What is Orthodox Christianity?

A Brief Introduction:

So many questions come to mind when one looks at Orthodoxy. What is the Orthodox Church? Where did it come from? Is it old, or is it new? Is it Christian, or Jewish, or is it Catholic? What is it?

To put it simply Orthodox Christianity is “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)

The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church started by Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles some 2000 years ago. For 2000 years the Orthodox Church has maintained and preserved that Faith: its Beliefs, Practices, Sacraments, Doctrines, Worship, Prayers, Creeds, Writings, and Scriptures. All that was given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ has been kept.

All the proof you could want or need is there; one only has to look.

We all desire to have real and right faith, the Faith given by Christ and expounded by His Holy Apostles. The Faith – found in the Church from the beginning and in the Sacred Scriptures and this Faith has been preserved in Christ’s Holy Church by the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostles taught this Faith and trained other men for ministry in the Church – so these disciples of the Disciples continued the work of the ministry by word and by letter as they expounded and imparted this Faith to another generation. They taught and interpreted the Scriptures and the life in Christ and their writings exist today. They are part of the life of the Orthodox Church, believing what the early Christians believed.

Orthodox Christianity is the ancient Faith in a modern world. It is the continuation of the Body of Christ unbroken and undefeated for some 2000 years.

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History

Some important facts in history:

The original Christian Church started by Christ and His Apostles must still exist today in reality because the Lord Himself said that He would build His Church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. (Mt. 16:18)

Orthodox Christianity can trace its lineage all the way back through time to the beginning- to Christ! How? Through it’s Apostolic Succession, Priesthood, Sacraments, Doctrine, Practice, Scriptures, Writings of the Fathers, Councils, Creeds, Hymns, and the Lives of the Saints (who have gone before us leaving an example). All of this makes up the Holy and Blessed Tradition of the Faith once for all delivered to the saints that has always been believed and held to in the Church.  Again, this simply is historic fact.

No other “church” can make these claims. Let’s look at some of the facts of history.

Who started your “church”?

For instance if you are Roman Catholic your “church” was founded in the year 1054 by Leo IX Bishop of Rome when he left the Church in schism.

  • If you are:
  • Lutheran-1517 Germany by Martin Luther.
  • Presbyterian-1560 Scotland by John Knox
  • Baptist-1609 Amsterdam by John Smyth
  • Methodist-18 century England/America by John & Charles Wesley
  • Church of Christ-1832 Kentucky by Stone & Campbell
  • Messianic Judaism – 1960’s
  • Non-Denominational-All within the last 100 years by various men

All of the Protestant groups have their roots in and stem from the Roman Catholic faith.  These facts are documented and available for all to see.  Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ said “count the cost” if you would follow Him (see Luke 14:26-33).

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One writer compared Orthodoxy to the faith of Rome and Protestantism in this way:  Orthodoxy has maintained the New Testament Tradition, whereas Rome has often added to it and Protestantism has subtracted from it.

For instance, Rome added to the ancient to the ancient Creed of the Church, while most Protestants rarely if ever study or recite it.  Rome has layers of ecclesiastical authority; most of Protestantism is anti-hierarchical and/or independent in polity.  Rome introduced indulgences and purgatory; in reaction, Protestantism shies away from good works and discipline.  In these and many other matters, the Orthodox Church has steadfastly maintained the Apostolic Faith.  She has avoided the excesses of papal rule and of congregational independence.  She understands the clergy as servants of Christ and His people and not as a special privileged class.  She has preserved the Apostolic Faith unaltered for 2000 years.

If you were a Christian in the first 1000 years of the Church you believed what the Orthodox believe today. Christianity was not a multiple choice question as it is (or as it appears) today.

Orthodox Christianity has continued its original beliefs, Doctrine, Worship, Prayers, Creeds, Councils, Sacraments, life, and practices because it is the Faith once for all delivered to the saints!

At first you will have many more questions than answers, but, this is 2000 years of history and life. Take some time to look and see. If you have questions please ask- and be assured God has not left us without answers.

Or if you prefer, “come and see…” (John 1:46)

“Wherefore, brethren, let us plant ourselves upon the rock of faith and the Tradition of the Church, removing not the landmarks set by the Holy Fathers, not giving room to those who are anxious to introduce novelties and to undermine the structure of God’s holy, ecumenical, and Apostolic Church.  For if everyone were allowed a free hand, little by little the entire Body of the Church would be destroyed.”  +St. John of Damascus

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So then this is true devotion, not to doubt the God-bearing Fathers.”

+St Gregory Palamas

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