Father Nektarios Serfes - Orthodox Spirituality

When Was The Orthodox Church Founded?
Written by Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho U.S.A.
October 2003

Icon of Holy Pentecost - 17th century from the Dionysiou Monastery Holy Mt. Athos
Icon of Holy Pentercost
17th century from the Dionysiou Monastery
Holy Mt. Athos.

"If salvation is by grace, someone will say, "Why is that we are all saved?" Because you did not will it. For grace, even though it be grace, saves (only) the willing, not those who are not willing, not those are not willing and turn away from it and constantly fight against it and oppose themselves to it."St. John Chrysostom (+407)

Can you tell me when and was the Orthodox Church founded?
The Orthodox Church was founded on the Day of Holy Pentecost in Jerusalem in 33 AD, fifty days after the Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ our true God. It has preserved the original teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles form that time until the present. The first major Bishops of the Church (known as Patriarchs) have remained Orthodox up to the present. They are the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Later onwards other Patriarchs also began to develop within the Orthodox Church: Russia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albanian.

Was the Roman Catholic Church a part of the Orthodox Church?
Yes, the Roman Catholic Church was a part of the Orthodox Church, believing and teaching the same doctrines and Sacred Tradition, until 1054. It was the Roman Catholic Church that broke away from the Orthodox Church. In that year the Patriarch of Rome, or the bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope of Rome broke away from the original Church by making unacceptable claims of authority over the entire Christian Church. Since then, the Roman Catholic Church has added new teachings, which the ancient Christian Church above rejects. One of these is the Doctrine of the Infallibility of the Pope. Not only this doctrine but also other matters of the faith have developed within the Roman Catholic Church which has since has separated both these Churches.

Can you tell me what other matters separate the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church besides the issue of the Primacy of the Pope?
What separates the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church is not only the Primacy of the Pope also known as the Infallibility, but also the following innovations of the Roman Catholic Church: The Procession of the Holy Spirit. Purgatory and indulgences. The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Invocation of the epiclesis. Unleavened Bread. Holy Communion. Divorce. Clergy's Martal Status.

Can you tell me when did some of the other religions develop?

  • Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church, in 1522.
  • King Henry VIII founded the Anglican Church of England, in 1534.
  • John Knox of Scotland founded the Presbyterian Church, in 1580.
  • The Congregational Church was founded by Robert Brown in Holland, in 1582.
  • John Smith in Amsterdam founded the Baptist Church, in 1606.
  • Michelis Jones in New York founded the Dutch Reformed Church, in 1628.
  • The Protestant Episcopal Church is an offshoot of the Church of England, and was founded by Samuel Seabury in the American Colonies in the 18th Century.
  • The Methodist Church, was founded by John & Charles Wesley in England in 1774.
  • The Unitarian Church was founded by Theophilus Lindley in London in 1774.
  • The Mormon Church (Latter Day Saints) was founded by Joseph Smith in 1829.
  • The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth in London in 1888.

Within the last 100 years or so, hundreds of other religions were started in the Protestant tradition: Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Church, Holiness Church, Assemblies of God, and many Bible and Evangelical and on-denominational Churches, as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses.

All of the above Churches contain an element of the truth preserved by the "One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church," but only the Orthodox Church has preserved and perpetuated the entire Christian Faith of the Ancient Church, based on the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition and the First Seven Ecumenical Councils.

I would like to learn more about the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
To learn more about Eastern Orthodox Church it would be best to learn about the origin of the Church, and to learn about the Nicene-Constantinpolitan Creed which teaches much about the beliefs of the Orthodox Church, as well as about the teachings on the Doctrines of belief in Sacred Tradition, the Sacred Scriptures, and the teachings of the Holy Canons, and the teachings of the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, it would be best for you to study the Sacred Scriptures from the point of the view of the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Church.

Another matter is to learn about the lives of the saints, and holy martyrs of the Orthodox Church which would only gives us more information has to how these same martyrs and saints of the Church experienced their faith so that we too would follow their examples. Then again learn as much as possible about the lives of the Holy Fathers and their teachings.

Above all we should begin to learn about prayer and how we can develop a better prayer rule in our lives and that is so that we would have union with our Lord God in prayer. The Orthodox Church is a Church of Liturgical prayer. Prayer is essential not only in the Church but also in the home, and at any other time.

Then again we should read Holy Scripture, but at the same time to learn what the Holy Fathers of the Church have written about Holy and Sacred Scripture.

Another matter is of course is to learn about teachings the Seven Sacraments of the Orthodox Church.

Then again to learn about fasting in the Orthodox Church since the faithful continue to fast on both Wednesday and Friday, as well as other fasting periods such as 40 days during the Nativity Fast, the Great Lenten which leads up to the celebration of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and this is a period of 40 days of fasting, then we have the fast for the Dormition of the Mother of God, which last for 15 days, and finally the Apostles Fast which sometimes last for two weeks.

On the Internet you can also learn more about the teachings of the Orthodox Church from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (http://www.goarch.org)

You can also visit the following on the Internet to learn more about the Orthodox Church:


Content written/compiled by Father Nektarios Serfes.
(c) Father Nektarios Serfes