You know you’re an Orthodox Christian when you’ve been asked these questions many times:
1) Wait, are you Christian? / Do you believe in Jesus/Bible?
2) But you’re not Greek?
As the Good Book says, “They were first called Christians in Antioch.” Soo in other words, no, you don’t have to be Greek to be Orthodox as evidenced by the majority of Russians who are Orthodox Christian, pretty much everyone in Eastern Europe, and the majority of Christians in the Middle East.
3) So are you like Catholics?
Short answer? No. Long answer: There was a major split in the year 1054 due to the West adding the filioque phrase to the Creed and the pope claiming to be the head of the church and breaking off from the group of patriarchs from various cities who “shared power,” (and still do in the East) along with: many theological differences, and Orthodoxy is more mystical while Catholicism is more dogmatic. Lastly, there is no pressure or feeling of “guilt,” as seen in the Western denominations, despite the fact that we do have confessions.
4) So why is your Easter different?
We follow the “old calendar” while the West (Catholics and the subsequent splits from them, the Protestants/Lutherans, etc) follows the Gregorian calendar which was introduced by the Pope. This is why some places, namely Russia, celebrate Christmas in January, although most people celebrate in December. During Easter, or as we call it, Pascha, we all celebrate on the same day because it’s the most important Feast Day in the church.
5) So who was first? Bc I’ve never heard of your religion before!
This is because Orthodoxy is mostly in the East, so many Westerners aren’t aware, hence being asked these questions on the regular. There was only one Church in the beginning, The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; (Catholic means world wide). After the split of 1054, denominations “renamed” themselves. Orthodoxy is so named because “ortho” means “right/correct” and “doxy” means “practice,” as we follow the original teachings.
Now that those questions have been cleared up, 😉 I have to pray for all of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Middle East who are slowly being eradicated in the land where we were first called Christians. It saddens me deeply to see our Governor, along with many others, implement a fear mongering order declaring that no refugees will be accepted. This is inhumane and morally reprehensible, for when the United States involves itself in the Middle East to the extent that it does, we have more of an obligation than most to let these people into our nation. Don’t misinterpret me, as no matter the religion, we were all made in the image and likeness of God, and all deserve ethical treatment. I am ashamed that we are letting fear take precedence over human rights. Whenever fear guides any policy, history tells us time and time again that it has never led to anything good.