The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Its history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. For over twenty centuries it has continued in its undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today its apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ. It is also the second largest body in Christendom with 225 million people worldwide. The term “Orthodox” translates from the Greek to mean “correctly believing” and was adopted by the Church in order to distinguish itself from what was becoming a larger and larger body of non-orthodox Christian denominations.
In May, 2006, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) convened the IVth All-Diaspora Council to discuss primarily if the time had come for it to join in Eucharistic communion with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP). Almost half of all the council delegates were either opposed to the proposal or felt it was premature. This opinion was reflected in the Council Resolution, which was approved unanimously by all the delegates, and which stated that unity was desired “in the appropriate time,” after the resolution of such important matters as the continued participation of the MP in the ecumenical movement. Tragically, subsequent meetings of the ROCA Synod of Bishops did not heed the Resolution and plans for union were accelerated, even over the objections of a number of the bishops. Despite protests from within the ranks of bishops, clergy, and laypeople, on May 17, 2007, a large part of the ROCA entered into Eucharistic communion with the MP with the signing of the “Act of Canonical Communion” and is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (MP). A smaller part chose to remain loyal to the historical Russian Orthodox Church and continue the mission of the ROCA.