The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $110.03
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 45%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $110.03   
  • New (2) from $143.40   
  • Used (3) from $110.03   


  • This important work offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of the Orthodox Church available, providing a detailed account of its historical development, as well as exploring Orthodox theology and culture
  • Written by one of the leading Orthodox historians and theologians in the English-speaking world
  • Offers an in-depth engagement with the issues surrounding Orthodoxy's relationship to the modern world, including political, cultural and ethical debates
  • Considers the belief tradition, spirituality, liturgical diversity, and Biblical heritage of the Eastern Churches; their endurance of oppressions and totalitarianisms; and their contemporary need to rediscover their voice and confidence in a new world-order
  • Recipient of a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 award
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As a handbook for what would be considered the traditional Orthodox position on matters of Christian belief, thought, and praxis, it is reliable, with relatively few omissions, and well written." (CHURCH HISTORY, June 2009)

"As a handbook for what would be considered the traditional Orthodox position on matters of Christian belief, thought and praxis, it is reliable, with relatively few omissions, and well written." (Church History, June 2009)

“Throughout he writes with passion, deep sensitivity, and a wonderful evocative clarity.” (Logos, May 2009)

"[The book] will help the Orthodox to a deeper understanding of the riches of their faith and will introduce the non-Orthodox to fresh ways of thinking about their faith, and both to a renewed engagement with the life of the church." (Ecclesiastical History, April 2009)

“The volume's detailed, comprehensive treatment will require and repay a careful reading. Summing Up: Essential.” (Choice, April 2009)

"McGuckin's hope that his book may contribute to the dialogue between East and West deserves to be realised." (Church Times, October 2008)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405150668
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/9/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Father John Anthony McGuckin is a Stavrofor Priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He is the Nielsen Professor of Early Christian and Byzantine Church History at Union Theological Seminary, and Professor of Byzantine Christianity at New York’s Columbia University. Professor McGuckin has published more than twenty books on religious and historical themes and is considered one of the most articulate spokespersons of the early Christian and Eastern Orthodox tradition writing in English today.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xi

List of Illustrations xiii

List of Abbreviations xiv

Note on Sources xv

Introduction: Strange Encounters 1

1 The Pilgrimage of the Orthodox through History 5

A Brief History of the Orthodox from the Apostolic Era to the Middle Ages 5

Perspectives of history 5

Earliest Christian foundations 7

The development of ecclesiastical centres 12

The age of the Fathers 14

Creeds and councils 17

East and West: the parting of ways 20

The Slavic mission 23

The Organization of the Orthodox Churches from Medieval to Modern Times 24

The extension of the Orthodox Church 24

Synopsis of the organization of the Orthodox churches 30

The ancient patriarchates 31

The Orthodox Church of Cyprus 44

The Church of Sinai 46

The Russian Orthodox Church (patriarchate of Moscow) 47

The wider Russian heritage 55

The Orthodox Church of Greece 61

The patriarchal Church of Bulgaria 62

The patriarchal Church of Serbia 65

The patriarchal Church of Romania 66

The Church of Georgia 70

The Church of Poland 71

The Church of Albania 72

The Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia 73

The three autonomous Orthodox churches 73

The various Orthodox diaspora communities 76

The Orthodox Church in America 80

2 The Orthodox Sense of Tradition 90

The Holy Tradition 90

Sources of Authority in Orthodoxy 100

Orthodoxy's Reading of the Scriptures 102

An ecclesial reading 103

The principle of consonance 106

The principle of authority 108

The principle of utility 109

Patristic and Conciliar Authorities 110

The Symbolical Books 111

The Pedalion (Holy Canons) 115

Tradition and Revelation 116

3 The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church I: The Glory of the Lord 120

The Christian God 120

The Holy Spirit 126

The Lord Jesus 141

The Immortal Father 158

The Holy Trinity 166

4 The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church II: The Economy of Salvation 182

Humanity and its Sufferings 182

Salvation and the Call to Ascent 198

The Song of Creation 204

The Blessed Theotokos: Joy of All Creation 210

The Dance of the Blessed: The Angels and the Saints 222

Outside the Gates: Demonology and the Enigma of Evil 234

The Church: Bride of the Lamb 238

5 The Holy Mysteries and Liturgies 277

Greater and Lesser Mysteries 277

The mystery of baptism 282

The mystery of chrismation 285

The mystical supper: communion in the Holy Eucharist 288

The eucharistic liturgy 296

The mystery of metanoia 300

The mystery of the great anointing 306

The mystery of marriage 309

The mysteries of ordination 323

The lesser blessings of the church 335

The services of prayer 336

The Trisagion prayers 338

The daily offices 339

Personal prayers 346

Traditions of Orthodox Prayer and Spirituality 346

Methods of prayer 347

Prayer of the heart 349

The Jesus Prayer 351

Hesychasm 352

Fasting and feasting 353

The Holy Icons: Doors to the Kingdom 354

Sacred art 354

The Orthodox vocabulary of worship 356

Icons and iconoclasm 357

Icons of the Lord 361

Icons of the Virgin 362

Icons of the saints 363

6 'The God-Beloved Emperor': Orthodoxy's Political Imagination 380

Caesaro-Papist Caricatures 380

Byzantine Models of Godly Rule 381

The Ambiguity of Scriptural Paradigms of Power 384

The Concept of the Priestly King 388

Dominion as Apostolic Charism 390

Patristic Ideas on Symphonia 391

New Polities in the Aftermath of Byzantium 395

7 Orthodoxy and the Contemporary World 399

The Poor at the Rich Man's Gate 399

The Grace of Peace and the Curse of War 402

Freedom in an Unfree World 408

A New Status for Women 411

Biological and Other New Ethical Environments 415

Sexual Ethics and Pastoral Care 420

Ecumenism and the Reunion of the Churches 424

Religious Pluralism in the Global Village 426

Evangelism in a New Millennium 430

Glossary of Orthodox Terminology 436

Select Bibliography 443

Index 453

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)