During the early days of Christianity, the Greek Orthodox church reflected its immersion in the language and thought of its early ancestors. The Church has been spread across the world, but there are still some churches that are not part of the Greek Orthodox church. These churches are known as the Orthodox Church, and they have a large number of members. The Eastern Orthodox Church, for example, has approximately 220 million baptized members.
Traditionally, Pentecost is considered the beginning of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It also represents the beginning of the messianic age. It is believed that the Spirit of God fell upon the apostles on this day. The apostles were empowered to spread the Gospel throughout the earth.
In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus. He would descend upon the disciples at Pentecost and fill them with power to witness for the Kingdom. The disciples were baptized in the name of the Father and the Son. Afterwards, they began to preach the word of Christ in Jerusalem.
It was on Pentecost that the first 3,000 ‘first fruits’ were added to the Church. This is recorded in the Book of Acts.
Historically, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have both suffered from schisms. The schisms are attributed to various factors. They range from doctrinal differences to political disagreements. It is difficult to heal such a rift.
In the early Roman Church, ecclesiology emphasized the idea of the Church as a universal organism. The concept of a centralized pontiff (Pope) was often caricatured as totalitarian. In reality, the papal primacy was not centrally controlled. The Western and Eastern churches both split along linguistic, geographical, and doctrinal lines.
The East-West Schism began in 1054. The schism never healed. It was not only the result of intolerant people within the Church, but also the result of the rise of Constantinople. During the Fourth Crust in 1204 and the Massacre of Latins in 1182, reconciliation was made more difficult.
Church in non-Orthodox lands
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the first Greek Orthodox Christians arrived in the New World. They came in search of opportunity and freedom. Their devotion to the ancient faith of the Orthodox Church helped to establish the foundation of the Orthodox Church in this country.
The Greek Orthodox Church is comprised of about 500 parishes and a graduate theological school. It also operates parochial schools and church schools.
The Orthodox Church is a witness of God’s true purpose for humanity. It proclaims that the human person has a unique relationship with God and that every good thing has a goal of returning to God.
The Holy Eucharist is the most important worship experience in the Orthodox Church. It is offered every Sunday, and is the centre of Orthodox worship.
Churches of the Greek Orthodox diaspora
During the 20th century, millions of Orthodox believers from Eastern Europe and Russia were forced to emigrate to the western world. This led to a chain of schisms in socialist jurisdictions. A new wave of refugees arrived in the United States and Europe after World War II. Despite the political turmoil, the Orthodox continued to maintain their Byzantine structure and tradition.
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Orthodox Christians were free to pursue their faith without interference from the Communist Party. However, Russia does not want to lose its diaspora to the advent of new national churches in other countries. It wants to preserve its influence in world Orthodoxy and has established a canonical model for the diaspora.
In order to deal with the needs of the Orthodox in the region, Episcopal Assemblies are being formed. Each bishop of the diaspora will be a member of these assemblies. They will represent the Orthodox in the region to the wider society. They will also address pastoral needs. The decisions on these subjects will be taken by a consensus of the Churches in the assembly.