History of Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy traces its origin to the First Century and is built on the Foundation of Christ and His Apostles. Scholars estimate there are over 2600 groups today who lay claim to being the Church, or at least the direct descendants of the church described in the New Testaments.
But 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 heretical or schismatic groups going their own way, to be sure, but the Church was unified until the 11th century. Then, in events culminating in A.D.1054, the Roman Patriarch pulled away from the other four, pursuing his long-developing claim of universal leadership of the Church.
Today, nearly a thousand years later, the other four Patriarchates remain intact, in full communion, maintaining that Orthodox Apostolic faith of the inspired New Testament record.
View the Timeline of the Orthodox Church History to trace the birth and continuity of the Orthodox Church from Pentecost to the present.
Orthodox Church in America
Orthodoxy in North America began in 1794 by missionaries who labored in Alaska, San Francisco and along the West coast. Today there are some 2,000 communities of various ethnic background throughout North America.