An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches / Edition 1

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This clear and accessible introduction describes the history and the character of the Orthodox Churches of the Christian East from the accession of the Emperor Constantine in 312 to the present day. It includes the various national Orthodox Churches - both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian - and also the Church of the East and the Greek Catholic Churches. There are both common traditions shared by these Churches but also different and sometimes divisive local characteristics. The distinctive Orthodox approaches to the themes of liturgy, theology, monastic life and spirituality, icons, popular religion, mission, politics and the issues which divide East and West are discussed in turn. A final chapter presents the response of the Churches to their new freedom following the collapse of Communist governments and the prospects for the future. An understanding of other Church traditions can open up fresh ways of looking at our own faith.
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Editorial Reviews

Binns presents a history of the Orthodox Churches of the Christian East from the accession of the Emperor Constantine in 312 to the year 2000. Coverage includes, for example, liturgical practices, doctrine, iconography, the monastic tradition, and the response of the Churches to the collapse of Communism. Binns is Director of the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"[An] extensive introductory treatment of the historical complexity of the Orthodox churches and a careful examination of virtually every element generally regarded as belonging to the distinctive theological and spiritual vision of Eastern Christendom. This more inclusive treatment of Orthodox communities is refreshing and desperately needed for historical and theological accuracy and depth...accomplished with remarkable clarity, depth, and understanding." Helen Creticos Theodoropoulos, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Journal of Religion

"...[a] fine work...a first-rate study and highly recommended. The author...writes clearly and competently in a carefully nuanced manner that avoids patronizing Christians of either the East or West...essential and accessible..." Paul E. Michelson, Huntington College, Journal of American Academy of Religion

"Binns is particularly good on the current state of the Orthodox Church and the problems it faces as it is forced into dialogue with other churches, other religious traditions and modernity...Binns writes well about the current divisions between progressive and reactionary strains in Orthodoxy." Christian Century

"...he treats liturgy, doctrine, icons, monasticism, popular piety, mission, church and state, the divison of Christendom into East and West, and prospects for reform and ecumenism."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521667388
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Series: Introduction to Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of maps
1 Introduction: identifying Orthodoxy 1
2 Description: a map of Orthodoxy 9
3 Liturgy: where heaven and earth meet 39
4 Doctrine: believing in the Orthodox Churches 61
5 Icons: revelation in image 97
6 Monasticism: shaping of saints 107
7 Popular piety: people, places, pilgrimage 135
8 Mission: incarnation as proclamation 143
9 Church and state: the dream of God's kingdom on earth 161
10 East and West: the division of Christendom 201
11 Prospect: a cautious reforming 233
Table of dates 251
Bibliography 253
Index 263
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