Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The core beliefs of Christianity are set forth in the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, is a branch of Christianity which has the same core beliefs and doctrines as that of Christianity, yet slightly different practices and traditions. It is one of the three major branches of Christianity, the other two being Catholicism and Protestantism.
The key differences between Christianity and Orthodoxy are in their organizational structure, lifestyle, spiritual focus, and practices.
Christianity is divided into many denominations and sub-denominations with each having their own unique organizational structure that is often hierarchical in nature. On the other hand, Orthodoxy is composed of several “Local Churches” which are united by the same faith and beliefs but do not have a central governing body.
Christians are encouraged to live a moral and ethical life by adhering to the teachings of the Bible and its principles. On the contrary, Orthodoxy emphasizes the presence of God in one’s life and encourages each individual to strive for piety, holiness, and dedication towards God on an individual basis.
Christianity is more focused on spiritual discipline, evangelizing, and the ministry of the Word which is the primary way to spread the Gospel. On the other hand, Orthodoxy has a strong emphasis on the Sacraments and
Iconography as primary means for connecting with God.
Christians follow a Bible-based lifestyle, and as such, their practices and rituals vary from denomination to denomination and from culture to culture. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of faith and tradition which are embodied in liturgies, prayers, and the hierarchy of bishops.
Differences in Beliefs
While both Christianity and Orthodoxy share some core beliefs such as the belief in the Trinity, the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus, there are differences in how they understand and interpret these beliefs.
The main differences in terms of beliefs between Christianity and Orthodoxy are in their views on Purgatory and the Pope’s infallibility. Christians generally do not believe in the concept of Purgatory while Orthodox do. In addition, while Christianity completely accepts the Pope’s infallibility, Orthodoxy generally opposes it.
Christians and Orthodox also differ in the way they view the Holy Scriptures. While Christianity is largely based on the Bible, Orthodox Christianity places more emphasis on traditions which are often passed on orally from one generation to the next. As such, Orthodoxy tends to view scriptures less dogmatically, recognizing that interpretations of the Bible may vary based on one’s context and understanding.
Relation to Other Religions
Christianity can be considered as a sect of Judaism while Orthodoxy could be seen as an offshoot of Christianity. Orthodoxy attempts to preserve Orthodox Judaism without making drastic changes, while Christianity emphasizes changes to spiritual practices based on its interpretation of the Bible.
Christianity is led by multiple denominations and movements due to the non-hierarchical nature of its organizational structure. On the other hand, the Patriarch of Constantinople is the head of the ‘Orthodox Church’ and is seen as the leader of all the Local Churches within Orthodoxy.
Relationship to God
Christianity and Orthodoxy both recognize Jesus Christ as the son of God, who came to earth to save humanity from its sins. While Christianity emphasizes personal faith and relationship to God through His son Jesus, Orthodoxy views this relationship with God as a communal endeavor.
The main differences between Christianity and Orthodoxy are in their organizational structure, lifestyle, spiritual focus, and practices. Christianity is divided into many denominations while Orthodoxy is composed of several Local Churches. Christianity emphasizes individual relationship to God through its spiritual practices, while Orthodoxy emphasizes the communal relationship to God and traditions.