Eastern Orthodox

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The Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Eastern Rite Churches preserve many elements from the earliest form of Christianity.

The original sacred language of Christianity was Greek, not Latin. All of the books of the New Testament were written or preserved in Greek. The first eight Councils of the Church were all held in Greek territory under the patronage of the Roman Emperor, whose capital was in Constantinople after 325 AD.

Various Orthodox Churches

Catholic Encyclopedia, "Orthodox Church" and "Eastern Churches."
This Encyclopedia says that there are 16 Orthodox Churches as shown in the table below. Wikipedia has a much more elaborate "List of Orthodox Churches."
Four Eastern Patriarchates
Constantinople Turkey and Asian Minor
Alexandria Egypt
Antioch Syria
Jerusalem Israel
Cyprus Independent since the Council of Ephesus (431).
Further Schisms after the Great Schism
Russia Independent since 1589.
Greece 1850
Serbia 1879
Czernagora (Montenegro) 1765
Rumania 1885
Bulgaria In schism from Constantinople since 1872.
Austro-Hungarian Churches
Carlovitz 1765
Hermannstadt 1864
Czernovitz 1873
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1880
Separated from Church of Jerusalem
Church of Sinai One monastery that separated from the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem in 1782.

Liturgical Year

  • Twelve Great Feasts, apart from Pascha (the death and resurrection of Jesus), which is above and beyond all other feasts, form the basis of the Orthodox liturgical year, which begins on September 1. Each feast is preceded by a time of fasting.

The Twelve Great Feasts celebrate major historical events in the lives of Jesus Christ or the Theotokos (Greek, "Mother of God"). Of these, three are in the Paschal Cycle:

  • Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Pascha)
  • Ascension (forty days after Pascha)
  • Pentecost (fifty days after Pascha)

The other Great Feasts are on the Fixed Cycle:

  • The Nativity of the Theotokos (8 September)
  • The Elevation of the Holy Cross (14 September)
  • The Presentation of the Theotokos (21 November)
  • The Nativity of the Lord (25 December)
  • The Theophany (Epiphany) of the Lord (6 January)
  • The Presentation of the Lord (2 February)
  • The Annunciation (25 March)
  • The Transfiguration (6 August)
  • The Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos (15 August)