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Orthodox Church


See: Christian Timeline
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Orthodox World Church

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in which resides the fullness of Christian truth. It is holy because its head, the Lord Jesus Christ, is holy and has made it the unique vehicle of sanctification; it is Catholic because it knows no limitation of time or place and encompasses within itself the entirety of Christ's Church; and it is Apostolic because it alone has maintained, with unbroken continuity and without any alteration, the faith of the Apostles through the ages. You will find the deeper, authentic spiritual life you are looking for in the splendid and moving worship of the Orthodox Christian Church.

The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is Orthodox, but not Jewish. It is Catholic, but not Roman. It isn't non-denominational - it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost more than 2000 years ago.

The Orthodox Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ and is the living manifestation of His presence in the history of the mankind. The Eastern Orthodox Church (encompassing national Orthodox jurisdictions such as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.—see Eastern Orthodox Church organization) is a body of Christians whose origins extend directly back to Jesus and his Apostles through unbroken Apostolic Succession. Its doctrines were developed through a series of church councils, the most authoritative being the Seven Ecumenical Councils held between the 4th and 8th centuries. These councils were convened out of the necessity to thwart certain heresies that had developed, such as Arianism, Nestorianism, and Monothelitism. Toward the end of its first thousand years of existence differences developed between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire that ultimately led to the Great Schism in 1054 AD, splitting Roman Catholics from the Eastern Orthodox.

The present-day influence of the Orthodox Church encompasses the territories associated with the former Byzantine and Russian empires: Eastern Europe, Asia (Russia/Siberia), and parts of the Middle East and Africa. Today, although Orthodoxy's strongest influence can be seen in Greece, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia, the Orthodox Church has a presence in a great many other countries, with large communities in the USA and Australia.



Orthodox Church Timeline

The Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, begun at the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit in the year 33 A.D. It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church. It may also be called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or simply the Church. The bishops of the Orthodox Church trace unbroken succession to the very Apostles themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord Jesus Christ. All the bishops of the Church, no matter their titles, are equal in their sacramental office. The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence. At an ecumenical council, each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an auxiliary bishop without a diocese. Thus, there is no equivalent to the Roman Catholic papacy within the Orthodox Church. As with its Apostolic succession, the faith held by the Church is that which was handed by Christ to the Apostles. Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" (Jude 3). Throughout history, various heresies have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes dogmatic pronouncements (especially at ecumenical councils) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of heresy and calling to repentance those who rend asunder the Body of Christ. Its primary statement of faith is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

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THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN

The Orthodox Christian belongs to the Body of Christ, the Church of Christ. This Eastern Orthodox Church is organically the same congregation (or ecclesia) which was born at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on Pentecost, a direct continuation from the Apostles by laying on of hands from each generation of priests to the next. The Orthodox Christian recognizes the rich Christian heritage and proclaims that he belongs to this Church, which corresponds to the Church of the Apostles as does a grown-up person correspond to a picture taken of him as a child.

The Orthodox Christian has been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity and follows the ideals and beliefs of both the Scriptures and Sacred Tradition. He believes in a living and loving God, Whose Grace protects and guides him in the path of redemption. He believes that God has revealed Himself in the Bible through the Prophets and especially in the Person of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son who is man's Savior. He especially believes in the Incarnation of Christ as God-Man, in His Crucifixion and Resurrection, in His Gospel and Commandments, and in the world to come.

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