The eastern or Greek orthodox Church is one of the original Churches of Christianity, which was founded on the Day of the Pentecost in Jerusalem in 33 A. D. Ten days after Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit on the Heads of His Disciples, which according to the description at the Acts of the Apostles, stood like burning tongues. Since that Day the Orthodox Church has kept unbroken the Holy Tradition of the Church given by Jesus Christ and His Disciples. Later he accepted the Decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Synods, which were convened by the Church in order to solve religious, dogmatical questions. The decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Synods are infallible.
Christianity started in the Holy City of Jerusalem in the East and with the ages expanded around the world. During this development, due to different ideology and point of views and politics, the unity of the Church began to split into different denominations. The Holiest Cities for early Christians are considered to be Jerusalem, Damascus, Rome, Alexandria and later when the Eastern Roman Empire was established in Byzantium - Constantinople. Constantinople became the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and became the center of Christianity. The universal language in these first centuries was Greek and the Gospels except St. Matthew were written in Greek.
The first three centuries of Christianity went through severe persecution, but it came out victorious and the truth dominated the universe.
Christianity was first recognized by Emperor Constantine the Great. With the edict of Milan in the IVth Century the persecution of Christians stopped and the Churches from underground (catacombs) appeared on the surface. Many Churches started to be built.
The first nation to officially recognize Christianity was Armenia. The first split of Christianity occurred after the IVth Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon with the Monophysites of Ethiopia, Syria, Chaldeans and Armenians. Later in 1054, due to politics, the Roman Catholic Church split from the Eastern Church by adding the word "filioque" at the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, which was written at the 1st and the 2nd Ecumenical Synods.
In the years to follow other groups split from the Roman Catholics; the Protestants, the Lutheran and the Anglican denominations split and today we have many Christians denominations around the world. Unfortunately, in order to accommodate their passions and modern ideas, many of the denominations have created new teachings and rules which are totally against the Gospel teaching. We as the Orthodox Church pray for the unity of our Christian Brothers in our everyday prayers. Today in the world The Eastern Orthodox Faith is the dominant Church of Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus. There are thousands and millions of faithful who adhere to the Orthodox Faith in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Asia, United States, Canada, Central and South America. The worldwide membership is more than 300 million.
The Orthodox residing in the USA are over 3 million people and in the State of New Jersey the Greek Orthodox faithful comprise 1% of the state's population.
At the center of the life of the Church is the Holy Eucharist, which is the principal celebration of our faith and the means through which we participate in the very life of the Holy Trinity. Learn more»