The '''Orthodox Church''' is the [[Ecclesiology|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]] [[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]] .
== Current Church structure ==
Church of today consists of fourteen or fifteen [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] churches and five [[autonomy|autonomous]] churches, sometimes referred to as [[jurisdiction|jurisdictions]]. Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their [[primate|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 [[Church of Constantinople|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]]'''
* [http://www.arch-ant.bham.ac.uk/staff/cunningham.htm Cunningham, Mary]. ''Faith in the Byzantine World (IVP Histories Series)''. (ISBN 0830823522)
* Chryssavgis, John. ''Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition (Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series)''. (ISBN 1570755485)
* Coniaris, Anthony M. ''Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life''. (ISBN 0937032255)* Constantelos, Demetrios J. ''Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church''. (ISBN 0917653505)
* [[Georges Florovsky|Florovsky, George]]. ''Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View''. (ISBN 0913124028)
'''From a [[Heterodox]] perspective'''