Looking for the Early Church
Did you know:
The Early Church was Liturgical
The earliest form of Christian worship derived from the Jewish temple rites. Worship consisted of readings from the Old Testament scriptures, the singing of Psalms and hymns, liturgical prayers, instruction from the priest and the sharing of Holy Communion. It was not a free for all gathering of spontaneous prayer, shouted Alleluias or altar call testimony of the faithful. It was structured such that all things be done in good order.
The Early Church was Hierarchical
From the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, authority in the Church resided in elders appointed by the Apostles and their successors. In the New Testament, there is clear reference to Deacons (diakonos), Priests (presbuteros) and Bishops (epískopos). Each Bishop was the head of his city and the clergy beneath him were bound to serve under his direction. The leaders of worship were not independent or itinerant pastors, but part of a Church structure in communion with one another and overseen by Bishops of equal authority.
The Early Church was Sacramental
The sharing of Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, as commanded in the Gospel was the integral and indispensable mark of the early Christian community. There are several references to the sharing of Holy Communion in the New Testament writings of the Apostles, and St. Justin Martyr, writing in the second century relates not only the existence of the Mystical Supper as a part of Christian worship, but describes the ritual associated with the administration of this Holy Sacrament. Other sacraments such as Holy Orders, the Mystery of Repentance, Unction, and of course Baptism are firmly rooted in Scripture and were practiced in the Church from the earliest days.
We welcome you on your journey to the early Church, and pray earnestly that you find it where it resides today, in unbroken succession from the Apostles, the True Faith, once delivered to the Saints and preserved against the assaults of modernity for the salvation of our souls! Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church diligently strives to preserve the fullness of the ancient faith, both in theology and in worship. We hope you will join us.