Leaders of the nation's 6 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, declaring that "the church is not a museum and we are not her curators," called this week for a widespread spiritual reawakening and a commitment to evangelizing the "mission territory" of North America.
The bishops of the eight ethnic Orthodox churches in North America released their statement Thursday to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Known together as the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, the bishops joined for their most comprehensive statement on integrating Orthodox theology in a multicultural and increasingly secular society.
When the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches split in the Great Schism of 1054, the theological and ethnic differences split the Christian community into two camps. With the Reformation of the 16th century, the two camps became three.
Though the Orthodox Church maintains remarkable sway in Eastern Europe, Russia and parts of the Middle East, the church in the U.S. has sometimes struggled for a sense of relevance in a nation dominated by Protestants and Roman Catholics.