Do Orthodox theologians know about the Jewish Feast of Atonement,when the high priest would sacrifice victims in expiation of the sins of the people?
What do you make of those thousands of Jewish sacrifices of atonement of sin? Is it not Roman Catholic teaching that even the least serious of sins is an offence against the infinite majesty and justice of God and therefore no finite human being has the power to make any atonement acceptable to Him?
The Church does not teach that we cannot offer anything to God in atonement for our sins. Penance is acceptable to God,because it is an act of humility and pious fear and devotion. What we cannot do is make sacrifices that will take away the stain of original sin and merit eternal life.
God prescribed sacrifices for sin in the Mosaic Law,and he accepted them if they were done with sincere repentance.
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, 10 passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes 11 can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit 12 offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
13 For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.
14 Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established.
For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive.
Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
15 When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves (and goats), together with water and crimson wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, "This is 'the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.'"
In the same way, he sprinkled also the tabernacle 16 and all the vessels of worship with blood.
17 According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
18 Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these.
For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages 19 to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment,
so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, 20 will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.