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The Orthodox Church

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,519 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Since its first publication thirty years ago, Timothy Ware's book has become established throughout the English-speaking world as the standard introduction to the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy continues to be a subject of enormous interest among Western Christians and the author believes that an understanding of its standpoint is necessary before the Roman Catholic and Protes ...more
Paperback, New Edition, 359 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1963)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  2,519 ratings  ·  175 reviews

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Pat Ramsey
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most honest history books I've ever read. Ware sugarcoats neither East nor West in his depiction of the historical church. He disarmed much skepticism by giving the good, the bad and the ugly.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Worshipping God nearly every Sunday in a Russian Orthodox church during my year in Kazakhstan introduced me to the deeply complex, yet simply beautiful worship of God that is found in Orthodox Christianity. For those several months, it was enough to be ministered to by the beauty of the liturgy, to grow in understanding of its meaning, and to gain basic understanding of Orthodox history and teaching. For several years thereafter, I’ve longed to deepen my understanding of these last two topics, a ...more
Charles J
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I and my family continue our inevitable pivot toward Orthodoxy, I have been reading more works on, you guessed it, Orthodoxy. This book, by the English theologian Timothy Ware, who as a bishop uses the baptismal name Kallistos, is a classic introduction to Orthodoxy. It was first published in 1963 but has more recently been revised, so it is fully up to date on history—and doctrine has not changed in Orthodoxy since 1963, or 963, for that matter. I’ve actually owned the book for several years ...more
Jacob Aitken
Bishop Ware gives the layman a thorough introduction to the Orthodox Church. He covers the basics of the faith and is sensitive to many outsider objections. He is not neutral and writes with a clear bent towards Orthodoxy, which is understandable and to be expected. The book has two parts: a historical introduction to the Orthodox faith and a systematic exposition of the major themes of Orthodoxy.

Historical Introduction.

Ware traces the rise of the Orthodox faith from the New Testament through
Kathryn Haydon
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, non-fiction
This book left me wanting more--in a good way! The history of the Orthodox Church was fascinating and detailed, the faith and worship section understandably limited to conveying Orthodox theology and practice, and not defending or explaining it in minute terms. For the record, I was raised in a non-denominational Protestant church in Texas and one year ago married an Anglican deacon (soon-to-be priest) who identifies with Orthodoxy perhaps as closely as with Anglicanism. I read this book to broa ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Exactly what I hoped it would be--a thorough introduction to the history and worship of the Eastern Church. Ware's book is eminently readable and engaging, even humorous at times (in a very dry, understated way). Perhaps the best feature, though, is the list of "further reading" near the book's end.

(What a difference 10 years made for me. I first tried reading this fairly dense (yet not overly dry) book in my mid-twenties, when I first began exploring Orthodoxy. I think I read bits o
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If someone asked me, "What is the one book you would recommend to someone wanting to understand Eastern Orthodoxy?" I would answer without thinking The Orthodox Church by Kalistos (Timothy) Ware. I remember reading this book nearly a decade ago, shortly after my conversion to Catholicism. I often wonder if I had read this book before my conversion, if I would have went down a different path and ended up Eastern Orthodox. That's a story for a different day, This book was originally published in t ...more
Emin Kiraz
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very concise book for understandig history and structure of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as its relations with the rest of the Christendom. It is well-structured and easily readable...
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This was a fascinating read about the history and beliefs of the eastern orthodox church. Until recently, I have been sadly in the dark with regards to church history. It was so interesting to learn how the early Christian church was formed, how its doctrine was set down through many councils, and how the Roman Catholic Church eventually split off due to differences over the role of the pope and the origin of the Holy Spirit, in addition to cultural differences and politics. After the schism, th ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This was a re-read for an assignment. It was helpful 10 years ago, when I was unfamiliar with a lot of the history and theology; and it was interesting to read again now that these are all very familiar to me. Met. Ware has an easy style and covers a lot of materials simply and clearly.

The book is divided into two sections, history and theology. The theology section is only about 130 pages, but beautifully presents a concise, Christian theology that is ancient and beautiful, fairly contrasted w
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, religion
So I'm at work talking to a friend who is gay and we comment on the split in the Episcopal church over a gay priest. The conversation turns to the Great Schism between Orthodox and Roman Catholic and neither of us have a clue what caused it, or exactly when it took place.

One of my GR friends is an Orthox priest so I asked him to suggest some books to read. Top on his list is this one by T Ware.

