To attain the enjoyment of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world. Man must know, love and serve God in a supernatural manner in order to gain happiness of heaven. Man is raised to the mystical order only by grace, which is a free gift of God. (Psalm 119:1-16; Zephaniah 3:9; Matthew 22:37-40; Ephesians 2:5)
We learn to know, love, and serve God the Father from Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, who teaches us through the Church and Apostolic Tradition. (John 3:16; Matthew 10:20; 18:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:15)
In order to be saved, all persons who have attained the use of reason must believe explicitly that God exists and that He rewards the good and punishes the wicked; in practice they should also believe in the Holy Godhead and the Incarnation of Messiah as proclaimed in the Daily Declarations and that of the Assembly’s creeds. Each individual must surrender their life completely to Almighty God through Yeshua the Messiah. (Psalm 14:1; 19:1-12; Philippians 2:6-11)
By the Holy Godhead we mean one and the same Godhead in three divine aspects, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Church teaches that Messiah exists as One Body with Two Essences (Qnume). (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:13,14)
By the Incarnation is meant that the Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah, retaining His divine nature, took to Himself a human nature, that is, a body and soul like ours. (John 1:1, 3-18)
The Church is the Believing Congregation of all baptized persons united in the same True Faith, the same sacrifice, and the same Sacraments, under the Authority of Messiah appointed to the Catholicos Patriarch, who is the Chief Patriarch of the Church on earth, and the Bishops and other clerics in communion with him. (Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:16; Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 15:22-27)
We find the chief truths taught by Yeshua the Messiah through the Church in the Holy Scriptures and the Apostles’ Creed. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law. (Matthew 5:17-20). The Two Great Commandments that contain the whole law of God are:
- You shall love Mar-Yah your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
- To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. (Psalm 119:1-2; Matthew 5:17-20; Micah 6:8; James 1:27; 2:24)
The Ten Commandments of God serve as a standard of our Ancient and Holy Faith given to the Church by the Hand of God through Moses. (Exodus 20:1-17; Malachi 3:22)
The Chief Commandments, or Laws, of the Church:
- To participate in the Lord’s Supper on all Holy Days. (Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Colossians 2:16; Hebrews 10:23-32)
- To always confess our sins before the Throne of God. (Psalm 51:1-19; 38:18-19; James 5:16; 1
John 1:9, 10; Matthew 6:12)
- To spiritually (service, works of mercy) and financially (tithes, alms) contribute to the support of the Local Church and the Holy See. (Acts 13:2; 2 Corinthians 4:17; John 4:38; Matthew 9:37,38; Matthew 6:1-4; Hebrews 7:1,2,6)
- To defend the Church and her Hierarchy from all forms of attack and to keep the Church and her Hierarchy and all Members in prayer daily. (Ephesians 6:10-22; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11; Romans 8:27)
- To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage. (Mark 10:6-8)
True Believers also profess as an integral part of our Most Holy Faith
- That Maran Yeshua the Messiah, perfect in His Divinity and perfect in His Humanity, being the only son of God the Father conceived of Holy Spirit, born of the Blessed Virgin Miriam (Mary), was crucified, died, buried, and then conquered death by His Resurrection. (Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15,16; 2:9; Matthew 14:33; 1 John 4:15; John 1:1; Matthew 1:18-25; 20:19)
- That in the one Godhead there are three aspects: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that each is eternal. (Matthew 28:19; Isaiah 6:3; John 14:26; 2 Corinthians 13:13)
- That the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. (John 15:26)
- That together with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is adored and glorified. (Isaiah 6:3; 2 Corinthians 13:13)
- That there are various creeds to be upheld: i.e., Apostles, Daily Declarations, etc.
- That there are Ten Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Holy Church:
- That the Holy Spirit is received through the Mystery of Holy Chrismation when anointed with Holy Myron. (1 John 2:20,27)
- That our sins are forgiven by God through Confession of Sins to Yeshua the Messiah and privately to the priest. (Matthew 18:18)
- That in the Holy Eucharist there is the Real Presence of our Lord’s Body and Blood. (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10:16)
- The elements of bread and wine become intermingled with the presence of the Body and Blood of Messiah after Calling on the Holy Spirit (generally referred to as the Epiclesis). (John 6:22-69)
- That the sick and dying should be administered Holy Unction. (James 5:14-15)
- That the bonds of marriage may be dissolved and divorce granted for adultery (Matthew 5:32, 19:9, Mark 10:11, Luke 16:18), for apostasy (1 Corinthians 7:15), and for other serious offenses approved by the Holy Synod in accordance with Canon and Tradition of the Church. That there must be monogamy in true marriage, and polygamy must be rejected as sinful.
