Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Grand Junction, Colorado (AD 1958)

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (AD 73)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (AD 1922)
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver (AD 1979)

METROPOLIS OF DENVER
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Introductory Articles:

Orthodox Church Teachings
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
Salient points of doctrine and basic credal affirmations.   more ...

The Church
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
Procedure for becoming a member of the Orthodox Church   more ...

Worship
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
Worship involves the entire Church, and our actions reach beyond the present, into the Kingdom of God.   more ...

The Holy Eucharist
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive.   more ...

Special Services & Blessings
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
The non-sacramental services which contribute to spiritual life.   more ...

Spirituality
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald
The meaning of theosis as the goal of Christian life.   more ...

Prayer as an Important Aspect of Our Spiritual Life
Monk Moses
The life of prayer is life in Christ, spiritual ascension, the way to sanctification and deification.   more ...

General Articles:

And Then They Will Fast
Bishop Isaiah of Denver
An examination of the history and development of fasting and its role in the life of the Orthodox Christian.   more ...

On Fasting
Metropolitan Maximos
The practical and spiritual dimensions of fasting, which guide us in our union with the resurrected Lord.   more ...

Holy Week Meditation and Study Guide
Fr. Andrew Demotses
A day by day account of the meaning of each service in Holy Week.   more ...

The Saints of the Orthodox Church
George Bebis, Ph.D.
An examination of how saints and santhood is understood in the Orthodox Church.   more ...

Tradition in the Orthodox Church
George S. Bebis Ph.D.
Our understanding of tradition as the history of salvation and the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.   more ...

Orthodox Art and Architecture
John Yiannias
Anyone witnessing the Orthodox liturgy will be struck by its deliberate involvement of all the senses.   more ...

The Stand of the Church on Controversial Issues
Fr. Stanley Harakas
The Orthodox Church deals with controversial issues by seeing them through “mind of the Church.”   more ...

Orthodox News
and
Internet Radio:


Pravmir.com
Orthodoxy and the World
News and Faith


Orthochristian.com
Orthodox Christianity–News


Morning Offering
Daily Inspiration


Ancient Faith Radio
Internet Radio

Our Orthodox Faith:
Basic Information about the Orthodox Church
as well as links to useful Articles and Resources

What is “Orthodox Christianity”?
From “A Short History of the Holy Trinity Monastery,” Jordanville, N.Y. 1972.

Our Orthodoxy is the Christian Church just as it came out of the hands of Christ and just as the holy Apostles handed it down to us: undefiled, unadulterated, virginal.

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and founded the Church through His Apostles and disciples for the salvation of men. The teachings of the Apostles and the Church spread far in the years which followed; many Churches were founded, but all were united in faith, worship and the partaking of the sacraments.

To the group of Churches founded by the Apostles themselves belong the five Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Rome. The Church of Constantinople was founded by Saint Andrew, the Church of Alexandria by Saint Mark, the Church of Antioch by Saint Paul, the Church of Jerusalem by Saint Peter and Saint James, and the Church of Rome by Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Those founded in later years through missionary activity of the first Churches were the Churches of Sinai, Russia, Greece, Romania and many more.

All of these churches are independent in their administration, yet they are in full communion with one another with the exception of the Church of Rome which separated in the year AD 1054. In faith, doctrine, Apostolic tradition, sacraments, liturgies and services they are exactly alike. Regardless of the language of each, they exist in fellowship and together constitute and call themselves the Orthodox Church.

The teachings of the Church are derived from two sources: Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, which complement each other. As written in the Gospel of Saint John, “and there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world could not contain the books that should be written.” These unwritten teachings were transmitted orally by the Apostles and come down to us in Sacred Tradition.

The faith and doctrines of the Church can be found in the Scriptures, the writings of the Church Fathers and in the canons and decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God, the Saviour, and the Son begotten of the same substance of the Father before all ages. He is also true man, like us in all respects except sin. We believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, this being confirmed by the Second Ecumenical Council in the words used in the Symbol of Faith, “And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father...”

The Orthodox worship God in Trinity, and honor and venerate the Saints and ask their intercession before God. Of the Saints, the Mother of God holds a special place because of the supreme grace and call she received from God. According to the canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, we venerate the sacred icons and relics not in themselves, but as representations of God and the Saints.

We recognize seven Sacraments: Baptism, Chrismation, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage and Holy Unction.

Baptism and Chrismation (Confirmation) are the means of entrance for the Christian into the Church. For without dying to the old man and putting on the new in Baptism, we cannot receive the inheritance of the Kingdom which Christ restored to us. With Chrismation, we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit of God in the form of a Dove alighted on Christ, we receive Him in the Holy Chrism, becoming partakers in the fulness of Christ.