Good both on the history of the Eastern Church and the Doctrine of same. The au
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: orthodoxy
I've only read the first part so far (waiting for someone to catch up with me). It's separated into two parts - History and Worship.
The history section deals with the very beginnings of the church up to the post-communism period, which was an update in this newest addition. This history seems to be very thorough and appropriately biased. My impression was one of sadness, actually. I wasn't prepared to read such a dismal history from an Orthodox person himself. It seems like the church was
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
About half history and half theology, this classic by Ware is a must-read for anyone interested in the Orthodox Church. While I will always take issue with some of the teachings and practices of the Orthodox, I say with profound gratitude that I have also learned much from them over the past 20 years.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the Eastern Orthodox Church. I pray one day we will all be united under one church as Christ wished in John, Chapter 17.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One time on my mission, I was knocking doors near the end of the day when my companion and I were surprisingly let in. Not only were we let in, but they agreed to here our message about God and Jesus Christ. We talked about the nature of God, the role of prophets, Christ's ministry on the earth, the apostasy, and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. But we were just as surprised as the confident response in the negative:

I cannot believe that, b/>I
Josh Hopping
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in 1963, “The Orthodox Church” was Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware’s first book, written before he entered the priesthood and based upon his personal study of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In fact, at the time that the book was published, Bishop Ware had only been a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church for five years – having joined the church in 1958 after being raised in the Anglican Church (he's from Somerset, England).

The book itself if separated into two bro
Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
As an introduction to the Orthodox Church, to its history, theology and rituals, this book is concise, informative, and clearly written. The author is a convert from the Anglican Church, one who eventually became an orthodox bishop and who therefore has a deep understanding of both traditions. He wants this book to be a practical guide, not a scholarly defense of orthodox theology nor of its liturgical ritual. The author's intention is to provide a clear exposition of these - an explanation of o ...more
Foreign Grid
A very good book that elucidates the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
It goes through a brief overview of its history and its relations with major external factors as well as some internal happenings. It also gives a brief overview into it's teachings, structure, and convictions as well as the reasons why. I appreciated on several occasions how the author tried to consider both perspectives of the conflict between the east and west and how he very frankly presented his grievences. And
Oct 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: christian_eo
I'm currently re-reading this as I explore more fully and with hands on guidance from the priest at the local church if this is truly the path God has set before me.

This is not a read it all in one sitting book. Bishop Ware really delves into the how and why of Orthodox Christian history, from the inception of the Church, to the legalization of Christianity under Constantine, through the 7 Ecumenical Councils where the doctrines and creeds we follow to this day were codified, through the spread
Justin Evans
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great overview of the Orthodox churches; there's not much to complain about. I would've liked a bit more theology, but you can't have everything. To my surprise, the twentieth century history bits were my favorites- what could easily have devolved into an 'oh how we were oppressed by evil communists' rant was very balanced and insightful. It's odd that someone with such a firm grasp on history can still claim that the Orthodox church practices Christianity as is was practiced during the age of t ...more
Mehmet Akif Koç
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
As stated on the cover page, a clear and detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church written for the Non-Orthodox.

The chapters on the estrangement and schism between Western and Eastern Christianity; the survival of the Russian Orthodox belief in Soviet era and reunion efforts within the Christianity in post-Cold War period are particularly well written.

I think the summary of the book is the personal evaluation of the author on page.316 read as: "We (as Orthodox) recognise the Pope as first -
Thomas GOSSE
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orthodoxy
This is the "go to" book on the history of the early church and teachings of the Orthodox Church. It was the first book I read on the Orthodox Church and started me on a road that led to my Chrismated on the Feast of the Transfiguration 1992.
David Withun
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Thomas GOSSE
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: orthodoxy
Excellent history of the Orthodox Church.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic overview of the history and theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-christian
The Orthodox Church has withstood so much persecution, including Islam, atheism, communism, and more. And though we're now a minority, we're still here, thank God.
Tami Close
Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Good introduction to the Orthodox church. Read this while studying in Greece and trying to understand the Orthodox religion.
Derek Winterburn
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This is a well-written introduction to Orthodoxy by an author within the church, but well able to explain its history and theology to those outside.

He does a remarkably good job with telling the story of the 'Eastern' stream of the church over two millennia as it spread through many countries, in good times and bad. He writes as one familiar at first hand with events and people mentioned in the modern era.

His account of Orthodox theology is straightforward and intelligible. Inevitably one migh
My only complaint with this book is that it's dated. Being a book primarily concerning the history of the Orthodox Church, I'd love to see a revision that brings the reader up to current times (this version was published in 1997). It definitely helped me to understand Eastern history and all the underlying political, cultural, and spiritual reasons behind the different stances and ideas floating about in the greater Christian world (both Eastern and Western). I greatly appreciated the author's i ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read numerous books about early Christianity and the emergence of Catholic dogma, and having taken cognisance of the Great Schism which finally split the Catholic faith into what are now Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, I was always in search of deeper analysis of what the real differences between the two denominations were, and what caused them to veer far away from each other. Timothy (or Kallistos, as he is known in the Orthodox Church) Ware’s book provided precisely the missing e ...more
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His Excellency, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia (b. 1934, also known by his lay name, Timothy Ware) is a titular metropolitan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Great Britain. From 1966-2001, he was Spalding Lecturer of Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University, and has authored numerous books and articles pertaining to the Orthodox Christian faith.
“Tradition is not only a protective, conservative principle; it is, primarily, the principle of growth and regeneration… Tradition is the constant abiding of the Spirit and not only the memory of words.” 12 likes
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