Orthodox Christianity

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The form of Christianity maintained by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox means “correct in teaching”; Orthodox Christians consider the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches to be incorrect in some teachings, including the relations between the persons of the Trinity.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


What is Orthodox Christianity?

Orthodox Christianity is the religion of the Eastern Orthodox Church and one of the three main groups of Christianity.

Christianity is a major religion that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. While initially one religion, Christianity has experienced several divisions over the 2,000 years since Jesus died, the first being between Orthodox Christianity and the rest of the Christian world.

Two major events contributed heavily to this division. The first was the Schism of 1054, also called the Great Schism and the East-West Schism. At that time, Pope Leo IX, leader of the Western Christian church, and Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople, simultaneously excommunicated each other. In other words, they each excluded the other from their church.

The second event was the infamous Fourth Crusade. In 1204, Western Christian knights sacked the city of Constantinople, which was also Christian. This essentially ended any hope of mending relations between the Churches of East and West.

Today, Orthodox Christianitiy has over 200 million followers. The majority of Orthodox Christians live in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Why is Orthodox Christianity important?

Orthodox comes from the Greek orthódoxos, meaning “correct opinion.” Orthodox Christians believe their form of Christianity is correct, and that some of the teachings of Catholicism and Protestantism are wrong.

Despite attempts by both sides to reconcile, Christianity still remains divided today. According to recent studies, Orthodox Christianity is the third most popular form of Christianity, after Catholicism and Protestantism and around 12% of the world’s Christians follow Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christianity is mostly centered in Eastern Europe, especially in the Balkans and former Soviet Union countries.

Did you know … ?

The country with the largest following of Orthodox Christianity outside of Europe is Ethiopia, with around 36 million followers and around 14% of the world’s Orthodox population. The Ethiopian patriarchate was formally established in 1959.

What are real-life examples of Orthodox Christianity?

In this video, an Orthodox priest explains some of the important differences between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism:


There are over 200 million followers of Orthodox Christianity that discuss it nearly every day.


What other words are related to Orthodox Christianity?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

Orthodox Christianity is the religion of the Western Church.

How to use Orthodox Christianity in a sentence