AN ANCIENT FAITH, A LIVING TRADITION
The Orthodox Church has maintained a continuous and organic presence in the world since the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Lord's Resurrection.
We learn from St. Ignatius of Antioch (around 110 AD) that the sacramental life of the Church was in place from the beginning as was the role of the Bishop.
Orthodoxy never experienced a Reformation or Counter-Reformation, though a tragic split occurred in the 4th and 5th centuries between the Greek speaking Orthodox and the Coptic (Egyptian) and Syrian speaking members of the Church. This was partly political and partly linguistic, though the split came to involve some very serious theological issues. The Western Church (Rome and, later, the Protestants) differed with the Orthodox over the role of the pope and the procession of the Holy Spirit (the "filioque" controversy). Many Protestants also rejected the sacramental life of the Church, as well.
While most main line Orthodox believe that there are still links of love and faith between us and our separated brothers and sisters, we acknowledge that the Church is one and indivisible. Thus, we believe that Orthodoxy is the full and true expression of the Christian faith.
This does not mean that the only way of worshipping is according to the rites we have received from the Byzantine Empire. Certainly there are western forms of worship that are equally valid. What it does mean is that we must hold a common Faith first and foremost. Orthodox cannot remain indifferent to fundamental differences in belief as to how God, the Most Holy Trinity, reveals Himself to us in the mysteries (sacraments), the Creed, the Holy Scriptures, and the undying tradition of the faith.
Orthodoxy means: right belief or, better yet, "right glory"--- meaning the right glorification of God in worship and action.
There are many fine books about our faith and many resources available on line. As this web sit matures, we will post sites and links that may be of special interest.
Above all else, Christianity is a faith that puts love first. Those who love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ with His Father and the Holy Spirit are Christians. If we begin with that assertion, then we may have a fruitful dialog with those who may not believe as we do in other areas.
True communion, however, must wait until we are of one mind in Christ in every way touching on our salvation.