Defining the Orthodox Christian Church

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What is the Orthodox Christian Church? — George P.

Multitudes of names for many differing Christian groups is a relatively recent development within Christianity. The ancient church was one community and thus needed one name — Christian. That one group exists today. The ancient church was founded by Christ and His Apostles and was established on Pentecost by the Holy Spirit. The ancient Christians received a lifestyle from Christ, not merely a new moral code; they believed particular things about God and their relationship with Him.
Strange, new doctrines have risen in every century since the beginning. However, in the 4th Century, to distinguish themselves from innovative groups, that original church began calling themselves “Orthodox,” literally meaning, Christians of “right belief.”
In unbroken continuity, beginning with the Apostles to this day, they passed from person to person this “Orthodox” doctrine and ancient Christian lifestyle. They added and subtracted nothing. When the Roman emperors legalized Christianity, “Orthodoxy” flourished. The Orthodoxy Church has endured unchanged through the ages and has come to America — even to Los Alamos.
Located largely in the East, Orthodoxy has remained unknown in the West. It has been equally unaffected by Western movements.
The Enlightenment, the Reformation, Scholasticism, western philosophies like Secular Humanism and Western Christian trends of the later 16th Century to the present, have had little influence on Orthodoxy.
The Orthodox Church of today is the church of Pentecost. Enlivened and guided by the Holy Spirit, it is the direct descendant of the most ancient Christian communities.
Orthodoxy claims the unaltered Christian faith and experience. The Orthodox Church believes itself to be the Ancient Christian Church.

Fr. John is pastor of St. Dimitri Orthodox Church in Los Alamos and invites the public to attend his church. For more information, visit www.stdimitri.org. Send questions for this column to monkjohn@gmail.com.