The Orthodox Church traces its development back to the earliest church established by St. Paul and the Apostles, through the ancient Roman Empire and its continuation in the East as the "Byzantine" Empire. It regards itself as the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and His apostles. It practices what it understands to be the original faith passed down from the Apostles (that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all, namely Holy Tradition), believing in growth and development without alteration of the faith. In non-doctrinal, non-liturgical matters the church has always shared in local cultures, adopting or adapting (conventional) traditions from among practices it found to be compatible with the Christian life, and in turn shaping the cultural development of the nations around it, including Greek, Slavic, Romanian, Middle Eastern, North African, British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples.
Through baptism, Orthodox Christians enter a new life of salvation through repentance, whose purpose is to share in the life of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. Christian life is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person, through the imitation of Christ, grows into His fullness and stature. This life occurs within the life of the church as a member of the Body of Christ. It is through the fire of God’s love in the action of the Holy Spirit that the Christian becomes more holy, more wholly unified with Christ, starting in this life and continuing in the next. Born in God’s image, each person is called to theosis, fulfillment of the image in likeness to God. God the creator, having divinity by nature, offers each person participation in divinity by cooperatively accepting His gift of grace.
The Orthodox Church, in understanding itself to be the Body of Christ, and similarly in understanding the Christian life to lead to the unification in Christ of all members of his body, views the church as embracing all Christ’s members, those now living on earth, and also all those through the ages who have passed on to the heavenly life. The church includes the Christian saints from all times, and also judges, prophets and righteous Jews of the first covenant, Adam and Eve, even the angels and heavenly hosts. In Orthodox services, the earthly members together with the heavenly members worship God as one community in Christ, in a union that transcends time and space and joins heaven to earth. This unity of the Church is sometimes called the Communion of the Saints.
Today our world has grown cold and distant from our cherished Christian virtues and we are committed to fulfilling the mission of teaching and manifesting the love for God and our neighbor, helping sustain the faithful and sharing with all those who are seeking the truth. Our goal can be characterized by these fundamental principles: adherence to the Holy Scriptures; a commitment to the liturgical practices and teachings of the Orthodox Christian tradition, and development of a community that is welcoming and charitable to all.
(adapted from the website of St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon Orthodox Church)