This clear and accessible introduction describes the life of the Orthodox Churches of the Christian East from the accession of the Emperor Constantine in 312 up to the year 2000. It explores the nature of the various churches of the Christian East, both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Orthodox, the Church of the East, and Greek Catholic Churches. It explains both the common traditions and the different and sometimes divisive local characteristics. The distinctive Orthodox approaches to the themes of liturgy, theology, monastic life and spirituality, iconography, popular religion, mission, politics and the schism between East and West are discussed in turn. A final chapter examines the response of the Churches to their new freedom following the collapse of communism and the prospects for the future. For Christians of the West, a knowledge of Orthodoxy can open up fresh ways of looking at the Christian faith.