The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 14, 2014 03:16AM) (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
This is the thread which will be devoted to the discussion of the history of the Eastern Orthodox religion and related topics.

"The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church, and also referred to as the Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy, is the second largest Christian church in the world, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents, most of whom live in Eastern Europe (especially Southeastern Europe), the Middle East, and Russia.

It identifies itself as the present-day continuation of the theology and episcopacy established by Jesus Christ through his Apostles. It teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission to the disciples around 2,000 years ago.

The Church has grown from its original territory to be a truly global religion, with individual churches in most of the countries of the world and almost every major city. It is the religious affiliation of the majority of the populations of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine; significant minority populations exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kazakhstan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The Church's structure is composed of several self-governing ecclesial bodies, each geographically (and often nationally) distinct but unified in theology and worship. John Anthony McGuckin identified four 'ancient patriarchates', Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and eleven autocephalous churches, Cyprus, Sinai, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Georgia, Poland, Albania, and Czech and Slovakia, and three autonomous churches, Finland, Japan and China. Each self-governing body (autocephalous jurisdiction), often but not always encompassing a nation, is shepherded by a Holy Synod whose duty, among other things, is to preserve and teach the apostolic and patristic traditions and related church practices. Orthodox bishops trace their lineage back to the apostles through the process of apostolic succession.

The Orthodox Church traces its development back to the earliest church established by St. Paul and the Apostles, through the ancient Roman Empire and its continuation the Byzantine Empire.

It regards itself as the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and His apostles. It practices what it understands to be the original faith passed down from the Apostles (that faith "which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all", namely Holy Tradition), believing in growth and development without alteration of the faith. In non-doctrinal, non-liturgical matters the church has always shared in local cultures, adopting or adapting (conventional) traditions from among practices it found to be compatible with the Christian life, and in turn shaping the cultural development of the nations around it, including Greek, Slavic, Romanian, Middle Eastern, North African, British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples. (For an example, see Yule log).

Through baptism, Orthodox Christians enter a new life of salvation through repentance, whose purpose is to share in the life of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. Christian life is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person, through the imitation of Christ and hesychasm, cultivates the practice of unceasing prayer (often with use of the Jesus Prayer).

This life occurs within the life of the church as a member of the Body of Christ. It is through the fire of God's love in the action of the Holy Spirit that the Christian becomes more holy, more wholly unified with Christ, starting in this life and continuing in the next. Born in God's image, each person is called to theosis, fulfillment of the image in likeness to God. God the creator, having divinity by nature, offers each person participation in divinity by cooperatively accepting His gift of grace.

The Orthodox Church, in understanding itself to be the Body of Christ, and similarly in understanding the Christian life to lead to the unification in Christ of all members of his body, views the church as embracing all Christ's members, those now living on earth, and also all those through the ages who have passed on to the heavenly life. The church includes the Christian saints from all times, and also judges, prophets and righteous Jews of the first covenant, Adam and Eve, even the angels and heavenly hosts.

In orthodox services, the earthly members together with the heavenly members worship God as one community in Christ, in a union that transcends time and space and joins heaven to earth. This unity of the Church is sometimes called the communion of the saints.

Source: Wikipedia -

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of the Virgin Mary.

Eastern Orthodox churches in communion

The Orthodox Church is a communion of 14 autocephalous (that is, administratively completely independent) local churches plus the Orthodox Church in America which is recognized as autocephalous only by the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, and Czech-Slovak Churches. Each has defined geographical boundaries of its jurisdiction and is ruled by its Council of Bishops or Synod presided by a senior bishop – its Primate (or First Hierarch). The Primate may carry the honorary title of Patriarch, Metropolitan (in the Slavic tradition) or Archbishop (in the Greek tradition).

Each local church consists of constituent eparchies (or, dioceses) ruled by a bishop. Some churches have given an eparchy or group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy (self-government). Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church, usually defined in a Tomos or other document of autonomy.

