Welcome to the OCANA
The Orthodox Catholic Archdiocese of North America
Western Rite Archdiocese of North America.
West Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Western Rite Archdiocese of North America. Theocana is under the jurisdiction of the West Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. We are Orthodox Catholic Christians under the apostolic succession of the Patriarch of West Syriac Orthodox Catholic Church. We are an outgrowth of the ancient one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Along with all Catholic Christians, we ARE the Church. Our clergy are validly ordained bishops, priests, and deacons in the Apostolic Succession, and are recognized as such. We are fully Catholic, fully Apostolic and we pray for and look forward to the time when once more the unity Jesus prayed in John 17:21 will come to exist among all believers in him. We wait patiently for that unity (without uniformity) enjoyed by the early Church in Apostolic times. Though incorporated as a church, we are not just another denomination; we are a post-Concilia fellowship. Our churches practice unconditional love towards the outcast and marginalized as practices by Our Lord Jesus. Theocana includes traditionalist parishes and progressive parishes. You can walk into one of our parishes and hear the Tridentine Mass in Latin, with the priest and congregation facing the altar and communicants receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.
In another the Novus Ordo Mass will be indistinguishable from what you will experience in most Roman Catholic parishes. In still another you will find a commissioned lay leader or ordained deacon and his congregation gathered around the altar at an intimate fellowship rich in inclusive language. What binds us together is a rich Orthodox Catholic faith, a dedication to follow Jesus in all things, a love of the Eucharist as the central point of our Christian Life, a commitment to serve the lost and the outcast, and that unique spirituality we call “Catholic.” Theocana as a Church can enter into ecumenical relationship with other Orhdox churches or denominations. We embrace Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, independent Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Anglican Catholics, and Protestant Catholics. We do not seek to take Christians away from the churches they now attend. We seek rather to minister to the millions of alienated or excommunicated souls who no longer go to Mass or Communion, for whatever reason. We offer to them God’s unconditional love, acceptance, and admit them to Sacraments. We believe Communion is a prerequisite for holiness. We are very ecumenical in worship but fundamental in faith
A History of the Orthodox Church
The history of the Orthodox Church actually begins in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, with the Descent of the Holy Spirit: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4)
The Orthodox Catechism
What is the meaning of the word Catechism?
An Orthodox Catechism is an instruction in the orthodox Christian faith, to be taught to every Christian, to enable him to please God and save his own soul. It is a Greek word, signifying instruction, or oral teaching, and has been used ever since the Apostles’ times to denote that primary instruction in the orthodox faith which is needful for every Christian. Luke i. 4; Acts xviii. 25.
What is necessary to please God?
and to save one’s own soul?
In the first place, a knowledge of the true God, and a right faith in him; in the second place, a life according to faith, and good works. Why is faith necessary in the first place? Because, as the Word of God testifies, Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi. 6. Why must a life according to faith, and good works, be inseparable from this faith? Because, as the Word of God testifies, Faith without works is dead James ii. 20. What is faith? According to the definition of St. Paul, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. xi. 1); that is, a trust in the unseen as though it were seen, in that which is hoped and waited for as if it were present.
The First Community of Christians
This first community of Christians, headed by St. James, the Brother of the Lord the first Bishop of the city was later scattered by the persecutions which followed the stoning of the first martyr of the Christian Church, St. Stephen: And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles (Acts 8:1).
The Apostle’s Exploits
At the same time, faithful to the Lord’s command to go…and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), the Apostles went out and preached wherever they went, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, so that in a surprisingly short time, Christian communities had sprung up in all the main centers of the Roman world and beyond. Their exploits are recorded in the Acts, as well in the inner tradition of the Orthodox Church. After these humble beginnings, Christianity spread far and wide throughout the known world, but the Good News of Christ aroused intense opposition, and the first three centuries of the Church were characterized by sporadic, but bloody, persecutions. Church tradition is full of the lives of these early martyrs for the faith, and one cannot but admire the courage and perseverance of these heroes who willingly gave up their lives rather than denounce Christ.
Why is faith, and not knowledge only?
Knowledge has for its object things visible and comprehensible; faith, things which are invisible, and even incomprehensible. Knowledge is founded on experience, on examination of its object; but faith on belief of testimony to truth. Knowledge belongs properly to the intellect, although it may also act on the heart; faith belongs principally to the heart, although it is imparted through the intellect. Why is faith, and not knowledge only, necessary in religious instruction? Because the chief object of this instruction is God invisible and incomprehensible, and the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery; consequently, many parts of this learning can not be embraced by knowledge, but may be received by faith. Faith, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, is the eye which enlighteneth every man’s conscience; it giveth man knowledge. For, as the prophet says, If ye will not believe, ye shall not understand. Isa. vii. 9; Cyr. Cat. v.