In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we partake of the true Body and Blood of Christ, in the form of bread and wine, for the remission of sins and for life eternal. As it is written, “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of His blood ye have no life in you.”

In confession we receive forgiveness of the sins we commit after Baptism if we truly repent of them.

The foregoing four sacraments are essential for the life of all Christians.

Infirmities of the body and soul are healed through the sacrament of Holy Unction.

Divine grace sanctifies the union of two people, a man and a woman, in Matrimony as Christ blessed the wedding at Cana by His presence and the performance of His first miracle.

By the laying-on of hands of a canonical Bishop, divine grace descends on him who is being ordained. This basic sacrament has provided uninterrupted succession to Orthodox clergy from the Holy Apostles and the establishment of the Church on the day of Pentecost.

These, briefly, are some characteristics of the Orthodox Church. The Church is one because our Lord Jesus Christ founded only one Church. It is holy through the sanctification of its Founder and Head, Jesus Christ and the operation of the Holy Spirit. It is catholic because it is universal, and knows no limitations of place or time. It is apostolic because it was founded by the Holy Apostles. This is the Orthodox Church-the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

What is the “Orthodox Church”?
From the book: “Simple Preaching for a Simple Priest” (1986) by Archimandrite Ioannikios, excerpt translated from the original Greek by Fr. Emanuel Hatzidakis, 1992.

Our Orthodoxy is the Christian Church just as it came out of the hands of Christ and just as the holy Apostles handed it down to us: undefiled, unadulterated, virginal.

Our Orthodoxy is the pure, Apostolic Christianity. Orthodoxy is the Church of the Holy Fathers, who paid homage to her, lifted her up, glorified her and interpreted the holy Gospel correctly, clearly, with the illumination of the holy Spirit.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of the Ecumenical Councils, which guard her and protect her from the falsity of the heretics and their errors throughout the centuries, till today.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of the Martyrs, holy Ascetics, Hermits, Hesychasts and Neptic Fathers; the Church of the Confessors, Ecumenical Teachers and New-Martyrs; the Church of the grace-flowing holy relics.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of Byzantium (the Christian Roman Empire, AD 330-1453), Byzantine Music, Byzantine Icons, Byzantine Architecture.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments); the Church of the mystical life in Christ and of Theology, of the prayer of the heart and of our union with God.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of the Byzantine worship “in spirit and in truth” and of the Byzantine Hymnology.

Our Orthodoxy is the Church of the Resurrection.

Come, you are invited! Get to know better, more deeply and more clearly our faith; to study the enlightened writings of the Holy Fathers, and especially to live experientially the Theanthropic, ecclesiastical, mystical, Orthodox life.

As Phillip said to Nathaniel: “Come and see!” (John 1:46)

You are invited: “Come and see” how man, body and soul, is sanctified in the Spiritual and Christ-centered Body of the Church.

You are invited: “Come and see” the Truth, the Light, the Theology, the Vision of God, the Divine Liturgy, the Mystical Life, the Dogma, the Grace, the Uncreated Energy of the Holy Spirit. This is Orthodoxy.

You are invited: “Come and see” the incense, the beeswax, the prosforo, the Feasts, the all-night vigils, the fasts, the prostrations, the prayer of the heart, the Byzantine Icons, the Byzantine music. This is Orthodoxy.

An Introduction to the “Orthodox Church”
The Orthodox Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27). It is the living manifestation of His presence in the history of the mankind.

The most conspicuous characteristics of Orthodox Christianity are its faithfulness to the Apostolic tradition and its rich liturgical life. Orthodox Christians believe that their Church has preserved the tradition and continuity of the ancient Church in its fullness.

It is a simple objective, or academic, fact that the Orthodox Church today maintains and continues the faith and practices of first-millennium Christianity. It is also an objective reality that the Roman Catholic Church and Her Protestant denominations departed from that common tradition of the Church of the first ten centuries.

This simple, straightforward reality is why the Roman Catholic Church in its Second Vatican Council Decree On Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, describes the Orthodox Church under the sub-heading, The Special Consideration of the Eastern Churches, and states, “These (Orthodox) Churches, although separated from us, possess true sacraments, above all by Apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are linked with us in closest intimacy.

It cannot, of course, be stated any other way from the Roman Catholic perspective, because the Orthodox Church is the Roman Catholic Church of the first millennium of Christianity. Whether the changes in theology – especially in Christology, Soteriology, and Ecceklsiology – expressed by the Roman Catholic Church and even moreso by her Proterstsant denominations are “correct” or otherwise, is a matter of theological opinion and perspective. That these differ from the first thousand years of undivided Christianity, however, is objectively factual.

