Orthodoxy refers to a set of beliefs and practices within Christianity that are associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian denominations, tracing its roots back to the early Christian church in the Byzantine Empire. Today, it is one of the largest Christian denominations in the world, with an estimated 250 million adherents worldwide.
At the heart of Orthodox Christianity is the belief in the Holy Trinity, which consists of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. Orthodox Christians believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, whereas in the West, Christians believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Other key beliefs include the importance of tradition, the sacraments, and the role of the Church as the body of Christ.
One of the distinctive features of Orthodoxy is its emphasis on tradition. Orthodox Christians believe that the teachings and practices of the Church have been handed down from the apostles and preserved through the centuries. This means that there is a great deal of emphasis on the writings of the Church Fathers, as well as on the liturgy and other aspects of worship. Many Orthodox Christians also place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of icons, which are images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. These icons are considered to be windows into the spiritual realm and are often used in prayer and meditation.
The sacraments are also an important part of Orthodox Christianity. There are seven sacraments in total, which include baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion), confession, holy orders, marriage, and the anointing of the sick. Orthodox Christians believe that these sacraments are channels of grace through which God works in the lives of believers.
Finally, the Orthodox Church places a great deal of emphasis on the role of the Church as the body of Christ. This means that the Church is not just a building or an institution, but is rather a community of believers who are united in their faith and worship. Orthodox Christians believe that the Church has a spiritual authority that comes from Christ himself and that this authority is exercised through the bishops, who are seen as the successors of the apostles.
Overall, Orthodoxy is a rich and complex tradition that has its roots in the early Christian church. Its emphasis on tradition, sacraments and the role of the Church as the body of Christ make it a distinctive and important part of the Christian faith.