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Thursday, June 25, 2009

everything you ever wanted to know about the orthodox church, part 1

under normal circumstances, i dont focus or write much about religion. i read about it and i visit many religious websites and blogs, but i generally tend to distance myself from the institution.

today, that will change.

this started actually in the comment section of a blog i subscribe to on my sports blog-cells bells. when the authors featured sports (specifically, baseball)-themed tattoos. i commented that although i'd like to get a tattoo myself and have nothing against body art, my religion prevented me from doing so. that comment opened the floodgates into the world of orthodox christanity. since one of the authors made an inquiry about my faith, and there was more room here on this blog to discuss it than in the comment section of that other blog, i decided to dedicate a few entries here on this blog to describe the orthodox church and what it stands for.

the first thing you need to know about the orthodox church is that while we are called a variety of names, the mission remains the same. we have been called the byzantine church, but since the catholics have a byzantine division, my church is referred to now as the "eastern orthodox christian" church. however, it is most commonly abbreviated as simply "orthodox church".

we in the orthodox church trace our roots all the way back to the time of jesus and his disciples. it was our religion that the roman empire adopted and later made official. while the history books refer to the early church as "catholic", the meaning was not the same as today, for the roman catholic and orthodox churches were once united. the term "catholic" was basically and encompassing term for early christians. as a result of this shared history, the roman catholic and orthodox christian churches do share some saints, most notably some early ones such as john the baptist, st. jude (yes, that one-the patron saint of lost causes), st. nicholas, and st. augustine of antioch (i also think we share st. augustine of hippo, but im not sure on that one).

before the split in 12th century, the roman emperor constantine convened a church council in the city of nicea in around the 10th century. this meeting basically established the orthodox church as we know it today-who the saints were, what procedures were to be done regarding communion, prayers, and the most well-known remainder of this meeting was the nicene creed.

more to come later.


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