What you’re looking for is here.
Orthodox Christianity is for those who are searching for a faith that embraces mystery, the ancient, and the sacred. It is for those seeking a true relationship with God. For those seeking, Orthodox worship is “an authentic encounter with the divine”.
The Orthodox Faith Is... Deep and transformative Ancient Perpetual Mysterious Constant and unchanging Communal Filled with wonder
Orthodoxy is a timeless and unchanging faith tradition. As we are faced with more and more things outside our control, God offers us something that the world cannot give us – His peace.
Frequently asked questions
Orthodoxy is for those who are searching for the meaningful experience of worship. In Orthodoxy, we practice Christianity in the truest way, with the real presence of Christ, from our Holy Communion to reciting the very same prayers as the first Christians. We believe that in order to really be with God, you have to be to be “immersed in the experience” or to be transformed by the Sacraments–most notably the Eucharist.
No! The Orthodox Church is open to everyone and welcomes every culture, ethnicity, and faith background for worship and to consider membership. The Orthodox Church is even experiencing growth in the United States, as many Americans not raised as Orthodox Christians are finding peace, truth and meaning in Orthodox worship and doctrine.
You can view a directory of the Jurisdictions in the United States here.
Sometimes the Orthodox Christian Church is also called the Eastern Orthodox Church. Names like Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Albanian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, and Romanian Orthodox are all names for the same Church under the same faith. Within these churches, there may be cultural and language differences, but the liturgy remains the same.
If you have never entered an Orthodox Church before or experienced an Orthodox worship service, you might find it strange when you first visit. You will, however, be moved by the transformative power of the Divine Liturgy. That is because you are traveling back in time, and experiencing worship akin to when the Church was young. Orthodox Christianity is about transforming you to be holy, to be one with God.
Early Christian worship was a very sensory experience. Orthodox Christianity maintains these aspects of worship that engage all of your senses – from the incense, to the hymns, chants and bells, to the sprinkling of Holy Water.
In the United States, Sunday services (known as Divine Liturgy) usually last between an hour to an hour and a half.
Yes, services are in various languages. In the United States today, many Orthodox churches hold services partly or entirely in English. Greek was the language of the early Church, and the entire New Testament is written in Greek. Using the Greek language in services connects us to our Christian roots. There are also many Orthodox Christian Churches who still use the language of their ancestors such as Russian, Serbian, Arabic. You do not have to identify with any ethnic or cultural background or know another language in order to attend services or join the Orthodox Christian Church.
Orthodox Christianity is old, but it’s far from out of touch. In fact, its “oldness” is exactly what makes it the most “in touch” form of worship in the Christian faith. It is going back to when the Church was young.
Orthodoxy isn’t about innovation; it’s about perpetuation. Christ’s words don’t change with the time, and we believe the traditions of the earliest church shouldn’t either. Orthodox Christian churches have active members of all ages, including from teens and college students to new parents and young professionals, who are passionate about their faith and eager to welcome new friends and members.
In our world full of restlessness and busyness, many people find that the unchanging Liturgy brings a sense of peace and calm. They also find that different parts of the Liturgy speak to them, depending on what they are experiencing in their lives that day. It allows us to see the timeless word of God from different perspectives. The petitions offered are timeless and the chanting moves one to a higher level of spirituality.
Orthodox worship is God centered, not self-centered. Orthodox Christians believe that we participate in heavenly worship in a mystical manner, and that being in church helps us to reconnect with God.
For Orthodoxy, the Church is the center of the universe, and the Eucharist the central sacrament of the Church. Thus, liturgy encompasses the heart of Orthodoxy. It is not just calming; it is transformational—the reincarnation of Eden.
There is historical evidence that the ancient church used icons. Many people of the early church were illiterate, and icons were a way to teach about Christ.
There is a difference between worshiping an icon and venerating/honoring an icon. In Orthodoxy, one may not worship an icon — that would be a grave sin. But we can venerate the persons to whom the icons point – Jesus, Mary and the saints. Icons are meant to elicit an emotional response from us, to raise both our minds and our hearts to a divine level. They are windows into the heavenly presence of those before us who lived a life in Christ.
“In a very real sense, every church is filled with icons — because every church is filled with people who bear the image and likeness of God and, therefore, are icons of Christ. Icons are windows into another world — windows through which we can glance, as it were, at those who have gone on before.” – Hank Hanegraaff, bestselling author and president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI).
|The beginnings of Orthodox Christianity are chronicled in the New Testament:
The layout of Orthodox churches, the pattern of worship, the words of the prayers, the holy images, the use of incense, the vestments of the priests – these are all chronicled in the Bible.
The Orthodox Christian Network is an affiliated ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. It was originally recognized by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) to create a sustainable and effective media witness for Orthodox Christians throughout North America. It is now an affiliated ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Christian Bishops in America. OCN is a 100% donor-supported ministry and is not financially supported by any one Archdiocese, organization or jurisdiction.