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The Orthodox Church

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Introduction

Most people think of religion in terms of the "Big Three"-Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. But the Orthodox like Protestants, they are not one monolith with uniform beliefs. On the other hand, there are distinctives that set them apart from Protestants. The Orthodox Church is one of the three major branches of Christianity, which stands in historical continuity with the communities created by the apostles of Jesus in the region of the eastern Mediterranean, and which spread by missionary activity throughout Eastern Europe. The word "Orthodox" means "true or right belief and worship." It. implies the claim of doctrinal reliability with apostolic truth. The Orthodox Church has also established communities in Western Europe, the western hemisphere, and, more recently, Africa and Asia, and it currently has more than 174 million adherents throughout the world. Other designations, such as Orthodox Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox, are also used in reference to the Orthodox Church. The ancient patriarchates of the Orthodox Church were often the locus of large religious gatherings and the administrative organization of the patriarch. Though not the head of the church like the pope in Roman Catholicism, patriarchs perform administrative functions that include organizing councils for their communities. The four great ancient patriarchates (besides Rome) were Constantinople, Alexandria, Damascus, and Jerusalem. The Orthodox Church is not a single church but rather a family of 13 "autocephalous," or self-governing, churches. They are united in their understanding of the sacraments, doctrine, liturgy, and church government, but each adjusts its own affairs. ...read more.

Middle

Representations of the archangels Gabriel and Michael, the 12 Apostles, the feasts of the church, and the prophets of the Old Testament are arranged on the iconostasis in complicated patterns, with all figures facing the royal doors. 3) Icons Eastern Church Icon Ornately decorated icons fill Orthodox Churches. Such icons are unique to the Eastern Church and exemplify a marked departure from Old Testament doctrine, which forbids making images of God (the Second Commandment). The Old Testament Trinity Prefiguring the Incarnation (circa 1410) is an example of a Byzantine icon painted by the 15th-century Russian artist Andrei Rublev. It is a depiction of the three angels who appeared to Abraham near the oaks of Mamre in Genesis 18:2-15. Religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. This central function of religious images (icons)-unparalleled in any other Christian tradition. God is indeed invisible and indescribable in his essence, but when the Son of God became man, he voluntarily assumed all the characteristics of created nature, including describability. Consequently, images of Christ, as man, affirm the truth of God's real incarnation. Because divine life shines through Christ's risen and glorified humanity, the function of the artist consists in conveying the very mystery of the Christian faith through art. Furthermore, because the icons of Christ and the saints provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images should be objects of "veneration", even though worship is addressed to God alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

These texts, most composed between the fourth to the eleventh centuries, represent the highest achievement of medieval Greek Christian culture. "O Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, Treasurer of blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls O Good One." - One of the Orthodox Trisagion Prayers In my conclusion I will be answering the task set for this project, which was: To write a report on why you think the Orthodox Church and worship had such an effect on Clara. The main reason is, it gives her a new perspective of Christian worship in the form of singing hymns, praying together and the diversified church service. The details of how Orthodox Churches conduct their services, their history and what they have in store for future worshippers are mentioned in this project. I am sure the physical environment (i.e. Buildings, paintings, icons etc.) around Clara in the Orthodox Church plays a part in attracting her to this kind of service. Hence I also discuss about the distinctive design of these churches. The liturgy has developed continuously, yet in all ages, Orthodox worship has sought to offer the faithful a unique vision and experience. The Orthodox believe that through the Holy Spirit, Christ descends to give us his Word and his body and blood. At the same time Clara was transported to where he is, so that every time the church gathers for worship, she experiences a foretaste of the kingdom. 1 ...read more.

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