What is the Greek Orthodox Church?
In the beginning was the word. And the Word was God. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is testimony to that word. The first Church, the Orthodox Church, began with Christ and His apostles. From the beginning of the Christian era, the Orthodox Church has always existed, without interruption. Throughout the centuries the same teachings, the same principles, the same head have remained: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is the "same congregation or ecclesia which was born at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on Pentecost. In many places already mentioned in the New Testament this congregation has remained the same throughout history. The Orthodox Church does not need to give proof of its historical authenticity; it is simply the direct continuation of the Church of the Apostolic Age."
The word "Orthodox" means "right faith", and the expression of that faith. Today, there are approximately 250-300 million Greek Orthodox Christians in the world. Although, the Church is called "Greek" Orthodox, the parishioners are not all of Greek descent. As all parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church are not Roman.
In the year 313 A.D., Emperor Constantine granted freedom of worship to all Christians to worship without fear of persecution. With this freedom came the problems of establishing the "Whole body of the One Christian Church"; the person of Christ; the Trinity; the Sacraments; Church structure; and the administration of Christ’s Church on earth.
In the year 325, the first Ecumenical Synod met in Nicaea. The Synod was formed of representatives from the Christian centers, the Patriarchates. They came from Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. Seven meetings of the Ecumenical Synod over the years put forth the theology and dogma of the One, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
In the years that followed, Rome tried to enforce her rule on the Church. Politically, East and West could not agree; Intellectually, they could not communicate; Spiritually and Liturgically, they had grown apart.
In 1054, a representative of Pope Leo IX placed a Bull of Excommunication on the Altar of St. Sophia in Constantinople. The Eastern Patriarchates did the same to Rome. The schism was now complete; there were two Churches: The Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic.
Many differences divided the two Churches. Amongst them were the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Pope and the Doctrine of Purgatory; both of which the Orthodox Church reject! Several hundred years later, the Protestant Reformation took place, dividing the Roman Church. From that division came the other Christian denominations that exist today.
The Greek Orthodox Church Has Remained Unchanged!
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church: The Savior of mankind, perfect Man and perfect God, Who offered Himself for the redemption of the human race and through His Resurrection, vanquished death and granted us life eternal. That through the Church and the Sacraments, man achieves eternal life with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, guiding, in its ever-presence, the life of the Church and her people.