The Antiochian Orthodox Church History
The Orthodox Church is the first and oldest Christian Church. It started in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. with the descent of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). The Christian Church can be said to have started much earlier when Our Lord started His teaching, miracles and wonders. The teaching and miracles Jesus used to manifest God’s power and glory.
It served as a means of increasing the faith of all who witnessed and especially the Apostles/Disciples. This we learn from the Gospel of John at the first miracle at Cana: “…and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. ” (John 2:11). So we see from the beginning, that Jesus is the founder of the Church.
He selected the twelve as the Apostles who became the eye witnesses of the Faith. After three years of teaching, the Lord was ready to complete the Scriptures and the will of God in suffering and dying on the Cross. After He rose from the dead, Jesus commissioned his disciples to teach others: “…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matt 28:20) Jesus also promises to be with His disciples always: “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) and to be sure nothing taught is forgotten or lost Jesus yet promises to send us the Helper to make sure we are guided in all truth:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26). From this we know that Our God guides his Church. The Church was guided through persecutions and troubles, many martyrs died for the name of Jesus Christ. In fact if it was not for these holy men that were guided by God Himself there would be no Church today.
The real question is how can God, who founded the Church, guided his Church through the first thousand years. For example, the New Testament was written by the Holy Orthodox Church, as well as the Creed, the service books and the canons. The truth about the interpretation of Scripture we are told by the Apostle Peter as: “…that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:20-21) This tells us that Scripture is to be interpreted by holy men guided by the Holy Spirit. (The Orthodox Study Bible)
The Church for about the first one thousand years was essentially one. It was comprised of five patriarchal centers:
Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople. These centers were in full communion with each other. In 1054, Rome pulled away from the other four centers while pursuing her claim of headship over the Church. The Church regarded Rome in place of honor as among equals and there is no other head apart from Jesus Christ our Lord.