About Orthodox Christianity

What is the Orthodox Christian Church?

The Holy Orthodox Church, also known as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the original, pre-denominational Church, which has believed, taught, preserved, and defended the faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago.

Worldwide, the Orthodox Church is a communion of local Churches, bound together by apostolic succession, history, Faith, Creed, Ecumenical Councils, canons, and liturgy. 

It is the second-largest Christian group in the world. Estimates worldwide range from 250–350 million members, while estimates of American members range from 1–2 million. The Orthodox Church is one of the fastest-growing Churches in America.

Our faith has been handed down across the centuries in unbroken apostolic succession, showing the trustworthiness of Christ's words: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age."

The Heart of our Faith: Jesus Christ and His Church

The eyes of all creation are set on the Son of God. He is its center. All finds its harmony in Him, for all was made through Him.

Yet when the eyes of men's hearts turned from God, each to his own way, harmony was lost. Discord entered into man: first, internally, as the law of sin and death initiated a battle in each soul between good and evil; then in man's relationships, as murder and war followed; and then also throughout all creation, as all things were subjected to frustration and decay.

Death, strife, war, decay: the results of hearts grown cold to the radiant light of God. Truly, all we like sheep have gone astray.

Yet into this harsh winter, the Sun of Righteousness rose and created Spring. God's Son became man in the Person of Jesus Christ, took our evil upon Himself, and was crucified as a perfect sacrifice. 

Then He rose from the dead, reversing our bondage to corruption, and reuniting all that had become dividedman interiorly, God and man, man with man, heaven and earth—that God might be all in all. Peace means harmony within and harmony between beings. And Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.

St Christina is committed to participating in our Lord's awesome reconciling work by being the Body of Christ in the South and East Bay areas. 

Yet, one cannot share with another what one does not oneself possess. Peace must first be established within us, the civil war in our souls expelled.

For that, the hospital of the Church is needed.

In the Church, Christ binds up our wounds, heals our infirmities, forgives our iniquities, and straightens our paths. The chief act of our faith is to look to Christ. And in doing so, we look also to His Body, the Church. For the Church is the Divine-human organism Christ established with His very life for the life of the world. The Church is Christ's means of healing and saving the world.

In the Church, we join all creation in bowing in worship before Jesus Christ, as Lord of heaven and earth.

In the Church, we learn to repentto change our waysand to walk in His ways, which we practice day by day in home, school, and workplace.

In the Church, we are nourished by the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments); strengthened by prayer, fasting and almsgiving; heartened by fellowship; and sustained by the prayers of the Saints.

The Church, in brief, is the new creation, the mystical entrance of God's peaceable Kingdom on earth.

If anyone has such purity of mental vision that he is able to see, to some degree, what is promised by the Lord in His Beatitudes, he will despise every human voice as having no power to set forth what is meant by them.

On the other hand, if anyone still immersed in material matters has the clear vision of his soul blurred by some bleary-eyed condition, any treatise will be futile as far as he is concerned. For any verbal explanation of light is useless and idle to a person blind from birth, because it is not possible to visualize the brilliance of the sun through the ear.

In the same way, each individual needs with his own eyes to see the beauty of the true and intelligible light.

The one who does see it, through some divine gift and unexplainable inspiration, is astonished in the depths of his consciousness; the one who cannot see will not realize what he has missed.

St Gregory of Nyssa (+ c. 395)

Orthodox Christian Worship

We warmly invite you to experience our worship and welcome your visit. We worship with all our senses and being: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Icons, colors, incense, litanies, bows, chanting, Holy Scripture, fasting, bells, teaching, choreography: a surfeit of beauty and knowledge ... worship involving all of creation, fit for the King of creation!

If you have any questions about your visit, please contact one of our clergy or greeters. There is ample time to "meet and greet" following most services.

First-time visitors may also find this article helpful: 12 Things I Wish I’d Known.

Learn More

St Christina's periodically offers an Orthodoxy 101 course, to introduce basic themes of the Christian life. Contact the parish for details.

We also invite you to have a conversation with our priest. See here for contact information.