The Orthodox Religion
See Also: Christianity
The Orthodox Church today has approximately 260 million people. The Orthodox Church has similar beliefs to other Christian Churches, such as Catholicism and Protestantism. The reason for this is because the Protestant and Orthodox Churches were formed (separately) when disagreements arose among the members and they split off and formed new religions based on their differing beliefs. The word Orthodox is derived from the Greek words “orthos” (right) and “doxa” (belief). Together they reveal the verbiage “right belief”.
The Orthodox Church, has many similarities to other Christian Churches in that they believe that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, down in human form and that he was crucified, died and rose again from the dead. They also have the similar belief that the Holy Spirit guides the church through its members and priests and bishops. However, each Orthodox Church has a geographical title which reflects the beliefs of that specific culture.
The Orthodox Church also uses the same Bible that is used by most Western Churches, except that it’s Old Testament is based on the ancient Jewish translation into Greek vs the Hebrew translation, which is the basis of most other Western Christian Churches.
While other Christian Churches pray daily and have times of fasting, the Orthodox Church believes very strongly in a life of fasting and prayer. They believe that the discipline necessary for fasting helps to train the body to concentrate fully on prayer.
The Orthodox Church also believes in most of the same seven sacraments as other Western Churches:
- Baptism (with Chrismation)
- Eucharist (First Holy Communion)
- Reconciliation (Penance)
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the sick
The difference is that Chrismation (the anointing with holy oil immediately following Baptism) is not considered a separate sacrament but rather a part of Baptism. Other Christian Churches have an additional sacrament known as Confirmation.
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7, which is 13 days after other Christians. This is because several Orthodox Churches abandoned the original Julian Calendar and adopted a New Calendar known as the New Gregorian Calendar. Many Orthodox Churches today uses a combination of both calendars-the New Gregorian Calendar for fixed feasts and holy days, but the Julian Calendar for Easter and moveable feasts.
Editor: Kimberly Smith