Many people in America have never heard of Orthodoxy, or if they have what they know either comes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding or the wedding scene in The Deer Hunter, and some think Orthodox Christians are just Greek or Russian Catholics.
Orthodoxy, or the Orthodox Christian Church, is the Church that Christ founded while He was on earth over two thousand years ago. She is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.27), the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19.6-8), and the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2.4-11 and 1 Corinthians 3.16-17). She was founded by Christ and the gates of hell have not overcome her (Matthew 16.18).
For over a thousand years after Christ, the Church was essentially, as the Nicene Creed states, “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” During the first three hundred years, the Church struggled with persecution from the Roman Empire and from within it struggled with various heresies about who Christ is. Once Christianity was made legal in 313 AD, the age of the Ecumenical Councils began. The Seven Ecumenical Councils all dealt with issues surrounding who Jesus Christ is and what is correct belief concerning Him.
It was during this time that five major cities emerged as centers for Church life and support. These five, which became known as the Pentarchy (from the Greek for “five” and “rule” or “principle”), were Rome, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), Alexandria in Egypt, Antioch, and Jerusalem. And even though the Church is from God and is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, it is still made up of human beings. Various sins and dark chapters in history led to the Great Schism of 1054, after which one group called itself the Roman Catholic Church and the other group called itself the Orthodox Church.
From here in history, the Orthodox Church has continued to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28.18-20). As each missionary endeavor is successful, an indigenous Church is created that uses the local language and has indigenous leadership. This is why there is a Greek Orthodox Church, a Russian Orthodox Church, a Romanian Orthodox Church, and amongst other listed here.
The Orthodox Church has preserved the “faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). We experience the fullness of the faith in our relationship with Christ, our worship, our sacraments, our devotions, and in our fellowship with one another.
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