St. Anthony Orthodox Church is thoroughly Christian, steadfastly Trinitarian, and in full communion with the rest of worldwide Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has about 250 million members, only 1 million of which are in America. St. Anthony is under the Patriarch of Antioch - the first Church of the Gentiles (see Acts 11:19-30). For the last 2000 years, without any interruption or corruption, we have practiced this Ancient Faith the way Christ's Apostles Barnabas, Paul and Peter taught us to - without addition, and without subtraction.
We hope this website proves useful to you in learning about the Orthodox Christian Faith, and about the incredible family of dedicated believers that make up St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Christian Church.
May God the Father, His Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit who is One God, guide your journey and protect your steps.
A Bit of History
To the average American, Orthodox Christianity is foreign. The term "Orthodox" is linked to Judaism, and the huge gold dome adorned at the top our Church resembles that of a Mosque. (Actually, it was the Islamic Turks who conquered the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, took our beautiful domed Churches, knocked the crosses off, and made them into mosques - they stole our Christian domed architecture.) The only common denominator among these three faiths is that each one is monotheistic - we worship One God. The differences are how we understand God's nature (who God is), and how we worship God.
Since the Great Feast of Pentecost in 33 AD, when the Holy Spirit was sent down upon the Disciples, which occurred fifty days after Christ was raised from the dead, the Orthodox Church was established as we know it today. Over two millennia, Christianity has experienced schisms and splits, especially the Great Roman Schism of 1054 and the 16th Century Protestant Reformation, which has shattered Western Christendom into thousands of denominations. Throughout its vast history, the Orthodox Christian Church has maintained its Apostolic unity.
5 Common Misconceptions about Orthodoxy
The word "liturgy" comes from the Greek "liturgia" which means "the work of the people." Our primary work as servants of the Most High is to worship Him.
We describe the Divine Liturgy as Heaven coming down to earth, and the Church becoming an outpost of Heaven on earth. We sincerely believe that the Lord is present, as are His saints and angels. The Divine Liturgy is an extension of the Jewish Temple worship at the time of Christ and its fulfillment in the Heavenly worship described throughout John's Revelation. Orthodox worship style is the highest liturgical form in Christendom. The next closest would be the "high-church" Anglican and Lutheran liturgies which are ultimately derived from our Ancient Liturgies, and (for those who still remember it) the Roman Catholic pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. The two main Liturgies we use are those of St. John Chrysostom (+407 AD) and St. Basil the Great (+379).
These Divine Liturgies are entirely sung and chanted using only that musical instrument which God created with His own hands - the human voice. Some have likened the entire Liturgy to a single long a Capella hymn, and we would not disagree with that. The sound is angelic. Because we use the worship style from the Byzantine Empire era, it still has a somewhat Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern flavor. This is certainly different from most Protestant and Vatican II churches. After many prayers and hymns, and the Epistle and Gospel readings, there is a sermon which is much shorter than those of most Western churches. After the sermon comes the high point of the entire Liturgy - the Eucharist - where the Orthodox members who have confessed their sins partake in the Body and Blood of Christ.
Introductory Videos on Orthodoxy
[CLICK HERE] or on the button below to watch the whole series of short YouTube videos (in their proper order) on Orthodox practices and beliefs by Frederica Mathewes-Green. We would recommend watching these before you come to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy - they do a wonderful job of explaining Orthodoxy in small pieces, so it's easy to squeeze them into a busy lifestyle. The videos will open a new browser tab.
Other Useful Links
The cards below will take you to other pages on this site which you may be interested in.