A way of life is a whole coming together of habits and attitudes, ideas and actions: a style of life, a way to live. For us Orthodox, Christianity is our daily bread. Like a fish in water, we must swim in our Faith. As followers of Christ, we take our whole direction from Christ and His Church, and not from the standards of today's world. This seems clearest when we visit a monastery, where the environment, the atmosphere, the focus of life—everything is clearly and deliberately Orthodox.
Most of us Orthodox Christians do not live in monasteries; we are married; we have homes, children, jobs.
Among many married Orthodox there exists the mistaken idea that their following Christ does not require the same dedication required of the Orthodox monastic. But of course all Christians, whether monastic or not, are equally called by Christ to repentance and eternal salvation. There are no "classes" of Orthodox Christians—all are equal and all are expected to be followers of Christ, regardless of their position in the Church.
It is, however, very difficult for us non-monastic Christians to live an Orthodox life-style from day to day and year to year because we are constantly exposed to and live within a society that is not only not Christian but even at times, and increasingly, hostile to Orthodox Christian beliefs. But this should not discourage us, for Christ Himself understood this situation when He said: Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16).
A tremendous bastion of strength for Orthodox lay people in our circumstances is marriage and family life, a state that has been blessed by God for the salvation of each individual member of the family.
Eternal salvation is the whole goal of our earthly life.