ABOUT ORTHODOXY

The New Testament Church was founded by Jesus Christ and preached by the Apostles. Its beginning dates back to Pentecost, 33 A.D. Our own Patriarchate of Antioch was originally founded in A.D. 34 by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and is referenced in the Bible Acts 11, verses 25 to 27, as follows:

Acts 11

25. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
26. and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27. During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

The basic structure of the early Church was that of a universal union of local churches bound by the unity of apostolic succession of the bishops. Each church community was organically a part of the universal unity of all Christians as one people of God. By the year 1,000, the New Testament Church had become communities of local churches organized around five regional centers; each headed by a “Patriarch” – the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome. But it was still a single Christian church, united in faith and practices.

There was some friction, even at an early stage, about the status of the Church of Rome, - which was the Church of the apostles Peter and Paul, and the Church of the capital of the Empire. In the East, Rome was given the ceremonial title of “First among Equals”. However, in Rome, the Popes began to declare that special God-given rights had been granted to the papacy to govern the universal church. The rest of the Church rejected those claims.

However, the Popes continued to expand and pursue their claims of authority over the entire Christian Church. In 1054, the Pope severed his ties with the other Patriarchs in the East. After that, the Popes in Rome instituted changes in beliefs and practices that were rejected by the Orthodox Patriarchs in the East, who continued to preach and practice the original Christian faith. These Roman changes were so onerous that Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Revolution that raged throughout Europe. But rather than returning to the original Christian faith, the Protestants repeated the errors of the Popes by instituting further changes in beliefs and practices in the name of Christianity. This led to further splintering of the Protestant ranks. It is estimated that there are now over 25,000 different Protestant denominations in the United States alone.

Orthodoxy in the United States:

North and South America were colonized by the empire-building nations of Western Europe - - which were predominantly either Roman Catholic or Protestant. By the time the immigrants from the Orthodox countries began arriving in large numbers in the early 1900s, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches were permanent fixtures on the American landscape.

The Orthodox immigrants settled in ethnic neighborhoods where they could speak their native language, practice their ethnic customs, and share their traditional foods with each other. They established Orthodox churches in those neighborhoods to serve their religious needs in their native language.

In most cases the Orthodox Parish Hall serves as the social center for these ethnic communities. Dances, dinners, concerts, and celebrations of all kinds (weddings, baptisms, bridal showers, anniversaries, etc.) are held there.

Although these Orthodox Churches are mostly vibrant and healthy, they are often isolated from the rest of the population by language, culture, and ethnic pride.

In the late 1900s second and third generations of Orthodox began to establish Orthodox Churches in which the services are in English (which is their native language). With the language barrier broken, a steady stream of people have investigated and experienced Orthodoxy, and have become Orthodox. The Orthodox Church is now the fastest growing denomination in the United States with approximately 6 million members.

What the Orthodox believe:

The Creed is divided into 12 parts and is recited by Orthodox Christians during the Divine Liturgy:
  1. I believe in one God, Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

  2. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made:

  3. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made Man;

  4. And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;

  5. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

  6. And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;

  7. And He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead, Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

  8. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the prophets;

  9. And I believe in one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  10. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.

  11. I look for the Resurrection of the dead;

  12. And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

About The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste Church:
In our Church all the normal services are in English; Arabic services are held during the week. There is no ethnic identity or bias. Seekers, Inquirers, or just curious individuals are welcome to come and observe what worship in the Orthodox Church is like. A coffee hour is held after Liturgy in the great hall so that you can meet the congregation, talk, and ask questions.

You won’t be pressured into becoming Orthodox. That is left up to God and your conscience. You travel by the light you have been given, and we know that the journey can be difficult. But you will be welcome.

About The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste:

In 320, although St. Constantine ruled in the West, Licinius ruled in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, Licinius, still a pagan, ordered his soldiers to renounce the Christian Faith. Forty members of the Thundering or Twelfth Legion stationed in Sebate in Lesser Armenia, now known of as Sivas in modern day Turkey, refused to abandon their faith, were tortured and went joyfully to their deaths. Please click here to learn more.