Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-13а [08фев06]
Short overview of the History of the Christian Church. It gives us an idea about the main events in the history of Christianity.
The Orthodox Church is the original New Testament Church that was established by Jesus Christ and His apostles. This is described in the Epistle of the New Testament, and especially in the Book of Acts. Orthodox Church is made up of national Churches (at present around 12) which are all headed by a local Patriarch. They are all administratively independent from each other and are all equal in status. The Head of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ Himself and there is no governing or administrative body for the whole Orthodox Church.
1. Beginning of the Church. The history of the Christian Church begins with the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Pentecost) (Acts 2:1-4) (this day is a big holy day in the Orthodox Church). The Holy Spirit came onto the apostles and they became braver, more courageous and mannish, and started to speak in languages that they did not know before. Apostles -- basically fisherman, without any education, began to successfully preach Jesus Christ's teaching in various towns and cities.
2. Five Ancient Churches.
The result of preaching by the apostles, was the establishment of Christian communities in major cities. Later these communities became Churches. In this manner five ancient Churches
(1) Church of Jerusalem,
(2) Church of Antioch,
(3) Church of Alexandria,
(4) Church of Rome,
(5) Church of Constantinople.
[Antiochian Church is now also known as the Syrian Church. Constantinople (now Istanbul) is in Turkey].
3. Persecution of Christians.
First Christians were ancient Jews and they endured great persecution from Jewish leaders who did not follow Jesus Christ and did not recognize His teaching. The first Christian martyr was First Martyr St. Stefan, he was stoned to death by Jews, for Christian preaching.
4. Saints in the Church.
Saints are God loving people who somehow distinguished themselves and Christians deeply respects them. Martyrs are those saints who were tortured until their death. Martyr saints are shown on icons with a cross in their hands.
5. Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church. From the apostolic times and until our era, there is an unbroken line of Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church. Holy Fathers are called Church Writers, they became famous by their holy lives. Church writers, who are not saints are called Teachers of the Church. All of them in their works preserved apostolic tradition and explained faith and godliness. In difficult times, they protected Christianity from heretics and false teachers. Here are the most famous names: St. Aphansius the Great (297-373), St. Basil the Great (329-379), St. Gregory the Theologian (326-389) and St. John the Goldenmouth (347-407).
6. Ecumenical Councils.
When it was necessary to solve some disputable question and come with a common approach, then in the Church were called Councils. The first official Church council was conducted by apostles in 51 and it is known as the Apostolic Council. Later, in order to coordinate work and teaching of the separate Orthodox Churches, the meetings (Ecumenical Councils) of all Churches were called. On these meetings each Church was represented by many famous delegates. All Churches were equal in status and after discussion and prayer various problems were resolved. The canons (rules) of these Councils became part of the Church's teaching.
7. Holy Scripture (Bible). Holy books, that are part of Holy Scripture, were used by the Christians from the very beginning of the Church. They were finally affirmed by the Church in 51 (85th rule of the Apostolic Council), in 360 (60th rule of local Ladiokia Council), in 419 (33rd rule of local Karfagena Council), and also in 680 (2nd rule of 6th Ecumenical Council in Konstantinople).
8. Apostolic Succession.
The Apostolic Succession is a very important indicator which identifies the True Church. It means that Jesus Christ blessed His apostles to carry on His work, and the apostles blessed their students, which in turn blessed the bishops, and which blessed the priests and so on. This way, the blessing and therefore the approval originated by Jesus Christ, is on each priest in the Church.
9. Roman Church Separates, Year 1054. From the very beginnings of Christianity, in Roman Church there was a desire to be number one. The reason for this was the glory of Rome and Roman Empire, and together with it the spreading of Roman Church. In the year of 1054 the Roman Church separates from the other four Churches and became known as Roman Catholic Church. (The view of the Roman Catholic Churches is that the Orthodox Churches separated, and it calls this the Eastern Schism). Although the term Orthodox was used before, the remaining Churches, in order to emphasize their insistence on the original teaching, started to call themselves the Orthodox Churches. Later other names were used: Orthodox Christian, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Catholic etc. In common usage Orthodox Churches dropped the word "Catholic".
10. Orthodox Church after 1054. After 1054 the Orthodox Church did not introduce any new teachings or changes. New national Orthodox Churches were created by mother churches. Mother church would establish the new church, train priests and bishops and then withdraw. Local language was always used.
11. Roman Church after 1054. After 1054 the Roman Church introduced many changes. Some of them are given below:
12. Protestant Churches.
Due to many and obvious deviations of Roman Church from Christian teaching, and also because the monk Martin Luther did not know about the existence of the Orthodox Church, he requested (petitioned) in 1517 changes. This fact was the beginning of Reformation, when people started leaving Roman Church into new so called Protestant Churches. This was the movement for improvement of the Church, but the result was even worse than before.
Five Ancient Churches: | 0 AD year 1. Church of Jerusalem | 2. Church of Antioch | 51, Apostolic Council 3. Church of Alexandria | 4. Church of Rome | Ecumenical Councils: 5. Church of Constantinople | Year, #, City (Canons regarding) | | 325, 1st, Nicea I (Creed, Pascha) | | 381, 2nd, Constantinople I (Creed) | | 431, 3rd, Ephesus | | 451, 4th, Chalcedon | | 553, 5th, Constantinople II | | 680, 6th, Constantinople III | | 787, 7th, Nicea II (Icons) | | | 988: Baptism of Russia | | 1054: Church of Rome separates |------->>| | | | | 8th "Ecumenical Council" | | (Church of Rome only) | | (Not recognized by OC) No changes in teaching -->| |<-- Changes in teaching Apostolic Succession | | Apostolic Succession | | | | 1517: Luther separates | |------->>| (Reformation) | | | | | | Present Orthodox Churches -->| | | | | |<--Changes in 1. Church of Jerusalem | | | teaching 2. Church of Antioch | | | No Apostolic 3. Church of Alexandria | | | Succession 4. Church of Constantinople | | | 5. Church of Russia | | | 6. Church of Serbia | |<-Church |<--Many Protestant 7. Church of Rumania | | of Rome| communities 8. Church of Bulgaria | | | (churches) 9. Church of Albania | | | 10.*Church of Sinai | |<-21st "Ecumenical Council" 11.*Church of Greece | | (Vatican II, Ch. of Rome 12.*Church of Cyprus | | only. Not recogn. by OC) * - Without Patriarch | 2002 | 2002 | 2002
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