THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
GETTING TO KNOW THE ORTHODOX AND THE ANCIENT FAITH
Thank you for your interest in the Orthodox Church ….. Ours is the ancient faith of the apostles and is practiced as it was revealed to the Apostles by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ …..
A growing number of people — from many different backgrounds — are discovering the rich traditions and beauty of the Orthodox Church. These rich traditions are founded in the simple yet powerful Faith which traces its teachings right back to that which was given by Christ to the Apostles. The vision of God and His Kingdom, the positive nature of a constant movement toward God and holiness, the awesome beauty and fullness expressed of her worship, the purity of her Christian Faith and her continuity with the past are just some of the many treasures the Orthodox Church has to offer.
So who are the Orthodox Christians? How is the Orthodox Church different from the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches? While this Pamphlet is too short to address doctrinal differences, we hope the following overview will provide you with a first step in understanding who we are and how we are different. We pray you will begin to appreciate the beauty of Orthodoxy and want to continue to learn of the Faith.
Who are the Orthodox Christians in America?
The Orthodox Church in this country owes its origin to the devotion of immigrants from the Middle East (Syria and Lebanon), Greece, Russia, and the Balkans who came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like the first Apostles who preached the Faith, these immigrants brought a precious heritage to this country in Orthodoxy.
Today, the Orthodox Church is not simply a church of immigrants from the Middle East, Greece, Russia, or the Balkans. Rather, the majority of Orthodox Christians in the United States are Americans born and raised in this country. Our Orthodox Church can therefore no longer be viewed as an immigrant Church.
How is the Orthodox Church different from the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches?The Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches trace their roots to the Western Christian tradition. The Orthodox
Church has inherited, embodies and expresses the rich spiritual treasures of Eastern Christianity. You might then ask yourself, what is the difference between Western and Eastern Christian traditions?
The spirit of Christianity, which was nurtured in the East, has a particular favor. This is seen in the Divine Liturgy for example when the Liturgy brings the Heavenly Worship as described in the Book of Revelations to Earth. It was distinct, though not necessarily opposed, to that which developed in the Western portion of the Roman Empire and the subsequent Medieval Kingdoms in Europe. Christianity, as it developed in the West, grew in lands that knew the legal and moral philosophy of Ancient Rome. This is to be contrasted with Eastern Christianity, which developed in lands that knew the Semitic and Greek cultures. This cultural difference resulted in a different perspective and different attitudes.
For example, the West was concerned with the Passion of Christ and the sin of man while the East emphasized the Resurrection of Christ and the deification of man. The Christian West leaned toward a legalistic view of religion while the Christian East advocates a more spiritual theology which focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and God, and our relationship with Him.
For the first thousand years of her history the Church was one — east and west — Five historic Patriarchal centers Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem; Antioch, and Alexandria formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with each other. The two great traditions (Rome of the western Tradition and the other four Patriarchal centers of the Eastern Tradition) were in communion for a thousand years until the Great Schism divided the Church. The Great Schism separated the Roman Catholic Faith as it is known today from the Orthodox Faith of the Churches of the East.
Come Spend a Month of Sundays experiencing the beauty of Orthodox Worship. Our Divine Liturgy begins each week at 10:00 am …. Join us for Fellowship afterwards.