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The Orthodox Church: History & Structure The History of the Orthodox Church The Church was incarnated by the Holy Spirit when He entered the Apostles on the First Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago, resulting in their going forth to teach and baptize throughout the world. The History of the Orthodox Church During the first decade of the Church, Christianity was largely kept among the Jews and they continued to practice their Judaic traditions – resulting in many of these practices becoming the basis for Christian traditions. The History of the Orthodox Church The primary language of the Roman empire was Greek, thus the Gospels were Written in Greek. Due to the unity and freedom of movement in the roman empire as well as the common language, Christianity spread across the Empire – to Gentiles as well as to Jews. The History of the Orthodox Church The mission ministry of the Apostles, especially St Paul and his followers, resulted in the spread of Christianity throughout the major cities of the Empire by 185 AD and even spreading into parts of Asia. The History of the Orthodox Church † During the first 300 years, the Church suffered terrible persecutions – first by the Jews, then by the Romans † In 312, Constantine embraced Christianity and then founded the New Rome at Byzantium, which was later called Constantinople The History of the Orthodox Church First Ecumenical Council – 325 AD Articulation of Christian doctrine and order, including the Nicene Creed. Seven Ecumenical Councils – last one in 787 AD The History of the Orthodox Church First Major Schism: 453 AD Separation of Assyrian & other non-Chalcedonian Churches ~ Coptic, Ethiopian, and Armenian Apostolic Churches ~ chiefly over the understanding of the person of Christ ~ one vs. two natures ~ The History of the Orthodox Church Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD † imposed the authority of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Western Church † Claimed supremacy of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church everywhere † Catholic applied exclusively to Church of Rome † He claimed people of East were not Christians unless they submit to the authority of the Bishop of Rome The History of the Orthodox Church Great Schism between East and West Unity began to disintegrate after the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787 AD Complete break took place in 1054 AD Since that time the Orthodox Church remains tenaciously conservative, holding to dogma and Holy Tradition The History of the Orthodox Church The Appearance of Islam Beginning with the 7th Century, Islamic Forces attacked & overcame most of the Eastern Church. Only the very northern portion remained free. In the 19th Century the present day Church of Greece emerged from slavery followed by other Balkan Churches. The History of the Church The freeing of the Eastern Church led to its spread to the West …predominately into Western Europe, Australia, & the Americas. These jurisdictions are under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate The History of the Church First Greek Colonists landed in St Augustine in 1768 Saint Photios Shrine is in Honor of these colonists. First Greek Orthodox community was founded in New Orleans in 1864 The History of the Church Jurisdiction of Greek Orthodox parishes of North American † initially under the Ecumenical Patriarchate † transferred to Holy Synod of the Church of Greece in 1908 † returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1922 The History of the Church The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, one of the five original Patriarchates, has hierarchical authority over the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, including granting its Charter, appointing its Archbishop, and approving its regulations. The History of the Church Rapid immigration of Greeks during the late 1800s and early 1900s ~ sixty percent of current parishes in US were founded by 1920 ~ Archdiocese of North & South America was officially established in 1922 The History of the Church Six Archbishops in 80 plus years Archbishop Alexander (1922-1930) Archbishop Athenagoras (1931-1930) Archbishop Michael (1948-1958) Archbishop Iakovos (1959-1996) Archbishop Spyridon (1996-1999) Archbishop Demetrios (from Sept. 18, 1999) The History of the Church Most Recent Significant Change: Major revision of the Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in 2005 The History of the Church Recent Transitions In 1996 The Archdiocese of North & South America was reorganized into The Archdiocese of America and the Metropolitanates of Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Mexico In 2003, the new Charter created 8 Metropolitanates in the US plus the New York Direct Archdiocesan District in 2003 The History of the Church Each Hierarch has authority over his parishes …assigning their priests, approving their facilities, and holding them accountable for achieving their mission. The History of the Church All Parishes Linked through Hierarchical Authority While a majority of America’s original Greek Orthodox parishes were independently initiated by early immigrant families, these parishes along with all other Greek Orthodox parishes are now linked through hierarchical authority to all other Orthodox parishes of the GOAA.
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