- That called and qualified persons should be ordained to the Sacred Orders of the Episcopacy. (1 Timothy 3)
- That it is good and wise to have altars erected in all churches and chapels for the Holy Qurbana and for raising incense to the Throne of God (Hebrews 13:15, Malachi 1:11); that it is appropriate to adorn our churches with icons and that icons may be used to give a heavenly appearance. Furthermore, we believe it is proper to honor icons, i.e., the lighting of candles in front of icons, and the incensing of them. One example of this is found in the Tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant. Icons (or statues) are symbolic representations of those who lived Godly lives here on earth. Icons are never to be worshiped, rather they should be viewed as “windows to heaven.” Divine worship is reserved only for God Almighty. (Exodus 25:1-40; Leviticus 16:12-13; Psalm 141:2; Daniel 3:5-8; Exodus 34:14)
- That Miriam (Mary), the Mother of Messiah, shall be called Blessed as she is the bearer of our Lord and makes intercession for us. (Luke 1:39-55; 15:10; Luke 20:36)
- That faith without good works is dead. (James 2:18-20)
- That Tradition is a viable source of our teachings and that The Church has its own Rites. Each local body of believers shall respect the culture and rites of other bodies of believers within the One Holy Church provided that such culture and rites are not outside the Apostolic Dogma of the Church as seen within the Three Pillars of the Holy Faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:6,7; Jude 3)
- That the Catholicos Patriarch is the true successor of the Ecclesiastical Chair of Apostle Mar Ya’aqub ha’Tzadik (Saint James the Righteous) and other Apostles and has primary earthly authority in all matters, in agreement with the Three Pillars of the Faith (Scripture, Tradition, Revelation), pertaining to the life of the Assembly and its membership. That the primacy and authority of the Patriarch must be honored and obeyed by each member of the various Spiritual Communities, for the Patriarch and the appointed clerics in communion with Him are given Messiah’s authority to make visible decisions on earth that will be ratified in heaven; that complaints can not be brought against the Patriarch to anyone outside the Assembly of Jerusalem; that every case that cannot be settled in his presence must await the judgment of Messiah and on no grounds whatever one can think or say that the Patriarch can be judged by those who are below him, or by any community outside of the Assembly of Jerusalem – he himself must be the judge of all those beneath him, being a human servant of the Lord he is not infallible, but can be judged only by Messiah who has chosen him, elevated him and placed him at the head of His Assembly on earth in conjunction with the Sanhedrin. Furthermore, we believe that the spirit of Yeshua the Messiah is within the Patriarch and that the Patriarch is the physical manifestation of the Divine Presence and embodiment of the love of God and as such He must be honored above all men. (Matthew 16:19; 18:18; Luke 10:16; Acts 5:12,13)
- That heresies and beliefs against the original teachings of the Holy Church, and cultic religions, are of the devil and liable to be punished by Church law and to be rejected as sinful. That the errors and heresies of atheism are of the devil and liable to be punished by Church law, and that God is the Father and Creator of the Universe and that Yeshua is the Son of God and our Lord and Messiah. (Genesis 1:1; John 1:18; Hebrews 1:5; John 20:24-31; Acts 19:18-20; 1 Corinthians 5:3-13)
- That the Peshitta (the Old and New Testaments, including the Apocrypha in Aramaic) is in fact the inspired work of God, the Infallible Word. (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16)
- That all healing comes from God, and that it is our duty to care for the complete healing and wellness of the physically and spiritually ill in order for the individual to return to a state of wholeness in their service to God. That every human creature from the time of conception is of God, made in His image and likeness, a precious soul, and that unjust termination of such life by man is sinful. (John 4:46-54; Genesis 20:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Acts 17:28,29; Exodus 20:13)
- That the government of the Church and the government of the secular state are seen as two distinct functions so that we may give proper glorification to God. That the Church is of God, here for God, and shall always be subject to Almighty God. That those within the Church must obey God when the state errs against the Commandments. (Matthew 22:16-22; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29)
1) Baptism (Born of Water),
2) Holy Chrismation (Born of the Spirit),
3) Holy Eucharist (Consumption of the Lord’s Body and Blood),
4) Penance (Confession of Sins, Restoring a Brother),
5) Holy Priesthood (Ordination, Ministry),
6) Holy Matrimony (Marriage),
7) Holy Unction of the Sick (Prayer and anointing of the ill),
8) Devotion to the Word of God (Holy Scriptures, The Ten Commandments)
9) Holy Leaven of Qurbana (Apostolic Dogma), and
10) The Sign of the Cross (Preaching Messiah Crucified).
