Introduction to Orthodox Christianity

Orthodoxy is that form of Christianity which gives right glory or right worship to God the Holy Trinity. Orthodoxy is the Christian Church, in succession to the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Priests of the Old Testament, which was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ when He Ordained His Apostles and sent the Holy Spirit upon the faithful gathered in Jerusalem at Pentecost.    

The followers of the Way were first called Christians at Antioch; and the Christians were first called Catholics in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch in about the year AD 98. The Orthodox are the original Christians, the first Catholics, the Church of the Apostles, and the Community of the New Testament.    

The Western Churches, including that of Rome, were part of the unity of Orthodoxy through the whole of the first 1,000 years. Rome only separated from the unity of the church by making extraordinary claims for the earthly powers of her patriarch (Pope) at the beginning of the 11th century and completed the break with the Orthodox by the 13th century. The usual date of the great schism is given as AD 1054.    

The ancient churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople are all Orthodox. About 250 million people now living are members of the Orthodox churches around the world with about 5 million in the USA.The Orthodox Church is universal (catholic), has Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Laity, and a rich Monastic life with Communities of Monks and of Nuns in nearly every country. Most Priests and Deacons are married. Bishops are not married because they are elevated from celibate monastic life for the most part.