“A Brief History of the Eastern Orthodox Church”

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(This is the largest Orthodox Church in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally built by PatriarchGregorios VI, in 1867.)

The Eastern Orthodox Church, a branch of Christianity also known as Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodox Christianity, or the Orthodox Church, identifies its roots in the early Church, particularly as it developed within the Greek-speaking eastern branch of the Roman Empire. The Eastern Orthodox Church accepts the first seven Ecumenical Councils (which were held between 325 and 787 C.E.), and regards itself as the True Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church is organized with an episcopal structure including the Four Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem (the Patriarch of Constantinople is the first of equals) and consecrated bishops (whose lineage is believed to be traced back to Jesus’ apostles). Their worship is highly liturgical and extremely iconographic, both of which are central to the Church’s life, history, and practice. Their icons, which include depictions of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, biblical scenes, or saints, are believed to create a sense of the presence of God. Eastern Orthodoxy is strongly doctrinal and places great authority in the Bible, the Creeds (Apostles’ and Nicene), and the seven ecumenical councils. Like all other Christians, Orthodoxy is Trinitarian, believing that God exists in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

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