It is vital to come to a proper understanding of the doctrine of Original/Ancestral Sin. If we get this fundamental doctrine wrong it will adversely affect our doctrinal understandings in other areas, including redemption and salvation.
The terms Original Sin (Sin from our Origin) and Ancestral Sin (Sin from our First Ancestors) are synonymous terms and are interchangeable. However, since the contemporary Western understanding of the Fall and of Original Sin has evolved over the past millennium far from the Orthodox understanding, Orthodox Christians tend to prefer the term Ancestral Sin in order to avoid confusion. Still, it is the meaning rather than the vernacular that is most important.
The Orthodox understanding of Ancestral or Original Sin is that we inherit the consequences of the Fall, but not Adam’s Guilt. Abbot Tryphon writes, “The fact that we Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of original sin as espoused in the West, does in no way suggest that we do not need to be born again (born anew). We believe, as did the Early Church Fathers, that we inherit only the results of Adams sin, not his guilt. This is known as ancestral sin because the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, resulted in our inheritance of death, sickness and an inclination toward evil” (Ancestral Sin; The Morning Offering, February 22, 2017).
Fr. Matthew Joyner made an excellent presentation on Original/Ancestral Sin at the ROCOR Western Rite Conference held in October of 2017. Fr. Matthew was a church-planter in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) prior to entering the Orthodox Church and becoming an Orthodox priest. You can listen to his presentation courtesy of Western Rite Radio. Here is the link:
By Fr. Victor Novak