The Orthodox Church in twenty-first century numbers approximately 300 million Christians worldwide who follow the faith and practices that were defined by the first seven Ecumenical Councils. The word “orthodox” (“right belief and right worship”) has traditionally been used, in the Greek-speaking Christian world, to designate communities, or individuals, who preserved the unchanged faith (as defined by those councils), as opposed to those who professed new and/or different doctrines and were declared heretical. The official designation of the Church in its liturgical and canonical texts is “the Orthodox Catholic Church” (in Greek καθολικός, catholicos, which means “general” or “universal”).

The Orthodox Church is a family of “autocephalous” (self-governing) Churches, preserving the first millennium ecclesiology of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church differs from the earlier model of governance and is a centralized organization headed by a universal pontiff (pope). The Anglican Communion more closely resembles the organization of Orthodox Church as a “worldwide communion of churches.”

The unity of the Orthodox Church is manifested in the universal confession of a common faith and through communion in the Sacraments. Not having a pontiff, the Orthodox regard no one but Christ Himself as the real head of the Church.

The number of autocephalous Churches has varied throughout history, and Rome was once one of these. Today there are fourteen Churches: the four patriarchal Churches of Constantinople (referred to in Turkish as “Istanbul”), Alexandria (in Egypt), Antioch (with its See in Damascus, Syria), and Jerusalem, as well as the ten national Churches of Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania and the Czech and Slovak Republics

There are also “autonomous” churches which retain a canonical dependence upon one of the above-mentioned mother autocephalous Churches: Sinai, Crete, Finland, and Ukraine. In addition within the large Orthodox Diaspora scattered all over the world and administratively divided among various jurisdictions there are ecclesiastical “Eparchies” (provinces) dependent on one of the above-mentioned autocephalous Churches.

The archbishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, is referred to as the “Ecumenical (οἰκουμενικό, which means “global” or “universal”) Patriarch of Constantinople,” holds titular or honorary primacy as primus inter pares (Latin for “first among equals”).

The order of precedence in which the autocephalous churches are listed does not reflect their actual influence or numerical importance. The Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, for example, present only shadows of their past glory. Yet there remains a consensus that Constantinople’s primacy of honor, recognized by the ancient canons because it was the capital of the ancient Byzantine empire, should remain as a symbol and tool of church unity and cooperation.

Modern pan-Orthodox conferences were thus convoked by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Several of the autocephalous churches are de facto national churches, by far the largest being the Russian Church It is not the criterion of nationality, however, but rather the territorial principle that is the norm of organization in the Orthodox Church.

In the wider theological sense “Orthodoxy is not merely an earthly organization which is headed by patriarchs, bishops and priests who hold the ministry in a Church which officially is called “Orthodox.” Rather, Orthodoxy is the mystical “Body of Christ,” the Head of which is Christ Himself (cf. Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18, 24 et seq.).

The composition of the Church includes not only priests but all who truly believe in Christ, who have entered into the Church He founded in a lawful way through Holy Baptism, those who are living upon the earth and those who have died in the Faith and in piety.

The Great Schism between the Eastern and the Western Church (nominally dated as occurring in AD 1054) was the culmination of a gradual process of estrangement between the east and west that began in the first centuries of the Christian Era and continued through the Middle Ages. Linguistic and cultural differences, as well as political events, contributed to the estrangement.

From the 4th to the 11th century, Constantinople, the center of Eastern Christianity, was also the capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire, while Rome, after the barbarian invasions, fell under the influence of the Holy Roman Empire of the West, a political rival. Theology in the West remained under the influence of Saint Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) and gradually lost its immediate contact with the rich theological tradition of the Christian East.

Most significantly, the Roman See was almost completely overtaken by the Franks who also began reformulating the theology of Western Christendom. Concurrently, the Orthodox East was increasingly subjugated by the followers of Islam which, while making life very difficult, allowed the Orthodox Church to fervently and faithfully maintain its theology unchanged and unaffected.

Theological differences could possibly have been settled if there had not been two different concepts of church authority. On the one hand, the concept of a Roman primacy developed, based on the concept of the Apostolic origin of the Church of Rome which claimed not only titular but also jurisdictional authority above other churches, and was incompatible with the traditional ecclesiology of the historical Christian Church.

