What are the principles or basis for the Christian to be considered as a follower of faith or truly a pious man?
Only God examines the hearts (Chron. 28:9, 29:17; 2 Chron. 6:30, Psalm 7:10, Prov. 21:2, 24:12, Sirach 42:18). We only see the man’s external manifestations and personal confession. Faith must be not only a feeling, but also human’s way of life, and his every deed and act will be done in agreement with the divine will.
St. Gregory the Illuminator, when he was preaching by teaching the principles of Christianity, didn’t establish hard things for converts. Thus also, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostolic Council held in Jerusalem didn’t make difficult conditions for converts from idolatry (15:19-20, 28-29). It means that it is not right to put initially heavy “burden” on the believer and force him to live like a monk or hermit.
Some people occasionally confuse the notions about believers and ascetics thinking that for being faithful it is necessary to refuse many earthly things and even quite acceptable pleasures and always to live as a clergyman.
The example of St. Gregory the Illuminator and Christ’s apostles and their decisions show us that for being a believer, for a follower of Christ it is enough to have a sincere faith and deeds manifested in life which is good, virtuous and done according to God’s will.
The frequency of prayer, deepness of religious feelings, different manifestations of piety should, on a person’s free will and choice must be by advice and guidance of a clergyman or spiritual advisor (it may be the godfather).
A person, who does not attend church regularly, can be considered as a believer?
Previously the life of human society was focused on the Church. Now not only the sects are proselytizing, but also the acts arousing sins or too secularized events and initiatives are weakening a person’s sense of faith. For this reason, it is desirable to visit the church frequently.
Considering the current state of affairs, the Church does not curse people and urge to visit places of prayer regularly. Church attendance will help you not only to strengthen a personal relationship with God and experience the divine presence but also rise above the worldly, everyday troubles, above the materialistic thinking, and ponder on great values, the soul and eternity.
This behavior significantly contributes to establishing the pious, moral, compassionate, patriotic course and it is also beneficial for one’s private and family life.