The Sacraments were instituted by Our Lord as a means of obtaining Grace. Holding to, perpetuating and celebrating these Sacraments is a manifestation of the saving Grace that is within us. All of Life in Messiah is a Sacramental Mystery. All Sacramental Mysteries are outward visible actions with corresponding inward and unseen actions of God’s Holy Spirit of Grace. The Sacraments of Ministry, the Holy Cross and Holy Scriptures are outward expressions of an inward act of Divine Grace. Observance of Holy Sabbath falls under the Sacramental Mysteries numbers eight and nine – Apostolic Dogma and Devotion to the Word of God.
Penance is the behavior resulting from the inner workings of Holy Spirit in the life of a stumbling Believer. The one who falls is convicted of his sin by Holy Spirit and moved thereby to repent, make restitution (fruit of repentance) and seek the reconciliation of Holy Church. The priest declares the application of the Atonement’s Blood upon the repentant Brother and declares the Forgiveness of God and His Church because of this Atonement. It is not the priest who absolves the penitent brother, but God in Messiah through His servant the priest. Priests are but a vessel of God’s Mercy, not the source or possessor of it. This is the nature of the Sacramental mystery of Reconciliation (Penance).
Obligation of the Clergy
Since the hierarchs are under severe obligation to guard and protect these Sacred Articles of the Holy Church, we ought by all means to maintain in its integrity and understanding among the peoples, therefore the Holy Synod declares that the Sacred Articles of Faith should be present in all churches and homes and all places that are used as gatherings of the faithful. The Holy Synod or an Officer of the same such as a Bishop shall always make available the Sacred Articles of the Assembly of Jerusalem to all the churches, homes and gathering places of the faithful.
Obligation of the Membership
We are determined by the help of God to hold and maintain the Doctrine, Sacraments, and Discipline of Messiah as the Lord has commanded in His Holy Word, and as the Apostolic See has received and set forth the same in the above Sacred Articles of Faith; and the Encyclicals and Communiqués of His Holiness the Catholicos Patriarch and the Holy Synod; and to transmit the same unimpaired to all members within the Canonical Territory of the Patriarchate as well as to potential new members as a condition of their enrollment as members in true communion and all those opposed are not to be considered as members in true communion with the Patriarchate.
If any one within this Blessed Jurisdiction at all shall not observe and embrace the Decrees, the Teachings of the Church, and the Sacred Articles of Faith, and teach and preach in accordance therewith, but shall attempt to set himself in opposition thereto, let that one be set outside the Assembly of Jerusalem, according to the decree already promulgated by the holy and blessed Patriarchs, and let him be cast out and stricken off as an alien from the number of those who hold to the True Faith. For Our Sacred Articles add nothing to the things previously defined, nor do they take anything away, nor do We attempt to assert such power.
Regulation on Revisions
This document can not be modified without participation of a majority of the Patriarchal Committee and the Bishops’ Council when necessary and shall never be modified without the presence of the Catholicos Patriarch in consultation with the Holy Synod and the Beit Knushta. Minor corrections to the text shall be made by the Catholicos Patriarch immediately without the necessity of a Synodical vote.
Now, therefore, deeply aware of our duty to God and all who love and believe in the Faith of our Fathers, let us strive to love God and our neighbor with our whole mind, our whole body, and our whole spirit. May Mar-Yah God strengthen unto ages, by the grace and merits of the First Great and Supreme Pastor, Messiah our God, the Assembly of Jerusalem and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, so fortunately organized, may He raise and increase everything in It to the glory of His Name, for the benefit of Its pious flock and for the joy of all the Spiritual Communities within the Assembly of Jerusalem. Amen!
We do hereby declare and put this document forth from Our Cathedra on this 13th day of January in the year of Our Lord, 2004 in this Our Holy City of Mishqana.
Clarifications to the text were made on 8 April 2015 by vote of the Sanhedrin.