Eastern Orthodox Church
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Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church developed out of the united state church of the Roman Empire formally established in A.D. 380. The church at that time was run by "the Pentarchy," five Patriarchs in Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch broke away, forming independent bodies that would later be called Oriental Orthodox; the other three stayed in communion.
As the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the Western church led by the Patriarch of Rome, a.k.a. the Pope, drifted away from the Eastern churches in its theology and liturgical traditions, causing a great deal of bickering between the two halves of the church over such issues as the "Filioque" addition to the "Symbol of Faith" (i.e. the Nicene Creed), which adds "..and from the Son" to "The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father" (based on a reading of 1 John, where it is stated the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father). 
Matters finally came to a head in 1054. The Eastern patriarchs considered the Pope to be only primus inter pares, first among equals; but the Pope considered himself to have complete supremacy over them, and he demanded that they accept this. They refused, and a series of mutual excommunications between Rome and Constantinople followed, with the Patriarch of Constantinople gaining his current position as the first-among-equals of the Eastern Orthodox communion.
Because of these mutual excommunications, just as the Catholics believe that the Orthodox were the ones who broke away, so do the Orthodox churches consider the Catholics to have broken with them.
Around this same time, Greek-led Christianization efforts in Russia were well underway, with the Cyrillic alphabet being made expressly for the purpose. As the Byzantine Empire declined, the Russian Orthodox Church became more and more prominent within the communion, with the see of Moscow eventually gaining the status of a patriarchate. After the final collapse of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, although the Patriarch was allowed to remain in the newly Muslim Constantinople as head of the Ottoman Empire's Orthodox community, Moscow came to be considered the "Third Rome" (after Rome itself and Constantinople).
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Christianity does not have a single international hierarchy or universal leader, each branch has its own bishop or patriarch to lead it, a concept known as "autocephaly," in which each national church is independently operated, but operates according to a consensus within the entire communion.
The Patriarch of Constantinople is often seen by the Western World as being the leader of the entire Eastern Orthodox Church the way the Pope is for Roman Catholicism, but he is really only considered "first among equals," has no authorities over other patriarchates, and does not claim any form of papal infallibility. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, as in Roman Catholicism, ecumenical church councils are authoritative; for the Eastern Orthodox, the autocephalous churches are equal participants in these councils. The different sub-groups share the same faith, theology, and general pattern of organization. Because of this operation by consensus, the Eastern Orthodox church tends to be conservative about changes to its theology and practice.
Orthodox churches exist in numerous countries, but among the most significant are the Greek Orthodox Church, led overall by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Russian Orthodox Church, based in Moscow under the Patriarch of Moscow.
The Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey was very much decimated by the 1923 population exchange that removed all Orthodox from Turkey, with the exception of those within Constantinople itself; although the Patriarch remains in Constantinople (now called Istanbul), he is largely supported by the autocephalous Church of Greece. Now, due to the restrictions placed on the church by Turkey's model of secularism — including the requirement that the Patriarch be a Turkish citizen, a distinction that is claimed by extremely few Greek Orthodox today — the church is having to deal with an aging clergy and an inability to train replacements, as their only seminary was closed under a Turkish law banning any private institutions of higher education.
In Russia the church took a major hit in the Soviet era, with nearly 100,000 priests being killed by the communists and the vast majority of its churches being closed down; but since the fall of communism the church has become resurgent, with a large number of churches being reopened or built, and the church gaining sufficient power to enable the prosecution of the punk-rock band, Pussy Riot, on "religious hatred" charges for staging a demonstration within the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
 Relationship with Oriental Orthodoxy
The Oriental Orthodox church bodies, including the Armenian, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean churches, are often grouped together with the Eastern Orthodox communion, at least in the West. The Oriental Orthodox church left communion with the rest of Christendom in 451 C.E. over a dispute regarding a now obscure piece of theological doctrine. Although the two Orthodox churches are not in communion, and technically speaking the Eastern Orthodox church has more in common theologically with Catholicism than it does Oriental Orthodoxy, the two Orthodox churches have common history that has often seen them working together. It is common practice in the West for the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox to worship in each other's churches as available.
 In the United States
In the U.S., Orthodoxy has several competing organizational structures since it arrived in the country through immigrants. The Russians, via Alaska, are considered to have brought the Orthodox church to the United States, which would have given them first dibs on determining who was in charge. However, immigrants from other parts of Eastern Europe arrived in America bringing with them their own national churches, which complicated matters. One of the largest groups is the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Many Orthodox bishops outside of North America believe that the OCA is not independent of the Russian Orthodox Church (though, oddly enough, the Russians believe it is).
The Gregorian calendar, currently used worldwide as the civil calendar, was instituted by the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, it was not immediately adopted in non-Catholic areas, specifically Orthodox countries that continued to use its predecessor, the Roman-era Julian calendar.
Until very recently, Orthodox countries used the Julian calendar as a civil calendar; according to the Gregorian calendar, the "October Revolution" is really the November Revolution. These countries now use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, but the Eastern Orthodox liturgy still operates according the Julian calendar; consequently, the Orthodox celebrate Christmas and Easter on different days than Western Christians, and Eastern Orthodox followers resident in Western countries often get to buy their Peeps and Easter Eggs on sale after the nominal Easter celebrations are over.
Eastern Orthodoxy is divided by calendar, although churches with different calendars can nonetheless remain in communion:
- Some churches, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, retain the Julian calendar fully.
- Others, such as most of the Greek Orthodox churches (but not the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem), adopted the Revised Julian calendar. This calendar is effectively the same as the Gregorian, although it will differ from 2800 onwards due to a different way of dealing with leap years. They still retain the Julian calendar for calculating Easter.
- Within those churches that adopted the Revised Julian calendar, minorities have rejected the new calendar and retained the Julian calendar instead — these are known as "Old Calendarists". These groups are most common in Greece
- The Finnish Orthodox Church and the Estonian Orthodox Church have fully adopted the Gregorian calendar, including the Gregorian calculation of Easter.
When it comes to hating Jews, the Orthodox have been argued to have a unique flavor of mass-slaughter in their history. Yearly pogroms following Easter Mass are the stuff of legend, and the particularly nasty Protocols of the Elders of Zion came from Russia.
For the sake of being even-handed in our approach, however, one should also keep in mind the 1568 encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Metrophanes III of Constantinople, in which he writes concerning reports of the persecution of Jews in Crete: "Injustice ... regardless to whomever acted upon or performed against, is still injustice. The unjust person is never relieved of the responsibility of these acts under the pretext that the injustice is done against a heterodox and not to a believer. As our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels said do not oppress or accuse anyone falsely; do not make any distinction or give room to the believers to injure those of another belief." It should be noted as well that in the mid-16th century, there was not a particular political or social benefit latent in the defence of Jews in non-Jewish societies.
 See also
- ↑ Eastern Orthodox Christianity
- ↑ An Introduction to the Oriental Orthodox Churches
- ↑ Erickson, John H. "Canon 28: Yesterday and Today"St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
- ↑ "Jewish Massacre Denounced", in The New York Times, April 28, 1903, p. 6
- ↑ http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=20597.390;wap2