I have found the Orthodox beliefs under discussion on several different forums in the past few months and most of the participants were not of the Orthodox faith. I suspect that a lot of misinformation has been given about your beliefs. I am somewhat familiar with your faith from others I have known in the past but am probably confused myself so with my confessed ignorance I am wondering if anyone here would care to take a stab at answering the following issues that I have seen come up;
What is the Orthodox position on the concept of Mary as the Queen of Heaven - Mary's Assumption and Immaculate Conception, eternal torment w/ hope of universal salvation or salvation for all who accept Christ, do you have a celibate pastorate.
Also, are all of the orthodox churches under a single church government or are all independent i.e. Serbian Orthodox - Greek - Russian -etc. do they all make their own rules and regulations?
Wow, that’s a lot.
Hey...I am not myself Orthodox but I feel as if I can adress your concerns/questions...
As for Mary the Orthodox Church teaches, as the Catholic Church does, that she was a sinless virgin her whole life and after death the lord raised her from her tomb and was taken up into heaven. The Orthodox Church believes in and celebrates the Assumption of Mary, but has not declared it a dogma.
In fact I attend Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Denver.
Now...the Immaculate Conception is a harder issue. From my understanding as a Roman Catholic the Catholic dogma states Mary was free from the stain of Orginal sin. Orthodoxy firmly rejects this. Why? Because the Orthodox Church does not believe we are born with the guilt of Adam and Eve's sin. The Orthodox Church believes we are born with the effects of their sin, but not their sin. So the problem with the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is not Mary, but Original sin.
Orthodoxy does not teach all who believe in Jesus Christ are automaticaly saved. Salvation is a life long process that requires much more than a quick"I believe."
You mentioned a Celibate pastorate. As the early Church did, Orthodoxy allows married men to be ordained to the priesthood, and celibate men too ( but this I have found is discouraged). But Priests cannot get married.
All Orthodox Churches are not under a single Church government, however they are all united under Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour in Faith, canons, and most of the time litrugy.
Hope this helps....GBU!