If you make a quick search for “Orthodox Church” or something similar, you will find hundred of thousands of website, article and books out there. This presents the reader with two problems:
- How to separate the fake (90%+) from the real thing (under 10%)?
- How to find the time and energy to plow through such a wealth of information?
The bad new is this: original Christianity, which today still exists under the general designation “traditional Orthodoxy” is a very complex religion, especially for those raised in our modern times and who have been exposed to the pseudo-Christianity which is so prevalent out there. The fact is that if you want to get a grasp of what traditional, original, Christianity was, and still is, like you need to do a lot of studying, nobody can do that for you and complex and subtle topic cannot be squeezed into a few pious slogans.
Finally, no amount of reading can replace the actual experience of participating in a church service or, even better, visiting an Orthodox monastery. But these are options which are not always accessible, especially considering the relatively small size of the true Orthodox parishes and monasteries (especially compared with the “official”, i.e. state supported) jurisdictions.
The good news: there are some very good sources easily available online.
Today all I want to do is give you a few sources you can consult to get some general information about true Orthodox Christianity. Again, they are not “perfect” and neither can they be compared with truly authoritative sources such as the Church Fathers. But as a first step into the discover of true Christianity, they can be very helpful.
First, a series of books on Orthodox ecclesiology (what/where is the Church?) which are available online:
- Saint Cyprian of Cartage “On the Unity of the Church”
- Saint Metropolitan Philaret “Will the Heterodox Be Saved?“
- Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili “And Who Is My Neighbor?“
- Alexei Khomiakov “The Church is One”
- Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky) “Christianity or the Church”
- Right Reverend Photios, Bishop of Triaditza, “Orthodox Unity Today”
- Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky “On the Church”
- St. Justin (Popovich) “The Attributes of the Church”
- Dr. Alexander Kalomiros “Orthodox Ecclesiology”
- Saint John Chrysostom “The Character and Temptations of a Bishop”
- Archpriest Georges Florovsky “The Catholicty of the Church”
- Archpriest Georges Florovsky “The Limits of the Church”
- Archpriest Georges Florovsky “On Church and Tradition”
- Hieromonk Seraphim Rose “The Royal Path: True Orthodoxy in an Age of Apostasy“
- Bishop Artemije of Raška and Prizren “Deification as the End and Fulfillment of Salvation According to St. Maximos the Confessor“
Most of the articles/books listed above discuss the question of “what is the Church” and this is an absolutely crucial topic since neither the Latins nor the Protestants have kept the original understanding of what the Church really is.
The following documents are also very helpful:
Next, I would like to point you to the many excellent articles/talks of Father Steven Allen which you can find here:
While I don’t always agree with everything Father Steven says, I am absolutely amazed at the wealth of precious information he presents and I highly recommend all his sites and lectures (and, if you can, please consider supporting his work with a donation).
Next, there is the website by Father Alexander (later bishop): https://www.fatheralexander.org/ which offers excellent information in FOUR languages (English, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish).
There there is also this website: http://orthodoxinfo.com/ which also contains a wealth of good article, however I must mention one caveat: the author is this website originally was part of the Traditionalist Orthodox Church, but left it for personal reasons and then purged his site of most of the information which it contained originally about traditional Orthodoxy.
On our (very slowly progressing) site “History of the Orthodox People” we posted to crucial books which I also highly recommend:
I hope that the above list will be helpful to at least some of the readers. At the very least, now you have options from online audio lectures, to full books, to short(er) articles, etc. Any of them could be helpful to you, it all depends on your own preferences and availability.
In my next vignette, I will try to explain why there is not quick and easy way to gain the kind of minimal knowledge to begin to understand the real nature of the original Christian Church. Please consider the above as a suggested reading list as a background for future vignettes.
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I, Andrei Raevsky, aka The Saker, have absolutely no authority whatsoever to teach anything to anyone. None. Zero. Ziltch. Nada! The “Christian Vignettes” are NOT a catechism, or a course in dogmatics or anything else formal. These vignettes are only one guy’s strictly personal musings on various topics. Nothing more.