Below is a list of the 14 (15) autocephalous churches in their order of precedence, based on the diptychs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, with constituent autonomous churches and exarchates. The Liturgical title of the Primate is listed in italics.

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch)
- Autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland (Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland)
Self-governing Orthodox Church of Crete (Archbishop of Crete)
Self-governing Monastic Community of Mount Athos
Exarchate of Patmos (Patriarchal Exarch of Patmos)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (Archbishop of Thyateira/UK
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta (Orthodox Archbishop of Italy/Malta/SEur
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Archbishop of America)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (Archbishop of Australia)
Exarchate of the Philippines (Exarch of Philippines)
Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe (Archbishop of Komana)

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria (His Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, all the land of Egypt, and all Africa, Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Prelate of Prelates, Thirteenth of the Apostles, and Judge of the Œcumene)

Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (Patriarch of Antioch and all the East)
- Self-governing Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (Archbishop of New York/ NA

Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, and of Syria, Arabia, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Sacred Zion)
- Autonomous Church of Mount Sinai (Archbishop of Choreb, Sinai, and Raitha)

Orthodox Church of Russia (Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia)
Autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan (Archbishop of Tokyo and Metropolitan of All Japan)
Autonomous Orthodox Church of China (defunct)
Self-governing Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine)
Self-governing Orthodox Church of Moldova (Metropolitan of Chisinau and all Moldova)
Self-governing Orthodox Church of Latvia (Metropolitan of Riga and all Latvia)
Self-governing Estonian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia) [Autonomy not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate]
Self-governing Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian church abroad)
Exarchate of Belarus (Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus)

Orthodox Church of Serbia (Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Patriarch of the Serbs)
Autonomous Archdiocese of Ohrid (Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje)

Orthodox Church of Romania (Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Ungro-Valachia, and Patriarch of All Romania)
Self-governing Metropolis of Bessarabia (autonomy not recognized by the Church of Russia)

Orthodox Church of Bulgaria (Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of All Bulgaria)

Orthodox Church of Georgia (Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan bishop of Abkhazia and Pitsunda.)

Orthodox Church of Cyprus (Archbishop of New Justiniana and all Cyprus)

Orthodox Church of Greece (Archbishop of Athens and all Greece)

Orthodox Church of Poland (Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland)

Orthodox Church of Albania (Archbishop of Tirana and all Albania)

Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia (Archbishop of Prague, the Metropolitan of Czech lands and Slovakia or the Archbishop of Presov, the Metropolitan of Czech lands and Slovakia)

There are unresolved internal issues as to the autonomous or autocephalous status of the following Orthodox churches:

Orthodox Church in America (Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada) — Autocephaly was granted in 1970 from its mother church, the Russian Orthodox Church. It is in full communion with all canonical Orthodox Churches and de facto, fully recognized by all. The Ecumenical Patriarchate accepts the OCA, but disputes the Russian Orthodox Church's action of granting autocephaly. There are no Orthodox Canons stating who can or cannot grant autocephaly.

Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia) — Autonomy is recognized only by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Note, that the Russian Church recognized a different order of seniority, in which the Georgian church comes after the Church of Russia and the Albanian Church – after the Church of Greece. The Church of Cyprus also has a different list featuring herself immediately after the ancient Patriarchates and before that of Moscow.

The jurisdiction of the Sinai peninsula is most correctly called autonomous rather than autocephalous. It consists solely of Saint Catherine's Monastery, whose leader is elected Abbot by the monks but is consecrated Archbishop by the Patriarch of Jerusalem.[178]

message 2: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) For those unfamiliar with the Eastern Orthodox religion which includes Greek, Russian and Oriental.

Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes

Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes by Donald Fairbairn by Donald Fairbairn Donald Fairbairn


In the last decade, Eastern Orthodoxy has moved from being virtually unknown to Western Christians to being a significant presence on the religious scene in North America and Great Britain. In light of Orthodoxy's growing presence, this book will introduce Western Christians to the Eastern Orthodox vision of the Christian life by examining Orthodox theology and worship and will also alert readers to the cultural and historical factors that shape any interpretation of the Christian faith.

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) If you are not familiar with Eastern Orthodoxy, this is the book for you as it compares the religion with the other major Christian denominations.

Eastern Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodoxy Compared by Rev. Fr. Constantine Matthews by Rev. Fr. Constantine Matthews (no photo)


Eastern Orthodoxy Compared - Her Teachings and Significant Differences with Roman Catholicism and the Major Protestant Denominations. This excellent handbook introduces the main teachings of the Orthodox Church and contrasts them with the teachings of Roman Catholicism and the major Protestant denominations. The differences covered include dogma, liturgy, sacraments, death and the afterlife, the Theotokos, sacred tradition, memorial prayers, the Holy Trinity etc. Includes a timeline of Christian Church history.

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The basics of the Eastern Orthodox Church are described in this enlightening book.

Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth by Andrew Louth Andrew Louth


With an estimated 250 million adherents, the Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian body in the world. This absorbing account of the essential elements of Eastern Orthodox thought deals with the Trinity, Christ, sin, humanity and creation as well as praying, icons, the sacraments and liturgy.

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
You are starting here - great progress and great adds. Thank you Teri for your help.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
Orthodox Churches not in communion with Eastern Orthodox

The following is list of some of the organizations that use the term "Orthodox" in their name but do not maintain communion with any of the 14 (15) autocephalous churches and thus are not typically considered part of the Orthodox Christian communion.

Old Calendarists are groups that do not maintain communion with the 14 (15) autocephalous churches as a result of the use of the Revised Julian Calendar.

Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, so-called "Matthewites"

Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, so-called "Florinites"
Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance), so-called "Cyprianites". (Merged with the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece as of March 2014.)

Old Calendar Romanian Orthodox Church

Old Calendar Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Russian Orthodox Church in America

Traditional Paschal Crucession by Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.
Old Believers are groups that do not accept liturgical reforms carried out in the Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century.

Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church (Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy)

Lipovan Orthodox Old-Rite Church (Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy)

Russian Old-Orthodox Church (Novozybkovskaya Hierarchy)

Pomorian Old-Orthodox Church (Pomortsy)

Churches with irregular or unresolved canonical status are entities that have carried out episcopal consecrations outside of the norms of canon law or whose bishops have been excommunicated by one of the 14 (15) autocephalous churches.

Abkhazian Orthodox Church

Autonomous Alexandrian Eastern Pan Orthodox Church

Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

Bulgarian Alternative Synod

Holy Orthodox Church in North America

Macedonian Orthodox Church

Montenegrin Orthodox Church

Orthodox Church in Italy

Russian True Orthodox Church

Turkish Orthodox Church

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate)

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Canonical

message 7: by Jill (last edited Mar 14, 2016 01:19PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Lent begins today for Eastern Orthodoxy.......Kali Sarokosti to all

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
Ah yes. It is.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
A History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus

A History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus from the Coming of the Apostles Paul & Barnabas to the Commencement of the British Occupation (A.D. 45-A.D. 1 by John Hackett by John Hackett (no photo)


A history of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus from the coming of the apostles Paul and Barnabas to the commencement of the British occupation (A.D. 45-A.D. 1878) : together with some account of the Latin and other churches existing in the island / by J. Hackett.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity

The Orthodox Church An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Kallistos Ware by Kallistos Ware Kallistos Ware


The readable, deeply authoritative and bestselling book on the Orthodox Church, in a fully updated and revised Third Edition.

'Orthodoxy claims to be universal . . .'
Since its first publication fifty 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 Protestant Churches can be reunited. In this revised and updated edition he explains the Orthodox views on such widely ranging matters as Ecumenical Councils, Sacraments, Free Will, Purgatory, the Papacy and the relation between the different Orthodox Churches.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 30, 2018 09:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
Are Orthodox Churches the same as Eastern Orthodox Churches?

