"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, 2000 years ago."
How old is the Orthodox Church? Where did it come from?
As long as there have been Christians, there has been the Orthodox Church.
We trace our origins to the tiny communities of believers who gathered together in the years after Our Lord's crucifixion and resurrection. Very early on these communities were led by a bishop and served by presbyters and deacons in worship that included material from the Psalms, the Old Testament, and the developing Eucharistic Prayer.
During the second and third centuries AD the Christian world enlarged. The bishops (Patriarchs) of the leading cities of the Empire, (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem) guided the Church through difficult struggles for unity in faith and practice.
By the 4th century AD the Church had overseen the shaping of the Bible into its modern form, and the basic statement of Christian faith in the Nicene Creed. Worshipers throughout the Roman world were using early versions of the services we Orthodox use today.
Tragically, this early unity could not overcome the growing barriers of language and distance. By AD 1054, centuries of mistrust and miscommunication led the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople to formally break off ties with one another.
The Latin speaking west became the Roman Catholic Church, and has undergone a millenium of growth and sweeping change: the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the rise of a multiplicity of Protestant churches, the modernizations of the Vatican Councils.
Meanwhile the eastern, Orthodox churches have held fast to the shared, pre-denominational heritage of Christianity's first thousand years. We still worship with the same liturgies, still hold the same doctrines, still read the same Bible, and still have the same hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons as we have for roughly 1500 years.
We invite you to come and see!
Available on the Orthodox Church in America website:
+ The Orthodox Faith by Fr. Thomas Hopko, the full text with volumes on Doctrine and Scripture, Worship, Church History, and Spirituality.
+ Questions and Answers about Orthodoxy: a wide-ranging compilation of readers' questions with answers by Fr John Matusiak.
+ Common Prayers and Recommended Readings.
Also of interest are several series of essays on Fr. Ted's Blog
(also available in PDF):
These four essays explore an Orthodox approach to studying Scripture:
+ Reading and Interpreting Scriptures
+ The Scriptures Bear Witness to the Word of God
+ The Relationship of God to Life and Death
+ Hermeneutics and Typology
+ Prayer "Prayer has everything to do with God's will and our ability to accomplish it."
+ List of Blog Series available in PDF
Podcasts by Fr. Thomas Hopko
+ Worship in Spirit and Truth Section by section commentary on the Divine Liturgy. (84 parts)
+ Names of Jesus Reflections on each of the Names of Jesus in the Scriptures. (55 parts)
+ Speaking the Truth in Love Reflections on a wide range of Orthodox topics. (281 parts)
+ The First Three Days of Holy Week
+ The Paschal Season
+ Darwin and Christianity
+ Orthodoxy and Rome
Video of our late, beloved Archbishop Job (+2009) chanting the 15th Antiphon from the Holy Friday Matins service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. Orthodox Holy Week in all its simplicity and power.