The Orthodox Church

History of Orthodoxy

The Orthodox Church is the first Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and 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 two thousand years, 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, resulting in the Western Church, under the Pope, separating itself from the Orthodox Church. The papacy sought to establish itself over all of Christendom, and finally succeeded in the West. But the rest of the Church rejected this innovation, knowing no so-called "universal head" apart from Jesus Christ Himself.

Orthodoxy in America

Contemporary American Orthodoxy is the result of the Russian missionaries to Alaska, but also of the migration of peoples from Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. As a result, it often presents an "ethnic" face to American society.

From its humble beginnings in 1794, when a small group of missionaries landed on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Orthodoxy in America has expanded to comprise a Church of over two million faithful. Numerous Americans from all cultural and religious backgrounds have, particularly in recent decades, joined Orthodoxy as well. Clearly Holy Orthodoxy has something to say to American society.