What is the Orthodox Church?The Orthodox Church is the most ancient of the three major Christian churches (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant), tracing its roots back to Apostolic times. It is the One, Holy, Catholic (universal), and Apostolic Church, established by Jesus Christ Himself in 33 AD. It is not an ethnic church for Greeks or Russians. There is only one Orthodox Church – Russian, Greek, American, and Antiochian Orthodox churches share the exact same faith, although some customs may differ between them. The Orthodox Church has both a historic and theological continuity to the early Christian Church.
The chief source of the Orthodox Church's theology is Holy Scripture, as well as Holy Tradition. The Orthodox Church does not follow the teaching of Sola Scriptura (that is, the teaching that Scripture alone is the basis for all theology of the Church). Scripture and Tradition go hand in hand; the theology of the Orthodox Church does not contradict Biblical text.
The Orthodox Church is governed in the same way that it was in the days of the Apostles – that is, by a general council, with each of the members speaking with equal voice on behalf of the faithful worldwide (Acts 15). Truth is determined in a conciliar fashion. The Orthodox Church does not have a supreme earthly leader; one patriarch of the Orthodox Church only has power over a part of it, and the patriarch cannot act without a council.
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