Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian church in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents, primarily in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It is the religious denomination of the majority of the populations of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Cyprus. It teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles almost 2,000 years ago.

The Orthodox Church is composed of several self-governing ecclesial bodies, each geographically and nationally distinct but theologically unified. Each self-governing (or autocephalous) body, often but not always encompassing a nation, is shepherded by a Holy Synod whose duty, among other things, is to preserve and teach the apostolic and patristic traditions and related church practices. Like the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Assyrian Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy and some other churches, Orthodox bishops trace their lineage back to the apostles through the process of apostolic succession.

The Orthodox Church traces its development back through the Byzantine or Roman empire, to the earliest church established by St. Paul and the Apostles. It practices what it understands to be the original ancient traditions, believing in growth without change. In non-doctrinal matters the church had occasionally shared from local Greek, Slavic and Middle Eastern traditions, among others, in turn shaping the cultural development of these nations.

The goal of Orthodox Christians from baptism is to continually draw themselves nearer to God throughout their lives. This process is called theosis, or deification, and is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person strives to both become more holy through the imitation of Christ and cultivation of the inner life through unceasing prayer (most famously, the Jesus Prayer) or hesychasm, until united at death with the fire of God's love.

The Biblical text used by the Orthodox includes the Greek Septuagint and the New Testament. It includes the seven Deuterocanonical Books which are generally rejected by Protestants and a small number of other books that are in neither Western canon. Orthodox Christians use the term "Anagignoskomena" (a Greek word that means "readable", "worthy of reading") for the ten books that they accept but that are not in the Protestant 39-book Old Testament canon. They regard them as venerable, but on a lesser level than the 39 books of the Hebrew canon. They do, however, use some of them liturgically. Orthodox Christians believe Scripture was revealed by the Holy Spirit to its inspired human authors. The Scriptures are not, however, the source of the traditions associated with the Church but rather the opposite; the biblical text came out of that tradition. It is also not the only important book of the Church. There are literally hundreds of early patristic writings that form part of Church tradition.

Icons can be found adorning the walls of Orthodox churches and hagiographies often cover the inside structure completely. Many Orthodox homes have an area set aside for family prayer, the icon corner, on which icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints are placed typically on an Eastern facing wall.

Read more about Eastern Orthodox ChurchDefinition, Typica, Organization and Leadership, Number of Adherents, Eschatology, The Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), Relations With Other Christians, Interfaith Relations, Church Today

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... The orthodox church in Abkhazia is officially part of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Tskhum-Apkhazeti Eparchy) with Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II as its head ... After the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the autocephalous church of Georgia lost the control and jurisdiction over its property in Abkhazia ... However, all autocephalous churches of the orthodox faith, including the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, recognise Abkhazia as part of the Georgian autocephalous church ...
Arnold Mathew - Life - Autonomy and Independence
... for having consecrated bishops without permission of the Holy See (which permission the Dutch Church was granted freedom from by previous papal bulls) ... Mathew had an excellent knowledge of the Eastern Orthodox Church and established cordial relations between the English Old Catholics and the Patriarchal See of Antioch ... interested in extending the presence of the Eastern Orthodox Church to Western Europe ...
Christian Views On Hell - Eastern Orthodox Concepts of Hell - Basic Orthodox Teachings On Hell
... See also Bosom of Abraham Eastern Orthodox views See also Apocatastasis The theological concept of hell, or eternal damnation, is expressed ... The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that Heaven and Hell are being in God's presence which is being with God and seeing God, and that there no such ... One expression of the Eastern teaching is that hell and heaven are being in God's presence, as this presence is punishment and paradise depending on the person's spiritual state ...
Solidarity (Catholic Theology) - Relations With Other Faiths - Eastern Orthodox Church
... Romania on the invitation from Patriarch Teoctist Arăpaşu of the Romanian Orthodox Church ... This was the first time a Pope had visited a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054 ... Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the Church the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity." On 23 ...

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