The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of a communion of autocephalous, (ecclesiastically independent) Christian faith groups which:
It consists of churches in:
Various estimates of the total number of adherents in Orthodox churches run from 214 million 1 to as high as 300 million. 2
In the U.S., membership estimates range from 1.2 million 3 to over 3 million. 4 In the U.S. and Canada, there are three administrative structures for Orthodox jurisdictions:
The Orthodox Church has an episcopal organizational structure. Consecrated bishops are the chief ecclesiastical officers in each diocese. They, in turn, ordain priests. The church believes in the Apostolic Succession -- that the consecration of its bishops can be traced continuously back to Jesus' apostles.
We do not yet have significant coverage of Orthodox beliefs and practices in this web site. For Orthodox liturgy, prayers, icons, beliefs, news, etc., we refer you to The Orthodox Page in America, 6 the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 7 and other web sites.
The term "Orthodox," when capitalized, usually refers to the group of Orthodox Christian faith groups mentioned above. Other times, particularly when not capitalized, the word "orthodox" can mean normal, authoritative, mainline, or correct. For example, religious essays often refer to "orthodox Christian beliefs" to refer to beliefs held in common by a broad range of Christian faith groups in past centuries.
Orthodox Church is often referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is not strictly true, because not all Orthodox churches are eastern. They refer to their organization as the "Holy Orthodox Church", or the "Orthodox Church of the East", of by the name of the specific church, such as "Greek Orthodox", or "Russian Orthodox."
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Copyright © 2000 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-AUG-30
Latest update: 2011-DEC-05
Author: B.A. Robinson
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