Eastern Orthodox Churches: The mostly
Eastern liturgical family of Christianity
"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 2,000 years ago." Steven Robinson
The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of a communion of autocephalous, (ecclesiastically independent) Christian faith groups which:
Recognize the four Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem.
Recognize the the Patriarch of Constantinople as first among four equals.
Accept the validity of the first seven Ecumenical Councils.
Regard Orthodoxy as the true Church of Christ on Earth.
It consists of churches in:
Ten countries where Eastern Orthodoxy is the dominant religious body: Bulgaria,
Belarus, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.
A dozen countries where Orthodoxy plays a smaller role: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, China, Czech
Republic, Estonia, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lihuania, Poland and the U.S.
Scattered presence in other countries.
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:
Several North American Orthodox dioceses which report
directly to the headquarters of an Orthodox faith group in another country.
Several North American Orthodox dioceses which
respond to a North American headquarters which reports directly to the
headquarters of an Orthodox faith group in another country.
Several individual parishes coordinated by a diocesan
center in another country. 5
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.
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."
Receive a daily dose of wisdom, humor, inspiration and more.
Beliefnet is a multifaith e-community designed to help you meet your own religious and spiritual needs
-- in an interesting, captivating and engaging way. They are independent and are not affiliated with a particular
religion or spiritual movement.
You can choose from among:
Ten newsletters that deal with "tools for living."
Eight dealing with "religious wisdom" from a variety of faiths.