Orthodox Church

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The '''Orthodox Church''' is the [[Church]] founded by [[Jesus Christ]] and his [[apostles]], begun at the day of [[Pentecost]] with the descent of the [[Holy Spirit]] in the year 33 A.D.  It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the '''Eastern Orthodox Church''' or the '''Greek Orthodox Church'''.  It may also be called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]], the [[Body of Christ]], the [[Bride of Christ]], or simply the Church.
 
The '''Orthodox Church''' is the [[Church]] founded by [[Jesus Christ]] and his [[apostles]], begun at the day of [[Pentecost]] with the descent of the [[Holy Spirit]] in the year 33 A.D.  It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the '''Eastern Orthodox Church''' or the '''Greek Orthodox Church'''.  It may also be called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]], the [[Body of Christ]], the [[Bride of Christ]], or simply the Church.
  
The [[bishop]]s of the Orthodox Church trace unbroken [[Apostolic Succession|succession]] to the very [[apostles]] themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord [[Jesus Christ]].  All the bishops of the Church, no matter their titles, are equal in their [[sacrament]]al office.  The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence.  At an [[ecumenical council]], each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an [[auxiliary bishop]] without a [[diocese]].  Thus, there is no equivalent to the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[papacy]] within the Orthodox Church.
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The [[bishop]]s of the Orthodox Church trace unbroken [[Apostolic Succession|succession]] to the very [[apostles]] themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord [[Jesus Christ]].  All the bishops of the Church, no matter their titles, are equal in their [[sacrament]]al office.  The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence.  At an [[ecumenical council]], each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an [[auxiliary bishop]] without a [[diocese]].  Thus, there is no equivalent to the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[pope|papacy]] within the Orthodox Church.
  
 
As with its [[apostolic succession]], the [[faith]] held by the Church is that which was handed by [[Jesus Christ|Christ]] to the [[apostles]].  Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" ([[Book of Jude|Jude]] 3).  Throughout history, various [[heresy|heresies]] have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes [[dogma|dogmatic]] pronouncements (especially at [[ecumenical councils]]) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of [[heresy]] and calling to repentance those who [[schism|rend asunder]] the Body of Christ.  Its primary statement of faith is the [[Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed]].
 
As with its [[apostolic succession]], the [[faith]] held by the Church is that which was handed by [[Jesus Christ|Christ]] to the [[apostles]].  Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" ([[Book of Jude|Jude]] 3).  Throughout history, various [[heresy|heresies]] have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes [[dogma|dogmatic]] pronouncements (especially at [[ecumenical councils]]) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of [[heresy]] and calling to repentance those who [[schism|rend asunder]] the Body of Christ.  Its primary statement of faith is the [[Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed]].

Revision as of 00:42, April 28, 2006

The Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and his apostles, begun at the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit in the year 33 A.D. It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church. It may also be called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or simply the Church.

The bishops of the Orthodox Church trace unbroken succession to the very apostles themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord Jesus Christ. All the bishops of the Church, no matter their titles, are equal in their sacramental office. The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence. At an ecumenical council, each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an auxiliary bishop without a diocese. Thus, there is no equivalent to the Roman Catholic papacy within the Orthodox Church.

As with its apostolic succession, the faith held by the Church is that which was handed by Christ to the apostles. Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" (Jude 3). Throughout history, various heresies have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes dogmatic pronouncements (especially at ecumenical councils) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of heresy and calling to repentance those who rend asunder the Body of Christ. Its primary statement of faith is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Current Church structure

The Orthodox Church of today consists of fourteen or fifteen autocephalous churches and five autonomous churches, sometimes referred to as jurisdictions. Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their primates confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church. All the Orthodox churches remain in full communion with one another, sharing the same faith and praxis. There have been occasional breaks in communion due to various problems throughout history, but they generally remain brief and not developing into full schism. The Patriarchate of Constantinople is also the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has the status of "first among equals" among the Orthodox Churches.

See: List of autocephalous and autonomous Churches

See also

External links (Overviews of the Orthodox Church)

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