St. Michael's Orthodox Church
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
1182 Ashland Street / Greensburg, PA 15601

How do Orthodox Christians view other Christian churches?

As Orthodox Christians we believe that the Holy Orthodox Church preserves the fullness and completeness of the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Western Christian churches, Protestant and Roman Catholic, have departed from some of the fullness of the truth. This does not mean that they have ceased to be Christian, but it does mean that they have lost some of the Apostolic teaching of the Church. We hope that our witness to the completeness of the ancient teachings of Christianity will help others to discover what they have lost and to seek it again.

Aren’t all Christians really part of the same invisible church?

Why do the Orthodox believe their church is “the Church” which preserves the fullness of the Christian Faith? The Orthodox Church was established by the Apostles, vanquished the early heresies of Gnosticism and Arianism, proclaimed the canon of Scripture (i.e., defined what books belong in the Bible), and defined the great Christian doctrines relating to the Trinity and the divine and human natures of Christ. Orthodox Church history can be traced from Jesus Himself, directly to modern times without interruption. It is impossible to claim that the Church is invisible. Were the churches established by the Apostles invisible? Did the formation of the Bible take place outside of history? Were not the ancient heresies defeated in history by the historical Church? The truth is, then, that the Church is visible, it has a history, and that history is identical to the Orthodox Church as it has existed down through the centuries.

What do Orthodox Christians believe is the purpose of life?

Simply put, we believe the purpose of life is for men and women to be united to God, now, and for all ages to come. We believe that through our union with God, we are enabled to grow into true humanity. Jesus Christ shows us what that true humanity is: a humanity freed of its self-centeredness and self-seeking, and thereby enabled to truly love God and all that He created (including the crown of His creation- all human beings). We believe it is our destiny to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God bestowed through the Sacraments (Mysteries), to attain the true humanity that we lost through our fall into sin.

Are non-Orthodox Christians welcome to attend an Orthodox Church service? 

Absolutely! We are overjoyed when someone joins us for worship and experiences the beauty of the Orthodox Tradition. Because the services are somewhat different than Protestant or Roman Catholic service, it is probably a good idea to email Fr. David Hyatt and tell him you intend to join us for worship. He will see that someone from the parish greets you and helps you find your way through the Service Book.

Can a non-Orthodox Christian receive Communion in the Orthodox Church? 

Unfortunately, No. The Holy Orthodox Church, in keeping with the ancient Tradition of Christianity, believes that Holy Communion is a family meal, shared between those who are under the supervision of the same Bishop, or another Bishop with whom he is in Communion. Simply put, this means that Orthodox Christians practice inter-Communion with other Orthodox Christians (as all Orthodox Bishops are in Communion with one another), but not with Protestants or Roman Catholics whose church leaders are not in Communion with Orthodox Bishops.

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