(As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live)
So what does this Latin phrase actually mean? According to Fr Peter Heers, “There is an interconnection and interdependence of faith and life, of dogma and ethos. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi (As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live). To be a Christian, then, cannot but mean to be an orthodox Christian, insomuch as Christ is the Truth, the Way and the Life.” (https://orthodoxethos.com/)
According to Wikipedia, this Christian motto, “…means that prayer and belief are integral to each other and that Liturgy is not distinct from theology. It refers to the relationship between worship and belief. As an ancient Christian principle it provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture, and other doctrinal matters. It is based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the Church’s liturgy. In the Early Church, there was liturgical tradition before there was a common Creed, and before there was an officially sanctioned Biblical Canon. These liturgical traditions provided the theological framework for establishing the creeds and canon.”
The words are a succinct, nearly perfect encapsulation of the whole of the Orthodox Catholic Faith. They name, and tell the relation of, how Orthodox worship God, what Orthodox believe about God, and how Orthodox are morally obligated to conduct their lives according to true worship and true doctrine. Resembling the Holy Trinity, they are three and they are one.
Worship and prayer are the center of our Orthodox life. However, It often happens that the people of God attend Liturgy every Sunday, and yet their daily lives during the week, and sometimes right after they leave the church, are not shaped by what they have done in worship. Sunday Liturgy seems to be segregated in our Orthodox christian life. The cause of the gap that emerges between worship and daily life is because the church does not properly teach that worship or liturgy in its entirety, indeed, it is the window of the kingdom.
The well implementation of Orthodox Christian life in the world is a good expression of identity and mission of the Church; our Orthodox Christian mindset or world-view. Therefore, the Latin maxim that addresses the centrality of worship in the life, identity and mission of the Orthodox Church; “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi” gets its deepest meaning and implication to strengthen the church and to fulfill God‘s mission in the world.
This is the simple and basic teaching that the Orthodox Christian Church has always followed: Lex orandi. Lex credendi. Lex vivendi. Memorize this if you can: Lex orandi. Lex credendi. Lex vivendi. It is translated this way: “As we worship/pray, so we believe, so we live.” It’s one of the fundamental teachings of the Church Fathers. It is the beginning of our Orthodox Christian Phronema, or mindset.
Our prayers are an expression of our belief. Our prayer life forms our belief. If I am being raised in a Church where the prayer of the Church is holy and reverent and sacred and true, then I will believe in those things. And if I believe them, I will live them. The Orthodox church has the fullness of the Faith.
Thus, As we Worship and Pray, so we believe, and so we live.