For a thousand years, from AD37-45 to AD1054-66, the people living in the British Isles and western Europe believed and worshipped God as an integral part of the undivided Orthodox Catholic Church. That Church was governed world wide by five Patriarchs, those of Constantinople (the Ecumenical Patriarch), Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. The Church in the British Isles was a local expression of the common Orthodox Christian Faith held throughout the world. The great saints of the British Isles such as Saint Aidan, Saint David, Saint Patrick, Saint Alban, Saint Chad, Saint Cuthbert, Saint Boniface, Saint Dunstan etc., were all members of that Orthodox Catholic Church in the British Isles which continued for a thousand years.
The initial split in the world wide Church occurred just after the beginning of the second millennium, when the Patriarch of Rome and his people parted from the majority of the Church led by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other three Patriarchs. Throughout the second millennium, the church adhering to the Pope (Patriarch) of Rome, continued to split and further split until today there are some ten thousand separate groups or churches.
The original Church, the undivided Orthodox Catholic Church, continues today, still led by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, joined by the Patriarchs of Moscow, Georgia, Belgrade and Bucharest. During the past millennium, the Church has expanded, with Russia and the Slavic Churches having the largest number of Orthodox people in the world today. The Church founded by Christ and spread by His Apostles and Evangelists - the Orthodox Church - numbers hundreds of millions of members today, and is rapidly expanding on all the continents and especially in the western countries.



An excerpt from The Christian East, Volume IV, No. 2, May 1923

The Czecho-Slovak Church arose from the withdrawal, in the year 1920, of a certain part of the Czecho-Slovak people from the Roman Catholic Church. This new Church, at its mass-meeting held in Prague on the 8th of January, 1921, rejected both the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman bishops, as well as their religious absolutism and religious mechanism which is ruling the Roman Church.

Dogmatically, this new Church stands, according to the decrees of the ecclesiastical mass-meeting held January 8th, 1921, upon the foundation of the Holy Scriptures, the Nicene Creed, and the Seven Oecumenical Councils. This decree was reaffirmed at the ecclesiastical meeting in Prague, held August 28th, 1921. At this meeting it was also declared that the name of the new Church shall be "The Czecho-Slovak Orthodox Church." Further, it was declared that the Church desires to be affiliated with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. In accordance with these basic decisions, the first Bishop [Gorazd Pavlik] was consecrated at the hands of the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church at a session of the Holy Synod of that Church held in Belgrade, September 25th, 1921.

The Czecho-Slovak Orthodox Church defines its own liturgy and orders within the limits of autonomy, best befitting the mentality of the Western Europeans. Thus the Czecho-Slovak Orthodox Church is half-way between the Eastern Orthodox Churches, with whose dogmas it fundamentally agrees, and the Western Episcopal Churches, with which it shares common practices, namely, the Missal or Liturgy in the language of the people, a common confession, and freedom of the clergy to marry.

The spiritual phase of the Czecho-Slovak Orthodox Church is apparent in the awakening of the great masses of the people to a religious life, large attendances at the Divine Services as well as at the Holy Communion, diligent reading of the Holy Scriptures, the moral transformation of their daily life, the cultivation of brotherly love and cheerful sacrifice. There is nothing like it at present in Central and Western Europe. It seems as if the Divine Grace were shed abroad upon the nation [101/102] in an extraordinary manner, after centuries of suffering under the yoke of foreign oppression, both political and spiritual.