About the Faith

A Brief History of the Orthodox Church

For the first thousand years, Orthodoxy was essentially one church with five Patriarchal centers: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. These Patriarchates formed a cohesive whole, living in full communion & community with one another. Occasionally, heretical disputes would occur and the responses to these were recorded in what is now known as The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Some schismatic groups did depart from the Church at various times, yet her core was unified until the 11th century when the Roman Patriarch separated from the rest, resulting in the Great Schism.

Nearly a thousand years after the Great Schism, the other four Patriarchal Churches have remained in full communion and virtually identical in practice to the Apostolic church inspired by New Testament record. To see the events of The Orthodox Church in chronological order from Pentecost to present day, click on this link to the Timeline of Church History.

What is Catechism?

A catechumen (Greek: κατηχούμενος) is an individual engaged in the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and receiving instruction in the basic doctrines of Christianity before admission to communicant membership in the Church. However, we welcome everyone, including our own members, to grow in knowledge of the Church teachings and traditions.

Where Do I Start?

Here is a quick list of links to suggested podcasts, books, and articles that will help you grow in understanding the foundation of the Orthodox faith:

Helpful Podcasts

  • Introduction to Orthodoxy Classes This online course is designed to introduce the basic concepts of Orthodox theology and practice. It is a perfect course for those seeking to learn more about the Orthodox Church as well as a much needed review of the basic teachings of the faith for those who are Orthodox.
  • Sunday Worship The Sunday Worship Seminar is designed to give people a practical and theological look into the Divine services of the Orthodox Church. In this seminar we focus on the services and prayers that are read during a typical Sunday morning. The series begins with a look at the Entrance Prayers and continues with an exploration of the Prayer of Preparation or Oblation, known also as the Proskomide. After this our seminar examines the service of Matins or Orthoros and then concludes with a detailed review of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Finally, this seminar will enhance not only one’s understanding of this service but will serve to increase the spiritual life of every Christian and their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Books to Start With

    Here are a few books to check out if you are new to the Faith. Saint Spyridon Church has a full lending library and bookstore where you might also find some of these titles:

  • The Orthodox Study Bible, published by Thomas Nelson
  • The Orthodox Church, by Bishop Kallistos Ware, Penguin Books.
  • The Orthodox Way, revised edition by Bishop Kallistos Ware, St. Vladimir?s Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York.
  • Becoming Orthodox: a journey to the Ancient Christian Faith, by Peter Gillquist, Conciliar Press
  • In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, by John Chryssavgis, Wisdom Press.
  • Facing East: A Pilgrim’s journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy, by Frederica Mathewes-Green, Harper, San Francisco.
  • Articles of Interest

  • About the Eucharist – Check out this selection of articles from our Article Library concerning the Eucharist and frequent questions related to this sacrament.
  • What is the Church? – In this article, Father Evan talks about the importance of the Church and her traditions over a solely scripture-based view.
  • Six Questions Concerning Orthodox Christianity, And How to Answer Them From the Bible – an article by the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Outreach and Evangelism that answers common questions of the Orthodox faith.