The Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is a Christian church. Their type of Christianity is also called Orthodox Christianity or Orthodoxy. Their members are called Orthodox Christians, although there is another group of Churches called Oriental Orthodox that is not in communion with the Orthodox Church. There are about 300 million Orthodox Christians in the world. Most Orthodox Christians are found in Russia, Greece, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, but there are Orthodox Christians everywhere in the world.
Important things to know about the Orthodox Churches
Orthodox believe in everything in the Nicene Creed:
- I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
- And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages.
- Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father through whom all things were made.
- For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.
- He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and he suffered and was buried.
- On the third day he rose according to the Scriptures.
- He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
- He will come again in glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom will have no end.
- And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets.
- In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
- I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
- I expect the resurrection of the dead.
- And the life of the ages to come. Amen.
Distribution of Eastern Orthodoxy in the world by country
The many churches of the Orthodox Church are distinct in terms of administration and local culture, but for the most part exist in full communion with one another.
Orthodox churches in communion
Nowadays, there are 14 (15 by some) independent orthodox churches, in communion with each other, with the precise order of seniority of their heads as listed below. Some of them contain autonomous (marked below) and/or semi-autonomous dioceses (listed within the mother churches). The first 9 of the autocephalous churches are led by patriarchs.
- Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
- Finnish Orthodox Church (autonomous)
- Estonian Orthodox Church (autonomous)
- Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
- Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
- Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe
- Mount Athos
- Belorussian Council of Orthodox Churches in North America
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (includes Ireland)
- Archdiocese in Italy and Malta
- Archdiocese in Australia
- 13 other small metropolises outside its canonical territory: Austria, Belgium, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico and Central America, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal, and Switzerland
- Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
- African Orthodox groups in Kenya and Uganda
- Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
- Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Serbian Orthodox Church
- Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric (autonomous)
- Metropolitanate of Zagreb, Ljubljana and All Italy (Croatia, Slovenia, Italy)
- Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral (Montenegro)
- Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosna (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
- Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
- Bishopric in Australia and New Zealand
- Bishopric in Britain and Scandinavia (Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark)
- Bishopric of Buda (Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia)
- Bishopric in Central Europe (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland)
- Bishopric in Timişoara (Romania)
- Bishopric in Western Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Spain)
- Romanian Orthodox Church
- Metropolis of Bessarabia (autonomous, with the rank of an exarchate, i.e. having the right to have parishes outside its canonical jurisdiction - de facto has in Russia and USA; territorial jurisdiction contested by the Russian Church)
- Metropolis in France, Western and Southern Europe (British Islands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy)
- Metropolis in Germany and Central Europe (Germany, Northern and Central Europe)
- Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada (USA, Canada, Argentina, Venesuela)
- Romanian Orthodox Bishopric Dacia Felix (in Serbia)
- Bulgarian Orthodox Church
- Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church Diocese of America, Canada and Australia
- Diocese in Central and Western Europe
- Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church
- Cypriot Orthodox Church
- Church of Greece
- Polish Orthodox Church
- Albanian Orthodox Church
- Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church
- Orthodox Church in America (recognized as autocephalous only by the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, and Czech-Slovak Churches)
Orthodox Churches and communities not in communion with others
- The Orthodox Church. Ware, Timothy. Pengiun Books, 1997. (ISBN 0-14-014656-3)
- The Orthodox Church; 455 Questions and Answers. Harakas, Stanley H. Light and Life Publishing Company, 1988. (ISBN 0-937032-56-5)