Orthodox Christianities

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Orthodox Christianity arrived in America through Greek colonymembers in 1768. Decades later, on Kodiak Island, Alaska, earlydevelopment of Orthodox took place. As a result, Orthodox Russianssettled in Alaska permanently. These individuals found it necessaryto spread their religious beliefs to the natives. The idea resultedin the commissioning of Russian monks to embark on the mission,referred to the Kodiak mission. They arrived at Kodiak in 1974,referred to as the establishment day of American Orthodoxy (Neusner,2009).

The religion is identified by specific characteristics. One is theworship – Orthodox Christians worship while standing, regardless ofwhether the service is long (Neusner, 2009). The only exception ischairs for the old. Worshiping and singing are crucial to thereligion. However, unlike other churches that sing with the help ofmusical instruments, the Orthodox churches have no instruments.Another trait is tradition – the Orthodox Christians have a churchcalendar. Every day of the calendar is devoted to a specific saint.The saints include those from Israel, the New Testament and thereligion’s ancestors (Neusner, 2009). Inside their churches arepictures of the saints, Christ and Virgin Mary. The altar section isdivided from other parts of the church via a wall.

Third is the doctrine – the religion does not have a centralperson appointed to communicate and represent all members of thechurch, like a Bishop is appointed to represent Catholics (Neusner,2009). Fourth is how the church is organized – it adheres to ahierarchical order, where the churches in different locations havedeacons, bishops and priests. Special honor positions are given topatriarchates. Generally, the religion is founded on the features of“liturgy, tradition and dogma” (Neusner, 2009: 81). Thesefeatures differentiate the religion from others, making it unique butcommon.


Neusner, J. (2009). World religions in America. United States:Westminister John Knox Press