Not all Orthodox Churches are 'Eastern Orthodox'.

The 'Oriental Orthodox Churches' have theological differences with the Eastern Orthodox and form a separate group, while a few Orthodox Churches are not 'in communion' with the others.

Not all Churches in the Eastern tradition are Orthodox - Eastern Churches that are not included in the Orthodox group include the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches

The nominal head of the Eastern Orthodox Churches is the Patriarch of Constantinople. However, he is only first among equals and has no real authority over Churches other than his own.

There are 15 'autocephalous Churches', listed in order of precedence.

Churches 1-9 are led by Patriarchs, while the others are led by Archbishops or Metropolitans:

1. Church of Constantinople (ancient)
2. Church of Alexandria (ancient)
3. Church of Antioch (ancient)
4. Church of Jerusalem (ancient)
5. Church of Russia (established in 1589)
6. Church of Serbia (1219)
7. Church of Romania (1925)
8. Church of Bulgaria (927)
9. Church of Georgia (466)
10. Church of Cyprus (434)
11. Church of Greece (1850)
12. Church of Poland (1924)
13. Church of Albania (1937)
14. Church of Czech and Slovak lands (1951)
15. The Orthodox Church in America (1970)

The Orthodox communion also includes a number of 'autonomous Churches':

1. Church of Sinai
2. Church of Finland
3. Church of Estonia*
4. Church of Japan*
5. Church of China*
6. Church of Ukraine*
7. Archdiocese of Ohrid*

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia

Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent Faith and Power in the New Russia by John Garrard by John Garrard (no photo)


"Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent" is the first book to fully explore the expansive and ill-understood role that Russia's ancient Christian faith has played in the fall of Soviet Communism and in the rise of Russian nationalism today.

John and Carol Garrard tell the story of how the Orthodox Church's moral weight helped defeat the 1991 coup against Gorbachev launched by Communist Party hardliners.

The Soviet Union disintegrated, leaving Russians searching for a usable past.

The Garrards reveal how Patriarch Aleksy II--a former KGB officer and the man behind the church's successful defeat of the coup--is reconstituting a new national idea in the church's own image.

In the new Russia, the former KGB who run the country--Vladimir Putin among them--proclaim the cross, not the hammer and sickle.

Meanwhile, a majority of Russians now embrace the Orthodox faith with unprecedented fervor. The Garrards trace how Aleksy orchestrated this transformation, positioning his church to inherit power once held by the Communist Party and to become the dominant ethos of the military and government.

They show how the revived church under Aleksy prevented mass violence during the post-Soviet turmoil, and how Aleksy astutely linked the church with the army and melded Russian patriotism and faith.

"Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent" argues that the West must come to grips with this complex and contradictory resurgence of the Orthodox faith, because it is the hidden force behind Russia's domestic and foreign policies today.

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
The Orthodox Way

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware by Kallistos Ware Kallistos Ware


This book is a general account of the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christians by the author of the now classic THE ORTHODOX CHURCH.

It raises the basic issues of theology: God as hidden yet revealed; the problem of evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; death and what lies beyond. In so doing, it helps to fill the need for a modern Orthodox catechism.

Yet this book is not a mere manual, a dry-as-dust repository of information.

Throughout the book, Father Ware shows the meaning of Orthodox doctrine for the life of the individual Christian. Doctrinal issues are seen not as abstract propositions for thological debate but as affecting the whole of life.

A wealth of texts drawn from theologians and spiritual writers of all ages accompanies Father Ware's presentation. They too reveal Orthodoxy not just as a system of beliefs, practices and customs but indeed as the Way.

message 14: by Christine (new)

Christine Thanks for this thread.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44327 comments Mod
You are most welcome!

back to top