Our History

Western Rite Orthodox Church History

During the days immediately following Christ’s death, the Apostles were confronted by an issue upon which there was not agreement. The question of whether a Gentile had to first be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses before they could become a Christian. A Council was convened in Jerusalem attended by all 12 Apostles and St. James presided. By the light of the Holy Spirit the Apostles ruled that new Christians did not first need to be circumcised or follow the law of Moses.

This meeting was extremely important not only because of its outcome, but because it established a principle that would guide the Church. No one Apostle or other person was infallible. However when meeting in council under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the decisions have the authority of the Spirit for all the Church and are of greater authority than the word of any individual.

First Council of all Christian Bishops

In AD 325 in Nicaea the first Council of all Christian Bishops was called by Emperor Constantine. In all there were seven such councils that were called to settle various disputes and challenges to the Christen faith, the final of which was in AD 787. One outcome of the first and second of these councils was the written summary of the true Faith – the Creed.

Since the first four of these councils the term most used to denote our believes has been “Orthodox”. It comes from Greek ortho meaning correct or straight and doxa meaning glory or worship. The Orthodox are those who worship God truly and rightfully, with true belief.

The First Thousand Years

For the first thousand years of her history the Church was essentially one. Five historic Patriarchal centers – Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople – formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with each other. There were occasional splinter groups going their own way, but to be sure the Church was unified until the 11th century. Then in events culminating in AD 1054, the Patriarch of Rome (by now considered the western church) pulled away from the other four, pursuing his long developing claim of head of all the Church.

The worship of the Church has always been sensitive to the diverse cultural and linguistic expressions of the true Faith through out the world. Prior to the great breaking up of the Church in AD 1054, the East and West held the Catholic faith in common, but utilized variations of the Eucharistic liturgies to express that faith.

Deep Rooted Faith

The rich Orthodox faith is of most interest to persons with a background in deep rooted faith. People with a liturgical background will be very comfortable with the Western Rite.