On the other hand, the Eastern Christians considered all churches as sister churches and understood the primacy of the Roman bishop only as primus inter pares among his brother bishops. For the East, the highest authority in settling doctrinal disputes could by no means be the authority of a single Church or a single bishop but an Ecumenical Council of all sister churches.

Over the course of time the Church of Rome also adopted various new doctrines, and even proclaimed certain new dogmas, which were not part of the Tradition of the undivided Christian Church of the first millennium. The Protestant Reformation of the fifteenth century further fractured Western Christian theology and ecclesiology, to the extent that at the beginning of the twenty-first century there are estimated to be over 30,000 independent Protestant denominations.

The Roman Catholic proclamation by Pius IX in 1870 of papal infallibility as dogma, further widened the ecclesiological differences between the Christian East and West. The Protestant communities which split from Rome have also diverged significantly from the Christological and soteriological teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Holy Ecumenical Councils of the first millennium. Due to all of these serious dogmatic differences, the Orthodox Church cannot be in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and/or her Protestant denominations.

Some very conservative Orthodox hierarchs (bishops) and theologians do not recognize the ecclesial and salvific character of these Western churches at all. Some more liberal ones accept that the Holy Spirit acts to a certain degree within these communities although they do not possess the fullness of grace and spiritual gifts as does the Orthodox Church.

Many serious Orthodox theologians are of the opinion that between the Orthodox Church and the heterodox confessions – especially in the spheres of spiritual experience, the understanding of God, and salvation – there exists an ontological difference which cannot be simply ascribed to cultural and intellectual estrangement of the East and West but which is a direct consequence of a gradual abandonment of the sacred tradition by heterodox Christians.

At the time of the Schism of AD 1054 between Rome and Constantinople, the membership of the Eastern Orthodox Church was spread throughout the Middle East, the Balkans, and Russia, with its center in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which was also called New Rome. The vicissitudes of history have greatly modified the internal structures of the Orthodox Church, but, even today, the bulk of its members live in these same geographic areas.

Missionary expansion toward Asia and emigration toward the West, however, have helped to maintain the importance of Orthodoxy worldwide. Today, the Orthodox Church is present almost everywhere in the world and is bearing witness of true, Apostolic and patristic tradition to all peoples.

The Orthodox Church is well known for its developed monasticism. The uninterrupted monastic tradition of Orthodox Christianity can be traced from the Egyptian desert monasteries of the 3rd and 4th centuries. Soon monasticism had spread all over the Mediterranean basin and Europe: in Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia, Gaul, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and the Slavic countries. Monasticism has always been a beacon of Orthodoxy which has made, and continues to make, a strong and lasting impact on Orthodox spirituality.

The Orthodox Church today is an invaluable treasury of the rich liturgical tradition handed down from the earliest centuries of Christianity. The sense of the sacred, the beauty and grandeur of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, make the presence of heaven on earth alive, experiential, and intensive.

Orthodox Church art and music has a very functional role in the liturgical life and helps even the five bodily senses participate in, and experience, the spiritual grandeur of the Lord’s mysteries.

Orthodox icons are not simply beautiful works of art which have certain aesthetic and didactic functions. They are primarily the means through which we experience the reality of the Heavenly Kingdom on earth. The holy icons enshrine the immeasurable depth of the mystery of Christ’s incarnation in defense of which thousands of martyrs sacrificed their lives.

Sources:

http://www.eospirituality.com/2016/08/an-introduction-to-orthodox-church.html
http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/orthodoxy.aspx

More information?
Please contact us!
Do not hesitate to call us for more information. You may contact our priest, Father Luke Uhl, at either:

phone: 970-242-9590
email: fr.luke@denver.goarch.org

Resource Page Links:

Our Faith Articles
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The Lives of the Saints
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Discover Orthodoxy
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Orthodox Christianity
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Questions & Answers
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The Jesus Prayer
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Daily Prayers
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30 Sayings of Ascetic Fathers – An Introduction to Orthodox Spiritual Contemplation

Introductory Videos::


Ten Fun Facts About the Orthodox Church


Five Misconceptions About the Orthodox Church


What Is the Orthodox Church


One Thing That Surprised Me About Orthodoxy

Videos from the series
“Welcome to the
Orthodox Church”
on
by Khouria Frederica
Matthews-Green:


Orthodox Worship Space


Divine Liturgy Overview


Orthodox Fasting
and the “Coffee Hour”


About Vespers
(Evening Worship)


Choir and Chanters


Why We Repeat
“Lord Have Mercy?”


Incense in Worship


Sign of the Cross,
Icons, and Traditions


Why we Practice
Closed Communion


Experiencing
More of God


About the
“Jesus Prayer”


The Orthodox Home

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