On the one hand, the Orthodox Church is is the oldest church in Christendom. On the other hand it is new to most people in America.
It is the second largest body of Christendom with 300 million people worldwide. But in the U.S. and Canada there are less than two million.
While many Protestant denominations struggle to replace members who exit, Orthodox Churches in America have grown by nearly 18% in recent years.
The Orthodox Church is the remnant of the original, undivided Christian Church. The church was founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and is described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles.
Incredible as it seems, for over twenty centuries she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ.
Many of us are surprised to learn that for the first 1,000 years of Christian history there was just one Church. It was in the eleventh century that a disastrous split occurred between Orthodox East and Latin West. Although it had been brewing for for years, the so-called “Great Schism” of 1054 represented a formal – and shocking – separation between Rome and Orthodoxy. At the core of the controversy were two vitally important areas of disagreement: the role of the papacy, and the manner in which doctrine is to be interpreted.
Following the Great Schism, the Western Church has seen repeated schisms, beginning with the Protestant Reformation. By contrast, Eastern Orthodox Church have remained united in faith, through a loose “federation” of Churches, with the Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul) as its spokesman to the world.
For more information on the Orthodox Church stop by the outreach booth at the festival or call Father Alexander Leong at (808) 521-7220