Skip to content
Paperback The Orthodox Church: Second Edition Book

ISBN: 0140146563

ISBN13: 9780140146561

The Orthodox Church: Second Edition

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Acceptable

Save $10.61!
List Price $18.00

1 Available

Book Overview

Since its first publication thirty years ago, Timothy Ware s book has become established throughout the English-speaking world as the standard introduction to the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy continues to be a subject of enormous interest among Western Christians, and the author believes that an understanding of its standpoint is necessary before the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches can be reunited. He explains the Orthodox views on such widely...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Good Basic Introduction

This book is frequently suggested as a good introduction, and I give this book to those who want to know more about Orthodoxy.

The Number ONE book on Eastern Orthodoxy

"The Orthodox Church," by Timothy (Bishop Kallistos) Ware, is (and has been for decades) the number one book in the English language on the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith. It appears on virtually all recommended reading lists and bibliographies. (Not surprisingly, the number two book is "The Orthodox Way," by the same author.)The cover states that this title is "a clear, detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church written for the non-Orthodox as well as for Orthodox Christians who wish to know more about their own tradition." I couldn't have said it better myself.This volume is divided into two sections. Part one covers the history of the Church from the beginnings at Pentecost through Byzantium (the Seven Councils and the Great Schism), then the conversion of the Slavs, the Church under Islam, the Russian Church, and on into the twentieth century. Especially sobering is the author's summary of events surrounding the eastern European Orthodox Churches under communism. Coverage of the growth of the Orthodox Church in North America helps explain the current state of things.Part two discusses faith and worship and covers such important topics as: Holy Tradition, God and humankind, the theology and structure of the Church, and detailed explanations of various components of Orthodox worship (including sacraments, feasts, fasts and private prayer). The final chapter, entitled "The Orthodox Church and the Reunion of Christians," explains various views within the Church concerning the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches, and highlights dialogues with various church bodies including Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Anglicans, and other Eastern Christian bodies such as the Coptic Church and the Armenian Orthodox Church.An extensive, annotated list of further reading, organized by topics, such as "The Early Church and Byzantium," "Orthodox Theology," and "Liturgical Worship," will be extremely helpful for those who wish to dig more deeply into specific areas of interest.While this may indeed be the definitive introductory book on Eastern Orthodoxy, it would certainly be more accessible to readers with some background in the Bible, Church history, or with some experience in liturgical churches. As the author suggests at one point, there is no better introduction to Orthodoxy than to actually attend an Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Those who have attended Orthodox services (or who have been members of the Church for a while) are likely to be those who are most drawn to this excellent book.

The Other Christianity

There has been a great surge of interest in Eastern Orthodoxy in recent years. Partly owing to the turn towards liturgical worship and historic Christianity by disenchanted Evangelicals, many have explored this great Christian tradition with a sizable number swelling its ranks. Almost without exception, one of the starting points on any such journey is The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (now Bishop Kallistos Ware). Books listed as entry points for conversion are often polemical works but this is not the case here. Instead, Ware calmly states the position of Orthodoxy on issues facing the Church without any hint of rancor towards other Christian traditions. It is a mature understanding of the Faith of the Church that is Ware's greatest strength.The irenic approach should not lead one to believe Ware is indifferent towards ecclesial affiliations. It is quite apparent he holds Orthodoxy as the one true Christian Faith. However, this does not lead him to wholesale condemnations of Christians in other traditions, but rather a clear contrast of the Orthodox position to those of the Western Churches. Originally written when Orthodoxy had few converts in the West, Ware (who became Orthodox in 1958) gives an overview of Orthodox Christianity for those in the West who might find its beliefs and practices alien.Intertwining theological and historical developments in the Church, Ware gives a highly readable analysis of the development of Orthodox doctrine and spirituality. The book is divided into two parts. The first of these presents an Orthodox view of Church history. Beginning with the early Church and working his way through the Ecumenical Councils, the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, the Islamic conquests, the Great Schism, the witness of the Russian Church, and the tumultuous events of the twentieth century, he presents an enlightening view of the development of doctrine and worship that is free from the vindictiveness that plagues many treatments. The second part of the book is an overview of faith and worship in the Orthodox Church. Covering all the important aspects of the Orthodox faith, Ware gives clear expositions of Orthodox doctrine and points out the contrasts with Western Christianity - both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Included are such controversial topics as the role of tradition, salvation, and ecumenism. Ware never displays any animosity towards other Christians but insists that any union must be based upon truth and he believes this is held in its fullness by Orthodoxy. One criticism leveled at this book is Ware's supposedly superficial treatment of Orthodoxy. However, this charge is quite unfair considering the intended audience. The Orthodox Church was written for a Western audience with no prior historical connection to the Orthodox faith. Yes, there are works with more depth (including some by Ware himself), but these are likely to confuse Western Christians. This book may thus be considered as a pro

Good Solid Primer On Orthodoxy

Bishop Ware has written an excellent text on the Orthodox Church. It is a solid primer as he deals with the history and the faith and worship of the church.The historical setting is solid and for the most part entertaining and interesting. He touches on the major highlights without overburdening the laity or reader who many are probably reading about this subject for the first time. After all, that seems to be the audience he is targeting.The second part, on faith and worship, is concise and simple. He throws in the major doctines of Orthodox beliefs in which they have in common with the rest of Christianity as well as some of the beliefs particular for this Eastern expression of the religion:i.e. essence and energies, apopthatic (negative theology), image and likeness. Further, he shows that this is not a monolithic movement in areas such as what makes up the Church. All the churches are mentioned and briefly discussed. Many saints are also mentioned and one comes away with a great appreciation of this historic Body of Christ.


In his book, Bishop Ware offers not only a historical look at the Eastern Orthodox Church (singular), but a spiritual one as well. As a Melkite Greek Catholic I must confess a certain penchant for Orthodox writings (as most uniates do), and regard his grace as the foremost authority on the Orthodox Church living today. For any one who still may be confused in their association with the Eastern Church as nothing more than a relic of the past, I would recommend that they read this book. I would pass that admonition on to any lay Orthodox Christian who wants to supplement their knowledge of their church; as well as to any Roman Catholic who assumes that after Christ's Ascension, there was the papcy. There was, in fact, a pentarchy. An ecclesial fraternity of bishops existed. Such books are a wonderful reminder that our religion needs to be not only a witness to our theology--but to history as well.Read this book!!!

Comprehensive, Comprehensible and Outstanding Introduction

This is the best single-volume introduction to Eastern Christianity currently available. Bishop Ware's approach covers virtually all aspects of the Eastern Church -- history, theology, sacramentality, church organization, and the Orthodox diaspora with a special emphasis on rendering Orthodoxy comprehensible to Western Christian readers. Ware's approach is very ecumenical, and he frankly and even-handedly addresses the issues that unite and divide the Christian East and West. Because of his own dual background as a Westerner (he teaches at Oxford) who chose to become Orthodox, Ware is particularly well-situated to explain the wondrous and beautiful mysteries of Eastern Christianity to Westerners. While the book is in the nature of a broad overview, it actually covers the issues addressed in an impressive level of depth. The bibliography is also a great starting point for further reading and research, broken down helpfully by topic. This book is a must-read for anyone wishing to acqaint themselves with the riches of the Eastern Christian tradition.
Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured