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The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...
of
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
churches, each governed by its bishops in local
synods A synod () is a council of a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The t ...
. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome (
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
), but the
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Kostantiniyye ekümenik patriği) is the archbishop of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , ...
is recognised by all bishops as ''
primus inter pares ''Primus inter pares'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
'' ("first among equals") and regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...

Eastern
and
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
, the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the contin ...
, and the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially calls itself the Orthodox Catholic Church.
Eastern Orthodox theology Eastern Orthodox theology is the Christian theology, theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is characterized by Monotheism, monotheistic Trinitarianism, belief in the Incarnation (Christianity), Incarnation of the essentially div ...
is based on
holy tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propos ...
, which incorporates the dogmatic decrees of the
seven ecumenical councils In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Co ...
, the
Scriptures Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for c ...

Scriptures
, and the teaching of the
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, di ...
. The church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical build ...
established by
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...
in his
Great Commission In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciple (Christianity), disciples to spread the gospel to all the nations of the world. The most famous versio ...
, and that its bishops are the successors of Christ's
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...
. It maintains that it practices the original Christian faith, as passed down by holy tradition. Its patriarchates, reminiscent of the
pentarchy Pentarchy (from the Greek , ''Pentarchía'', from πέντε ''pénte'', "five", and ἄρχειν ''archein'', "to rule") is a model of Church organization historically championed in the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Chu ...
, and other
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
and
autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects o ...
churches, reflect a variety of
hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy i ...

hierarchical
organisation An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...
. It recognizes seven major sacraments, of which the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a that is considered a in most churches, and as an in others. According to the , the r ...

Eucharist
is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in
synaxis {{For, the moth Moths are a paraphyletic group of insects that includes all members of the Order (biology), order Lepidoptera that are not Butterfly, butterflies, with moths making up the vast majority of the order. There are thought to be appro ...
. The church teaches that through
consecration Consecration is the solemn Solemn may refer to: *"Solemn", a song by Tribal Tech from the album ''Dr. Hee'' 1987 *"Solemn", a song by Arcane Roots from the album ''Melancholia Hymns'' 2017 See also * Solemnity, a feast day of the highest rank i ...

consecration
invoked by a
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...
, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The
Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrat ...
is
venerated Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the , honored in devotions. The Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch—except for some breaks of communion such as the
Photian schism The Photian Schism was a four-year (863–867) schism (religion), schism between the episcopal sees of Holy See, Rome and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Constantinople. The issue centred on the right of the Byzantine Emperor to depose ...
or the Acacian schismshared communion with the Church of Rome until the
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
in 1054. The 1054 schism was the culmination of mounting theological, political, and cultural disputes, particularly over the authority of the pope, between those churches. Before the
Council of Ephesus The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus (near present-day Selçuk in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western ...
in AD 431, the
Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, , ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā''), also called the Persian Church, East Syrian Church, Babylonian Church, Seleucian Church, Edessan Church, Chaldean Church, or the Nestorian Church, was an church of the , based ...
also shared in this communion, as did the various
Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian traditions and church families that originally developed during classical and late antiquity in Western Asia Western Asia, also We ...
before the
Council of Chalcedon The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, convoked by Emperor Marcian. The counci ...
in AD 451, all separating primarily over differences in
Christology In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
. The majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live mainly in
Southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeast
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, and parts of the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the contin ...
region,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been Russian conquest of Siberia, part of modern Russia since the latter half of th ...

Siberia
, and the
Russian Far East The Russian Far East ( rus, Дальний Восток России, r=Dal'niy Vostok Rossii, p=ˈdalʲnʲɪj vɐˈstok rɐˈsʲiɪ) is a region in . It is the easternmost part of and the n continent; and is administered as part of the , w ...

Russian Far East
. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, mostly
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. There are also communities in the former of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of i ...

Africa
, the
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

Eastern Mediterranean
, and in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, which are decreasing due to forced migration driven by increased
religious persecution Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or a group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or their lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within societies to alienate or r ...
. Eastern Orthodox communities are also present in many other parts of the world, particularly North America, Western Europe, and Australia, formed through
diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...

diaspora
, conversions, and
missionary A missionary is a member of a Religious denomination, religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development.Thomas Hale 'On Being a Missio ...

missionary
activity.


Name and characteristics


Definition

The Eastern Orthodox Church is defined as the Eastern Christians which recognize the
seven ecumenical councils In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Co ...
, and usually are in
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...

communion
with the
Ecumenical Patriarchate The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantino ...
, the
Patriarchate of Alexandria The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''A ...
, the
Patriarchate of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...
, and the
Patriarchate of JerusalemPatriarchate of Jerusalem or Diocese of Jerusalem may refer to: * Early bishops of Jerusalem * Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem * Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Melkite ...
. The Eastern Orthodox churches "are defined positively by their adherence to the
dogmatic Dogma in the broad sense is any belief held unquestioningly and with undefended certainty. It may be in the form of an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of desig ...

dogmatic
definitions of the seven cumenicalcouncils, by the strong sense of not being a
sect A sect is a subgroup of a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Diff ...
or a
denomination Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist denomination * Denomination (currency) * Denomination ( ...
but simply continuing the
Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. ...
, and, despite their varied origins, by adherence to the
Byzantine rite The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or the Rite of Constantinople, identifies the wide range of cultural, liturgical, and canonical practices that developed in the Eastern Orthodox Church of Constantinople. The canonical hours are v ...
." Those churches are negatively defined by their rejection of papal immediate and universal supremacy. The seven ecumenical councils recognized by the Eastern Orthodox churches are:
Nicaea I The First Council of Nicaea (; gr, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect ...
, Constantinople I,
Ephesus Ephesus (; gr, Ἔφεσος, Éphesos; tr, Efes; may ultimately derive from hit, 𒀀𒉺𒊭, Apaša) was a city in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece ...
,
Chalcedon Chalcedon ( or ; , sometimes transliterated as ''Chalkedon'') was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula ...
, Constantinople II, Constantinople III, and Nicaea II. Those churches consider the
Quinisext Council The Quinisext Council (Latin: ''Concilium Quinisextum''; Koine Greek: , ''Penthékti Sýnodos''), i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council, often called the Council in Trullo, Trullan Council, or the Penthekte Synod, was a church council held in 692 at Cons ...
"sharthe ecumenical authority of Constantinople III. "By an agreement that appears to be in place in the
astern This list of ship directions provides succinct definitions for terms applying to spatial orientation in a marine environment or location on a vessel, such as ''fore'', ''aft'', ''astern'', ''aboard'', or ''topside''. Terms * Abaft (preposition) ...
Orthodox world, possibly the council held in 879 to vindicate the Patriarch Photius will at some future date be recognized as the eight cumenicalcouncil" by the Eastern Orthodox Church. The
Western rite Orthodoxy Western Rite Orthodoxy, also called Western Orthodoxy or Orthodox Western Rite, are congregations within the autocephalous churches of the Oriental Orthodox Church The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian churches adh ...
exists both outside and inside Eastern Orthodoxy. Within Eastern Orthodoxy, it is practised by a
vicariate A vicar (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
of the Antiochian Orthodox church.


Name

In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Eastern Orthodox authorities such as Saint
Raphael of Brooklyn Raphael of Brooklyn ( ar, قديس رافائيل من بروكلين), born Rufāʾīl Hawāwīnī (Raphael Hawaweeny; ar, رفائيل هواويني; November 20, 1860 – February 27, 1915), was bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, auxili ...

Raphael of Brooklyn
have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church". The official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself and which issued in its liturgical or
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geo ...
texts. Eastern Orthodox theologians refer to the church as catholic. This name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are also recognized and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Eastern Orthodox writers. The
catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught pri ...
of Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow published in the 19th century is titled: ''The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church'' (). The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
flourished, and Greek, being the language in which the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church. For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" (in contrast to the "Roman" or "Latin" church, which used a Latin translation of the Bible), even before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with the Catholic Church. This identification with Greek, however, became increasingly confusing with time. Missionaries brought Eastern Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
resulted in the conversion of some churches to the Catholic Church, which then also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a very large number of Eastern Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, and do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern", then, indicates the geographical element in the church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither the Catholic Church nor the Eastern Orthodox Church, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
". While the Eastern Orthodox Church continues officially to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church.


Orthodoxy

The first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" (''he katholike ekklesia'') occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another ( Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the
Smyrna Smyrna ( ; grc, Σμύρνη, Smýrnē, or grc, Σμύρνα, Smýrna) was a Ancient Greece, Greek city located at a strategic point on the Aegean Sea, Aegean coast of Anatolia. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence, an ...
eans). The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal atholikeChurch." Thus, almost from the beginning, Christians referred to the Christian Church as the "one, holy, catholic (from the Greek καθολική, 'according to the whole, universal') and apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early church. A number of other Christian churches also make a similar claim: the Roman
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

Catholic Church
, the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
, the Assyrian Church and the
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
. In the Eastern Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the years following the Third Ecumenical
Council of Ephesus The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus (near present-day Selçuk in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western ...
(431) and the Fourth Ecumenical
Council of Chalcedon The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, convoked by Emperor Marcian. The counci ...
(451), respectively, in their refusal to accept those councils'
Christological In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
definitions. Similarly, the churches in Rome and Constantinople separated in an event known as the
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
, traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more a gradual process than a sudden break. To all these churches, the claim to
catholicity Catholicity (from , via ) is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct Religion, religious body within Christianity that comprises all Church ( ...
(universality, oneness with the ancient Church) is important for multiple doctrinal reasons that have more bearing internally in each church than in their relation to the others, now separated in faith. The meaning of holding to a faith that is true is the primary reason why anyone's statement of which church split off from which other has any significance at all; the issues go as deep as the schisms. The depth of this meaning in the Eastern Orthodox Church is registered first in its use of the word "
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
" itself, a union of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
''orthos'' ("straight", "correct", "true", "right") and ''
doxa Doxa (; from verb ), and . 1940.δοκέω" In ', edited by and R. McKenzie. Oxford. . – via . is a common or popular . In , ''doxa'' is contrasted with ' ('knowledge'). Etymology The term ''doxa'' is an term () that comes from the verb ' ...

doxa
'' ("common belief", from the ancient verb δοκέω-δοκῶ which is translated "to believe", "to think", "to consider", "to imagine", "to assume"). The dual meanings of ''doxa'', with "glory" or "glorification" (of God by the church and of the church by God), especially in worship, yield the pair "correct belief" and "true worship". Together, these express the core of a fundamental teaching about the inseparability of belief and worship and their role in drawing the church together with Christ. The
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
n and all the churches use the title ''Pravoslavie'' (
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
: Православие), meaning "correctness of glorification", to denote what is in English ''Orthodoxy'', while the Georgians use the title ''Martlmadidebeli''. The term "Eastern Church" (the geographic east in the East–West Schism) has been used to distinguish it from
western Christendom in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * p ...
(the geographic West, which at first came to designate the Catholic communion, later also the various
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
and Anglican branches). "Eastern" is used to indicate that the highest concentrations of the Eastern Orthodox Church presence remain in the eastern part of the Christian world, although it is growing worldwide. Orthodox Christians throughout the world use various ethnic or national jurisdictional titles, or more inclusively, the title "Eastern Orthodox", "Orthodox Catholic", or simply "Orthodox". What unites Orthodox Christians is the catholic faith as carried through
holy tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propos ...
. That faith is expressed most fundamentally in scripture and worship, and the latter most essentially through baptism and in the
Divine Liturgy Icon of Ss. Basil the Great (left) and John Chrysostom, ascribed authors of the two most frequently used Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgies, c. 1150 (mosaic in the Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, Palermo). Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λ ...
. The lines of even this test can blur, however, when differences that arise are not due to doctrine, but to recognition of jurisdiction. As the Eastern Orthodox Church has spread into the west and over the world, the church as a whole has yet to sort out all the inter-jurisdictional issues that have arisen in the expansion, leaving some areas of doubt about what is proper church governance. Moreover, as in the ancient church persecutions, the aftermath of persecutions of Christians in communist nations has left behind some issues of governance and lapse piety that have yet to be completely resolved. All members of the Eastern Orthodox Church profess the same faith, regardless of race or nationality, jurisdiction or local custom, or century of birth. Holy tradition encompasses the understandings and means by which that unity of faith is transmitted across boundaries of time, geography, and culture. It is a continuity that exists only inasmuch as it lives within Christians themselves. It is not static, nor an observation of rules, but rather a sharing of observations that spring both from within and also in keeping with others, even others who lived lives long past. The church proclaims the Holy Spirit maintains the unity and consistency of holy tradition to preserve the integrity of the faith within the church, as given in the scriptural promises. The shared beliefs of Orthodoxy, and its theology, exist within holy tradition and cannot be separated from it, for their meaning is not expressed in mere words alone. Doctrine cannot be understood unless it is prayed. Doctrine must also be lived in order to be prayed, for without action, the prayer is idle and empty, a mere vanity, and therefore the theology of demons.


Catholicity

The Eastern Orthodox Church considers itself to be both orthodox and catholic. The doctrine of the Catholicity of the Church, as derived from the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
, is essential to Eastern Orthodox
ecclesiology In Christian theology #REDIRECT Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianit ...
. The term ''Catholicity of the Church'' (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
) is used in its original sense, as a designation for the universality of the Christian Church, centered around Christ. Therefore, the Eastern Orthodox notion of catholicity is not centered around any singular see, unlike the Catholic Church which has one earthly center. Due to the influence of the Catholic Church in the west, where the
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
itself developed, the words "catholic" and "catholicity" are sometimes used to refer to that church specifically. However, the more prominent dictionary sense given for general use is still the one shared by other languages, implying breadth and universality, reflecting comprehensive scope. In a Christian context, the Christian Church, as identified with the original church founded by Christ and his apostles, is said to be catholic (or universal) in regard to its union with Christ in faith. Just as Christ is indivisible, so are union with him and faith in him, whereby the Christian Church is "universal", unseparated, and comprehensive, including all who share that faith. Orthodox bishop
Kallistos Ware Kallistos Ware (born Timothy Richard Ware, 11 September 1934) is an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority ...
has called that "simple Christianity". That is the sense of early and
patristic Patristics or patrology is the study of the early Christian writers who are designated Church Fathers. The names derive from the Classical compound, combined forms of Latin ''pater'' and Greek ''patḗr'' (father). The period is generally consider ...
usage wherein the church usually refers to itself as the "Catholic Church", whose faith is the "Orthodox faith". It is also the sense within the phrase "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church", found in the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
, and referred to in Orthodox worship, e.g. in the litany of the catechumens in the Divine Liturgy. With the mutual excommunications of the East–West Schism in 1054, the churches in Rome and Constantinople each viewed the other as having departed from the true church, leaving a smaller but still-catholic church in place. Each retained the "Catholic" part of its title, the "''Roman'' Catholic Church" (or Catholic Church) on the one hand, and the "''Orthodox'' Catholic Church" on the other, each of which was defined in terms of inter-communion with either Rome or Constantinople. While the Eastern Orthodox Church recognises what it shares in common with other churches, including the Catholic Church, it sees catholicity in terms of complete union in communion and faith, with the Church throughout all time, and the sharing remains incomplete when not shared fully.


History


Early Church

Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (name), a given name (includes a list of people with that name) *Paul (surname), a list of people People Christianity *Paul the Apostle (AD 5–67), also known as Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul, early Christian missionar ...

Paul
and the
Apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

Apostles
traveled extensively throughout the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, including Asia Minor, establishing Churches in major communities, with the first churches appearing in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...
and the
Holy Land The Holy Land (: , la, Terra Sancta; : or ) is an area roughly located between the and the Eastern Bank of the . Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical and with the . The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory ro ...

Holy Land
, then in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
,
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
,
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
,
Thessalonica Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica (), is the List of countries by largest and second largest cities, second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its Thessaloni ...
,
Illyricum Illyricum may refer to: * Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of peopl ...
, and
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
, which centuries later would become prominent as the
New Rome New Rome (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as o ...
. Christianity encountered considerable resistance in the Roman Empire, mostly because its adherents refused to comply with the demands of the Roman state—often even when their lives were threatened—by offering sacrifices to the pagan gods. Despite persecution, skepticism, and initial social stigma, the Christian Church spread, particularly following the conversion of Emperor Constantine I in 312 AD. By the fourth century, Christianity was present in numerous regions well beyond the Levant. A number of influential schools of thought had arisen, particularly the Alexandrian and Antiochian philosophical approaches. Other groups, such as the
Arians Arianism is a first attributed to (), a Christian in . Arian theology holds that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father and is distinct from the Father (therefore subordinate to him). However, as in mainstream , Arianism h ...
, had also managed to gain influence. However, their positions caused theological conflicts within the Church, thus prompting the Emperor Constantine to call for a great ecumenical synod in order to define the Church's position against the growing, often widely diverging, philosophical and theological interpretations of Christianity. He made it possible for this council to meet not only by providing a location, but by offering to pay for the transportation of all the existing bishops of the church. Most modern Christian churches regard this synod, commonly called the
First Council of Nicaea The First Council of Nicaea (; grc, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialec ...
or more generally the
First Ecumenical Council The First Council of Nicaea (; gr, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea (now İznik, Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling ...
, as of major importance.


Ecumenical councils

Several doctrinal disputes from the 4th century onwards led to the calling of
ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote a ...
s. In the Orthodox Church, an ecumenical council is the supreme authority that can be invoked to resolve contested issues of the faith. As such, these councils have been held to resolve the most important theological matters that came to be disputed within the Christian Church. Many lesser disagreements were resolved through local councils in the areas where they arose, before they grew significant enough to require an ecumenical council. There are seven councils authoritatively recognised as ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church: # The
First Ecumenical Council The First Council of Nicaea (; gr, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea (now İznik, Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling ...
was convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine at
Nicaea Nicaea or Nicea (; el, wikt:Νίκαια, Νίκαια, ''Níkaia'') was an ancient Greek city in northwestern Anatolia and is primarily known as the site of the First Council of Nicaea, First and Second Council of Nicaea, Second Councils of Nic ...
in 325 and presided over by the Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria, with over 300 bishops condemning the view of
Arius Arius (; grc-koi, Ἄρειος, ; 250 or 256–336) was a Cyrenaic The Cyrenaics or Kyrenaics ( grc, Κυρηναϊκοί; ''Kyrēnaïkoí'') were a sensual hedonist Greek school of philosophy founded in the 4th century Common Era, BCE, suppo ...

Arius
that the Son is a created being inferior to the Father. # The
Second Ecumenical Council The First Council of Constantinople ( la, Concilium Constantinopolitanum; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate ...
was held at Constantinople in 381, presided over by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, with 150 bishops, defining the nature of the Holy Spirit against those asserting His inequality with the other persons of the Trinity. # The
Third Ecumenical Council The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus (near present-day Selçuk in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western ...
is that of Ephesus in 431, presided over by the Patriarch of Alexandria, with 250 bishops, which affirmed that Mary is truly "Birthgiver" or "Mother" of God (''
Theotokos ''Theotokos'' (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...

Theotokos
''), contrary to the teachings of
Nestorius Nestorius (; in grc, Νεστόριος; 386 – 450) was the Archbishop of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Konstantinopolis ekü ...
. # The
Fourth Ecumenical Council The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, convoked by Emperor Marcian. The counci ...
is that of Chalcedon in 451, Patriarch of Constantinople presiding, 500 bishops, affirmed that Jesus is truly God and truly man, without mixture of the two natures, contrary to
Monophysite Monophysitism ( or ) or Monophysism () is a Christological In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, te ...

Monophysite
teaching. # The
Fifth Ecumenical Council The Second Council of Constantinople is the fifth of the first seven ecumenical councils In the history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Church with its various de ...
is the second of Constantinople in 553, interpreting the decrees of Chalcedon and further explaining the relationship of the two natures of Jesus; it also condemned the alleged teachings of
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic language, Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an ...

Origen
on the pre-existence of the soul, etc. # The
Sixth Ecumenical Council The Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church, Catholic Churches, as well by certain other Western Christianity, Western Churches, met in 680– ...
is the third of Constantinople in 681; it declared that Christ has two wills of his two natures, human and divine, contrary to the teachings of the
Monothelites Monothelitism, or monotheletism (from Greek language, Greek μονοθελητισμός / ''doctrine of one will''), is a Christian theology, theological doctrine in Christianity, that holds Jesus Christ, Christ as having only one will (philosop ...
. # The
Seventh Ecumenical Council The Second Council of Nicaea is recognized as the last of the first seven ecumenical councils In the history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Church with its vari ...
was called under the Empress Regent
Irene of Athens Irene of Athens ( el, Εἰρήνη, ; 752 – 9 August 803), surname Sarantapechaina (), was Byzantine empress consort The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman E ...

Irene of Athens
in 787, known as the second of Nicaea. It supports the
veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
of
icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, in the cultures of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic, and certain Eastern Catholic ...

icon
s while forbidding their worship. It is often referred to as "The Triumph of Orthodoxy". There are also two other councils which are considered ecumenical by some E. Orthodox. All E. Orthodox agree that the decisions of these further councils are valid; the disagreement is only whether they carry sufficient importance to be considered truly ''ecumenical:'' :8. The Fourth Council of Constantinople was called in 879. It restored St.
Photius Photios I ( el, Φώτιος, ''Phōtios''; c. 810/820 – 6 February 893), also spelled PhotiusFr. Justin Taylor, essay "Canon Law in the Age of the Fathers" (published in Jordan Hite, T.O.R., & Daniel J. Ward, O.S.B., "Readings, Cases, Material ...
to his See in Constantinople and condemned any alteration of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381. :9. The
Fifth Council of Constantinople Fifth Council of Constantinople is a name given to a series of six patriarchal councils held in the Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its ea ...
was actually a series of councils held between 1341 and 1351. It affirmed the hesychastic theology of St.
Gregory Palamas Gregory Palamas ( el, Γρηγόριος Παλαμᾶς; c. 1296 – 1357 or 1359) was a Byzantine Greeks, Byzantine Greek prominent theologian and ecclesiastical figure of the late Byzantine period. A monasticism, monk of Mount Athos (modern Gre ...
and condemned the philosopher
Barlaam of Calabria Barlaam of Seminara (Bernardo Massari, as a layman), c. 1290–1348, or Barlaam of Calabria ( gr, Βαρλαὰμ Καλαβρός) was a southern Italian scholar ( Aristotelian scholastic) and clergyman of the 14th century, as well as a humanist ...
. In addition to these councils, there have been a number of other significant councils meant to further define the Orthodox position. They are the Synods of Constantinople, in 1484, 1583, 1755, 1819, and 1872, the Synod of Iași in 1642, and the Pan-Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem in 1672. Another council convened in June 2016 to discuss many modern phenomena including
Modernism , Solomon Guggenheim Museum 1946–1959 Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The moveme ...
, other Christian confessions, Orthodoxy's relation with other religions and fasting disciplines.


Roman/Byzantine Empire

Eastern
Christian culture Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practiceCultural practice is the manifestation of a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societ ...
reached its golden age during the high point of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
and continued to flourish in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, after the
fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Capi ...
. Numerous
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
churches were established in Europe: Greece, Georgia, Ukraine, as well as in Russia and Asia. In the 530s the (Hagia Sophia) was built in
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
under Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
. Beginning with subsequent
Byzantine architecture Byzantine architecture is the of the , or Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantine era is usually dated from 330 AD, when moved the Roman capital to , which became , until the in 1453. However, there was initially no hard line between the Byzanti ...
, Hagia Sophia became the paradigmatic Orthodox church form and its architectural style was emulated by Ottoman mosques a thousand years later. Being the
episcopal see An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a 's . Phrases concerning actions occurring within or outside an episcopal see are indicative of the geographical significance of the term, making it synonymous with '. The wo ...
of the
ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Kostantiniyye ekümenik patriği) is the archbishop of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , ...
, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until
Seville Cathedral The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See ( es, Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from ...
was completed in 1520.
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
has been described as "holding a unique position in the
Christian world Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian states, Christianity by country, Christian-majority countries and the countries in which Christianity dominates or prevails.SeMerriam-Webster.com : dictionary, "Christendom"/ref> ...
", and architectural and
cultural icon A cultural icon is a person or an that is identified by members of a culture as representative of that culture. The process of identification is subjective, and "icons" are judged by the extent to which they can be seen as an authentic symbol o ...
of
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
and Eastern Orthodox civilization,. and it is considered the epitome of
Byzantine architecture Byzantine architecture is the of the , or Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantine era is usually dated from 330 AD, when moved the Roman capital to , which became , until the in 1453. However, there was initially no hard line between the Byzanti ...
and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".


Early schisms

There are the "
Nestorian Nestorianism is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysemy is thus ...

Nestorian
" churches resulted from the reaction of the
Council of Ephesus The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus (near present-day Selçuk in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western ...
(431), which are the earliest surviving Eastern Christian churches that keep the faith of only the first two ecumenical councils, i.e., the
First Council of Nicaea The First Council of Nicaea (; grc, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialec ...
(325) and the
First Council of Constantinople The First Council of Constantinople ( la, Concilium Constantinopolitanum; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate ...
(381) as legitimate. "Nestorian" is an outsider's term for a tradition that predated the influence of
Nestorius Nestorius (; in grc, Νεστόριος; 386 – 450) was the Archbishop of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Konstantinopolis ekü ...
, the origin of which might lay in certain sections of the
School of Antioch The Catechetical School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of biblical exegesis Exegesis (; from the Ancient Greek, Greek from , "to lead out") is a critical explanation or interpretation (logic), interpretation of a text, ...
or via Nestorius' teachers
Theodore of Mopsuestia Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 350 – 428) was a Christian theologian Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an D ...
or Diodore of Tarsus. The modern incarnation of the "
Nestorian Church , native_name_lang = , image = File:Saint Elijah's Monastery 1.JPG , imagewidth = 325px , alt = , caption = Ruins of the monastery of Mar Eliya (Iraq) in 2005. In 2014 it was destroye ...
" is commonly referred to as "the Assyrian Church" or fully as the
Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East,, ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية sometimes called Church of the East, officially the Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,; ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية الرسولية ا ...
. The church in Egypt (
Patriarchate of Alexandria The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''A ...
) split into two groups following the
Council of Chalcedon The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, convoked by Emperor Marcian. The counci ...
(451), over a dispute about the relation between the divine and human natures of
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
. Eventually this led to each group anathematizing the other. Those that remained in communion with the other patriarchs (by accepting the Council of Chalcedon) are known today as the
Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria The Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa ( grc, Πατριαρχεῖον Ἀλεξανδρείας καὶ πάσης Ἀφρικῆς, Patriarcheîon Alexandreías kaì pásēs Aphrikês, The Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa), al ...
, where the adjective "Greek" refers to their ties to the Greek-speaking culture of the Byzantine Empire. However, those who disagreed with the findings of the Council of Chalcedon were the majority in Egypt, and today they are known as the
Coptic Orthodox Church The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطية ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
, having maintained a separate patriarchate. The Coptic Orthodox Church is currently the largest Christian church in Egypt and in the whole Middle East. There was also a similar, albeit smaller scale, split in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
(
Patriarchate of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...
), which resulted in the separation of the
Syriac Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate 2k18.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus, Syria ...
from the Byzantine Patriarchate of Antioch. Those who disagreed with the Council of Chalcedon are sometimes called "
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
" to distinguish them from the "
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
", who accepted the Council of Chalcedon. Oriental Orthodox are also sometimes referred to as "non-Chalcedonians", or "anti-Chalcedonians". The Oriental Orthodox Church denies that it is monophysite and prefers the term "
miaphysite Miaphysitism is the Christological doctrine upheld by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which include the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church is an Oriental Orthodox ch ...
", to denote the "united" nature of Jesus (two natures united into one) consistent with St. Cyril's theology: "The term union ... signifies the concurrence in one reality of those things which are understood to be united" and "the Word who is ineffably united with it in a manner beyond all description" (, ''On the Unity of Christ''). This is also defined in the Coptic liturgy, where it is mentioned "He made it is humanityone with his divinity without mingling, without confusion and without alteration", and "His divinity parted not from his humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye." They do not accept the teachings of
Eutyches Eutyches ( el, Εὐτυχής; c. 380c. 456) was a presbyter In the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Biblical canon ...
, or
Eutychianism Eutychianism, also known as Real Monophysitism, refers to a set of Christian theological doctrines derived from the ideas of Eutyches of Constantinople (c. 380 – c. 456). Eutychianism is a monophysite understanding of how the human and divine ...
. Both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches formally believe themselves to be the continuation of the true church, although over the last several decades there has been considerable reconciliation and the prospect of reunification has been discussed.


Conversion of South and East Slavs

In the 9th and 10th centuries, Christianity made great inroads into pagan Europe, including
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
(864) and later
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose of , and in and from the late 9th to the mid-13th century,John Channon & Robert Hudson, ''Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia'' (Penguin, 1995), p.16.saints Cyril and Methodius Cyril (born Constantine, 826–869) and Methodius (815–885) were two brothers and Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern pro ...

saints Cyril and Methodius
of
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica (), is the List of countries by largest and second largest cities, second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its Thessaloni ...

Thessaloniki
, two brothers chosen by to fulfill the request of
Rastislav of Moravia Rastislav or Rostislav, also known as St. Rastislav, (Latin language, Latin: ''Rastiz'', Greek language, Greek: Ῥασισθλάβος / ''Rhasisthlábos'') was the second known ruler of Great Moravia, Moravia (846–870).Spiesz ''et al.'' 2006 ...
for teachers who could minister to the Moravians in their own language. Cyril and Methodius began translating the
divine liturgy Icon of Ss. Basil the Great (left) and John Chrysostom, ascribed authors of the two most frequently used Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgies, c. 1150 (mosaic in the Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, Palermo). Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λ ...
, other liturgical texts, and the
Gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel"), but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out. In this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and ...
along with some other into local languages; with time, as these translations were copied by speakers of other dialects, the hybrid literary language
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (''црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ'', ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
was created. Originally sent to convert the Slavs of
Great Moravia Great Moravia ( la, Regnum Marahensium; el, Μεγάλη Μοραβία, ''Meghálī Moravía''; cz, Velká Morava ; sk, Veľká Morava ; pl, Wielkie Morawy), or simply Moravia, was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavs, West ...

Great Moravia
, Cyril and Methodius were forced to compete with
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...
missionaries from the Roman diocese; their disciples were driven out of Great Moravia in AD 886 and emigrated to
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
. After the Christianisation of Bulgaria in 864,
the disciples ''The Disciples'' is a 1993 spy thriller by Joe Andrew, who was chairman of the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and V.C. Andrews.
of
saints Cyril and Methodius Cyril (born Constantine, 826–869) and Methodius (815–885) were two brothers and Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern pro ...

saints Cyril and Methodius
in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
, the most important being Saint
Clement of Ohrid Saint Clement of Ohrid (Bulgarian language, Bulgarian and Macedonian language, Macedonian: , ; el, Άγιος Κλήμης της Αχρίδας; sk, svätý Kliment Ochridský; – 916) was one of the first First Bulgarian Empire, Medieval Bulg ...
and of
Preslav The modern Veliki Preslav or Great Preslav ( bg, Велики Преслав ), former Preslav (until 1993), is a city and the seat of government of the Veliki Preslav Municipality (Great Preslav Municipality, new Bulgarian: ''obshtina''), which ...
, were of great importance to the Orthodox faith in the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye) was a medieval Bulgar- Slavic and later Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

First Bulgarian Empire
. In a short time they managed to prepare and instruct the future
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
clergy into the biblical texts and in 870 AD the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians the oldest organised
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
, which shortly thereafter became Patriarchate. The success of the conversion of the Bulgarians facilitated the conversion of East
Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity and language. Most ethnic groups share a first language. However, the term is often used to emphasise ...
, most notably the Rus', predecessors of
Belarusians Belarusians ( be, беларусы, biełarusy, russian: белорусы, byelorusy), also and Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR, or Byelorussian SSR; be, Беларуская Са ...
,
Russians , native_name_lang = ru , image = , caption = Wedding ceremony in the national Russian tradition. , population = 134 million , popplace = 117,319,000 , region1 = , pop1 = 7,170,00 ...

Russians
, and
Ukrainians , native_name_lang = uk , image = , caption = , population = 37-40 million , popplace = 37,541,693 , region1 = , pop1 = 3,269,992 , ref1 = , region2 = ...
. A major event in this effort was the development of the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a used for various languages across and is used as the national script in various , , , , and -speaking countries in , , the , , , and . , around 250 million people in Eurasia use Cyrillic as the official scrip ...
in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, at the
Preslav Literary School The Preslav Literary School ( bg, Преславска книжовна школа), also known as the Pliska Literary School or Pliska-Preslav Literary school was the first literary school in the medieval First Bulgarian Empire, Bulgarian Empire ...
in the 9th century; this script, along with the liturgical
Old Church Slavonic Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic (, ) was the first Slavic literary language. Historians credit the 9th-century Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius with standardizing the language and using it in translating the Bible ...
, also called
Old Bulgarian Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic () was the first Slavic literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Si ...
, were declared official in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
in 893. The work of Cyril and Methodius and their disciples had a major impact on the
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
as well.''Columbia Encyclopedia'', Sixth Edition. 2001–05, s.v. "Cyril and Methodius, Saints" They accepted Christianity collectively along familial and tribal lines, a gradual process that occurred between the 7th and 9th centuries. In commemoration of their baptisms, each Serbian family or tribe began to celebrate an exclusively Serbian custom called
Slava The Slava ( sr-Cyrl, слава, lit=celebration, ) is a Serbian Orthodox Christian tradition of the ritual glorification of one's family's patron saint A branch of Saint_Honorius_(Honoré)_is_the_patron_saint_of_bakers_and_confectioners..html" ...

Slava
(patron saint) in a special way to honor the Saint on whose day they received the sacrament of Holy
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
. It is the most solemn day of the year for all Serbs of the Orthodox faith and has played a role of vital importance in the history of the Serbian people. Slava remains a celebration of the conversion of the Serbian people, which the Church blessed and proclaimed a Church institution. The missionaries to the East and
South Slavs The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are n ...
had great success in part because they used the people's native language rather than
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, the predominant language of the Byzantine Empire, or
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
, as the Roman priests did. Perhaps the greatest legacy of their efforts is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the largest of the Orthodox Churches.


Great Schism (1054)

In the 11th century, what was recognised as the
Great Schism Great Schism may refer to: * East–West Schism, between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, beginning in 1054 * Western Schism, a split within the Roman Catholic Church that lasted from 1378 to 1417 See also

* Schism, a divis ...
took place between
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, which led to separation between the Church of the West, the Catholic Church, and the Eastern Byzantine Churches, now the Orthodox. There were doctrinal issues like the
filioque ''Filioque'' ( , ) is a Latin term ("and from the Son") added to the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (commonly known as the Nicene Creed The Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) i ...
clause and the authority of the Roman
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
involved in the split, but these were greatly exacerbated by political factors of both Church and state, and by cultural and linguistic differences between Latins and Greeks. Regarding
papal supremacy Papal supremacy is the doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch ...
, the Eastern half grew disillusioned with the Pope's centralisation of power, as well as his blatant attempts of excluding the Eastern half in regard to papal approvals. It used to be that the emperor would at least have say when a new Pope would be elected, but towards the high Middle Ages, the Christians in Rome were slowly consolidating power and removing Byzantine influence. However, even before this exclusionary tendency from the West, well before 1054, the Eastern and Western halves of the Church were in perpetual conflict, particularly during the periods of Eastern
iconoclasm alt=A painting, 288px, In this Elizabethan work of propaganda, the top right of the picture depicts men busy pulling down and smashing icons, while power is shifting from the dying King Henry VIII at left, pointing to his far more staunchly Pr ...
and the
Photian schism The Photian Schism was a four-year (863–867) schism (religion), schism between the episcopal sees of Holy See, Rome and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Constantinople. The issue centred on the right of the Byzantine Emperor to depose ...
. The final breach is often considered to have arisen after the capture and sacking of Constantinople by the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
in 1204; the final break with Rome occurred circa 1450. The sacking of and establishment of the
Latin Empire The Latin Empire, also referred to as the Latin Empire of Constantinople, was a feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the ...

Latin Empire
as a seeming attempt to supplant the Orthodox
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
in 1204 is viewed with some rancour to the present day. In 2004,
Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the and sovereign of the from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was elected by ...

Pope John Paul II
extended a formal apology for the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, which had also been strongly condemned by the Pope at the time,
Innocent III Pope Innocent III ( la, Innocentius III; 1160 or 1161 - 16 July 1216, born Lotario dei Conti di Segni (anglicized as Lothar of Segni Segni (, ) is an Italy, Italian town and ''comune'' located in Lazio. The city is situated on a hilltop in the ...

Innocent III
; the apology was formally accepted by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. However, many items stolen during this time, such as and riches, are still held in various European cities, particularly
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
. Reunion was attempted twice, at the 1274
Second Council of Lyon:''The First Council of Lyon, the Thirteenth Ecumenical Council, took place in 1245.'' The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Arles (in mo ...
and the 1439
Council of Florence The Council of Florence is the seventeenth ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matte ...
. The Council of Florence briefly reestablished communion between East and West, which lasted until after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In each case, however, the councils were rejected by the Orthodox people as a whole, and the union of Florence also became very politically difficult after Constantinople came under Ottoman rule. However, in the time since, several local Orthodox Christian churches have renewed union with Rome, known as the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christi ...
. Recent decades have seen a renewal of ecumenical spirit and dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.


Greek Church under Ottoman rule

The Byzantine Empire never fully recovered from the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Over the next two centuries, it entered a precipitous decline in both territory and influence. In 1453, a much-diminished Byzantine Empire fell to the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, ending what was once the most powerful state in the Orthodox Christian world, if not in all
Christendom Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian state A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the ...
. By this time
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, another major center of Eastern Christianity, had been under
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
control for some seven centuries; most Eastern Orthodox communities across southeastern Europe gradually came under Ottoman rule by the 16th century. Under the Ottomans, the
Greek Orthodox Church The name Greek Orthodox Church (Greek language, Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, ''Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía'', ), or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Christian denomination, churches within the lar ...
acquired substantial power as an autonomous ''
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in Indi ...
''. The ecumenical patriarch was the religious and administrative ruler of the ''
Rûm Rûm (; singular Rûmi), also transliterated as ''Roum'' (in Arabic language, Arabic ''Arabic definite article, ar-Rūm''; in Persian language, Persian and Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish ''Rûm''; in tr, Rum), is a derivative of the ...
'', an Ottoman administrative unit meaning "Roman", which encompassed all Orthodox subjects of the Empire regardless of ethnicity. While legally subordinate to Muslims and subject to various restrictions, the Orthodox community was generally tolerated and left to govern its own internal affairs, both religiously and legally. Until the empire's dissolution in the early 20th century, Orthodox Christians would remain the largest non-Muslim minority, and at times among the wealthiest and most politically influential.


Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian Empire

By the time most Orthodox communities came under Muslim rule in the mid 15th century, Orthodoxy was very strong in Russia, which had maintained close cultural and political ties with the Byzantine Empire; roughly two decades after the fall of Constantinople,
Ivan III of Russia Ivan III Vasilyevich (russian: Иван III Васильевич; 22 January 1440, Moscow – 27 October 1505, Moscow), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Ru ...

Ivan III of Russia
married
Sophia Palaiologina Zoe Palaiologina ( grc-x-byzant, Ζωή Παλαιολογίνα), who later changed her name to Sophia Palaiologina (russian: София Фоминична Палеолог; ca. 1449 – 7 April 1503), was a Byzantine princess, member of the ...
, a niece of the last Byzantine Emperor
Constantine XI Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos or Dragaš Palaeologus ( el, Κωνσταντῖνος Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, ''Kōnstantinos Dragasēs Palaiologos''; 8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453) was the last Byzantine emperor, reign ...
, and styled himself Tsar ("Caesar") or ''imperator''. In 1547, his grandson
Ivan IV Ivan IV Vasilyevich (russian: Ива́н Васильевич; 25 August 1530 – ), commonly known in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken ...
, a devout Orthodox Christian, cemented the title as "Tsar of All Rus", establishing Russia's first centralised state with divinely appointed rulers. In 1589, the Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephalous status to Moscow, the capital of what was now the largest Orthodox Christian polity; the city thereafter referred to itself as the
Third Rome The continuation, succession and revival of the Roman Empire is a running theme of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean region. It reflects the lasting memories of power and prestige associated with the Roman Empire itself. Several polit ...
the cultural and religious heir of Constantinople. Until 1666, when Patriarch Nikon was deposed by the
tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mi ...
, the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хри ...

Russian Orthodox Church
had been independent of the State. In 1721, the first Russian Emperor,
Peter IPeter I may refer to: Religious hierarchs * Saint Peter (c. 1 AD – c. 64–88 AD), a.k.a. Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simon, apostle of Jesus * Pope Peter I of Alexandria (died 311), revered as a saint * Peter I of Armenia (died 1058), Catholicos o ...

Peter I
, abolished completely the patriarchate and effectively made the church a department of the government, ruled by a
most holy synod The Most Holy Governing Synod (russian: Святѣйшій Правительствующій Сѵнодъ, Святейший Правительствующий Синод) was the highest governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church between 1 ...
composed of senior bishops and lay bureaucrats appointed by the Emperor himself. Over time, Imperial Russia would style itself a protector and patron of all Orthodox Christians, especially those within the Ottoman Empire. For nearly 200 years, until the
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росси ...

Bolshevik
s'
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
of 1917, the Russian Orthodox Church remained, in effect, a governmental agency and an instrument of tsarist rule. It was used to varying degrees in imperial campaigns of
Russification Russification or Russianization (russian: Русификация, ''Rusifikatsiya'') is a form of cultural assimilation process during which non- Russian communities (whether involuntarily or voluntarily) give up their culture and language in fav ...
, and was even allowed to levy
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
es on
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
s. The Church's close ties with the state came to a head under Nicholas I (1825-1855), who explicitly made Orthodoxy a core doctrine of imperial unity and legitimacy. The Orthodox faith became further tied to Russian identity and nationalism, while the Church was further subordinated to the interests of the state. Consequently, Russian Orthodox Church, along with the imperial regime to which it belonged, came to be presented as an
enemy of the people The term enemy of the people or enemy of the nation, is a designation for the political or class opponents of the subgroup in power within a larger group. The term implies that by opposing the ruling subgroup, the "enemies" in question are acti ...
by the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
and other Russian revolutionaries.


Eastern Orthodox churches under Communist rule

After the
October revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October revolution
of 1917, part of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church fled abroad to escape
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росси ...

Bolshevik
persecutions, founding an independent church in exile, which reunified with its Russian counterpart in 2007. Some actions against Orthodox priests and believers along with
execution Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

execution
included
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering i ...

torture
, being sent to ,
labour camps A labor camp (or labour camp, see British and American spelling differences, spelling differences) or work camp is a detention facility where inmates are unfree labour, forced to engage in penal labor as a form of punishment. Labor camps have ma ...
or
mental hospitals Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental health units, are hospitals or wards specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely ...
. In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were executed.Ostling, Richard
"Cross meets Kremlin"
''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'', 24 June 2001. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
After Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941,
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin . ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgia (country), Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922 ...
revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support for the war effort. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. However, in 1959,
Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (– 11 September 1971) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and as Premier of the Soviet Union ...
initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12,000 churches. It is estimated that 50,000 clergy had been executed between the revolution and the end of the Khrushchev era. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB. By 1985 fewer than 7,000 churches remained active.
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
was the only state to have declared itself officially fully atheist. In some other Communist states such as
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, the
Romanian Orthodox Church The Romanian Orthodox Church ( ro, Biserica Ortodoxă Română), or Patriarchate of Romania, is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomination ...
as an organisation enjoyed relative freedom and even prospered, albeit under strict secret police control. That, however, did not rule out demolishing churches and monasteries as part of broader systematisation (urban planning), and state persecution of individual believers. As an example of the latter, Romania stands out as a country which ran a specialised institution where many Orthodox (along with people of other faiths) were subjected to
psychological punishment A psychological punishment is a type of punishment , England Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority In the fields of sociology Socio ...
or torture and
mind control Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of pri ...
experimentation in order to force them give up their religious convictions. However, this was only supported by one faction within the regime, and lasted only three years. The Communist authorities closed down the prison in 1952, and punished many of those responsible for abuses (twenty of them were sentenced to death).


Post-communism to 21st century

Since the
collapse of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal balkanization, ...
, and the subsequent fall of communist governments across the Orthodox world, there has been marked growth in Christian Orthodoxy, particularly in Russia. According to the Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project, between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31 percent to 72 percent, based on analysis of three waves of data (1991, 1998 and 2008) from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), a collaborative effort involving social scientists in about 50 countries. Pew research conducted in 2017 found a doubling in the global Orthodox population since the early 20th century, with the greatest resurgence in Russia. In the former Soviet Union—where the largest Orthodox communities live—self-identified Orthodox Christians generally report low levels of observance and piety: In Russia, only 6% of Orthodox Christian adults reported attending church at least weekly, 15% say religion is "very important" in their lives, and 18% say they pray daily; other former Soviet republics display similarly low levels of religious observance.


1996 and 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schisms


Organisation and leadership

The Eastern Orthodox Church is a fellowship of
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
(Greek for self-headed) churches, with the
ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Kostantiniyye ekümenik patriği) is the archbishop of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , ...
recognised as having the ''
primus inter pares ''Primus inter pares'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
'' status. The patriarch of Constantinople has the honor of primacy, but his title is only first among equals and has no real authority over churches other than the Constantinopolitan and set out prerogatives interpreted by the ecumenical patriarch, though at times the office of the ecumenical patriarch has been accused of Constantinopolitan or Eastern papism. The Eastern Orthodox Church considers
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
to be the head of the church and the church to be his body. It is believed that authority and the
grace of God Divine grace is a theological Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge ...
is directly passed down to Orthodox
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s and
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
through the
laying on of hands The laying on of hands is a religious practice. In Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin ...

laying on of hands
—a practice started by the
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...
, and that this unbroken historical and physical link is an essential element of the true Church (Acts 8:17, 1 Tim 4:14, Heb 6:2). The Eastern Orthodox assert that apostolic succession requires apostolic faith, and bishops without apostolic faith, who are in
heresy Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
, forfeit their claim to apostolic succession. The Eastern Orthodox communion is organised into several regional churches, which are either autocephalous ("self-headed") or lower-ranking
autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects o ...

autonomous
(the Greek term for "self-governing") church bodies unified in
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
and worship. These include the fourteen autocephalous churches of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...
,
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...
,
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
,
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...
, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which were officially invited to the Pan-Orthodox Council of 2016, the
Orthodox Church in America The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian denomination, Christian church based in North America. The OCA is partly recognized as Autocephaly, autocephalous and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communitie ...
formed in 1970, the autocephalous
Orthodox Church of Ukraine The Orthodox Church of Ukraine ( uk, Православна церква України, Pravoslavna tserkva Ukrainy) (OCU) is a partially recognized Autocephaly, autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. T ...

Orthodox Church of Ukraine
created in 2019, as well as a number of autonomous churches. Each church has a ruling
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
and a
holy synod In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 mil ...
to administer its jurisdiction and to lead the Eastern Orthodox Church in the preservation and teaching of the apostolic and
patristic Patristics or patrology is the study of the early Christian writers who are designated Church Fathers. The names derive from the Classical compound, combined forms of Latin ''pater'' and Greek ''patḗr'' (father). The period is generally consider ...
traditions and church practices. Each bishop has a territory ( see) over which he governs. His main duty is to make sure the traditions and practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church are preserved. Bishops are equal in authority and cannot interfere in the jurisdiction of another bishop. Administratively, these bishops and their territories are organised into various
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
groups or
synod A synod () is a council of a Ecclesia (church), church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the L ...

synod
s of
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s who gather together at least twice a year to discuss the state of affairs within their respective sees. While bishops and their autocephalous synods have the ability to administer guidance in individual cases, their actions do not usually set precedents that affect the entire Eastern Orthodox Church. Bishops are almost always chosen from the monastic ranks and must remain unmarried.


Church councils

The ecumenical councils followed a democratic form, with each bishop having one vote. Though present and allowed to speak before the council, members of the /
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...

Byzantine
court, abbots, priests, deacons, monks and laymen were not allowed to vote. The primary goal of these great synods was to verify and confirm the fundamental beliefs of the Great Christian Church as truth, and to remove as heresy any false teachings that would threaten the Christian Church. The
pope of Rome The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Chr ...

pope of Rome
at that time held the position of ''
primus inter pares ''Primus inter pares'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
'' ("first among equals") and, while he was not present at any of the councils, he continued to hold this title until the
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
of 1054. Other councils have helped to define the Eastern Orthodox position, specifically the
Quinisext Council The Quinisext Council (Latin: ''Concilium Quinisextum''; Koine Greek: , ''Penthékti Sýnodos''), i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council, often called the Council in Trullo, Trullan Council, or the Penthekte Synod, was a church council held in 692 at Cons ...
, the Synods of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
, 879–880, 1341, 1347, 1351, 1583, 1819, and 1872, the Synod of Iași, 1642, and the Pan-Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem, 1672; the Pan-Orthodox Council, held in Greece in 2016, was the only such Eastern Orthodox council in modern times. According to Eastern Orthodox teaching the position of "first among equals" gives no additional power or authority to the bishop that holds it, but rather that this person sits as organisational head of a council of equals (like a president). One of the decisions made by the
First Council of Constantinople The First Council of Constantinople ( la, Concilium Constantinopolitanum; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate ...
(the second ecumenical council, meeting in 381) and supported by later such councils was that the Patriarch of Constantinople should be given equal honor to the Pope of Rome since Constantinople was considered to be the "
New Rome New Rome (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as o ...
". According to the third
canon Canon or Canons may refer to: Places * Canon, Georgia Canon is a city in Franklin County, Georgia, Franklin and Hart County, Georgia, Hart counties in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The population was 804 at the 2010 census. His ...
of the second ecumenical council: "Because onstantinopleis new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honor after the bishop of Rome." The 28th canon of the fourth ecumenical council clarified this point by stating: "For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of Old Rome because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops (i.e. the second ecumenical council in 381) actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is." Because of the schism, the Eastern Orthodox no longer recognise the primacy of the pope of Rome. The patriarch of Constantinople therefore, like the Pope before him, now enjoys the title of "first among equals".


Adherents

The most reliable estimates currently available number Eastern Orthodox adherents at around 220 million worldwide, making Eastern Orthodoxy the second largest Christian
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...

communion
in the world after the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

Catholic Church
. According to the 2015 Yearbook of International Religious Demography, as of 2010, the Eastern Orthodox population was 4% of the global population, declining from 7.1% in 1910. The study also found a decrease in proportional terms, with Eastern Orthodox Christians making up 12.2% of the world's total Christian population in 2015 compared to 20.4% a century earlier. A 2017 report by the
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's el ...

Pew Research Center
reached similar figures, noting that Eastern Orthodoxy has seen slower growth and less geographic spread than Catholicism and Protestantism, which were driven by
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...

colonialism
and
missionary A missionary is a member of a Religious denomination, religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development.Thomas Hale 'On Being a Missio ...

missionary
activity across the world. Over two-thirds of all Eastern Orthodox members are concentrated in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
,
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, with significant minorities in
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. However, Eastern Orthodoxy has become more globalized over the last century, seeing greater growth in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
,
the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...
, and parts of Africa; churches are present in the major cities of most countries. Adherents constitute the largest single religious
community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense of place (geography), plac ...

community
in Russia Based on a survey of 56,900 people interviewed in 2012, responding 41% yes to the statement: "I am Orthodox, and belong to the Russian Orthodox Church."—which is home to roughly half the world's Eastern Orthodox Christians—and are the majority in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...

Serbia
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subr ...
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
, and
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...

Montenegro
; communities also dominate the disputed territories of
Abkhazia Abkhazia, , ka, აფხაზეთი, , rus, Абха́зия, r=Abkhaziya, p=ɐˈpxazʲɪjə xmf, აბჟუა, or , ( or ) is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus Transcaucasia, also known as the South Caucasus, ...

Abkhazia
,
South Ossetia South Ossetia (, less commonly ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a ''de facto'' state in the South Caucasus. It has an officially stated population of just over 53,000 people, who ...
and
Transnistria Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is an List of states with limited recognition, unrecognised breakaway state located in the narrow strip of land between the river Dniester and the Moldova–Ukraine border, ...

Transnistria
. Significant Eastern Orthodox minorities exist in
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
,
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
,Table 28, 2013 Census Data – QuickStats About Culture and Identity – Tables
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
,Lebanon – International Religious Freedom Report 2010
U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 14 February 2010.
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, and many other countries. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the fastest growing religion in certain Western countries, primarily through labor migration from Eastern Europe, and to a lesser degree conversion.
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
saw a doubling of its Eastern Orthodox population between 2006 and 2011. Spain and Germany have the , at roughly 1.5 million each, followed by Italy with around 900,000 and France with between 500,000 and 700,000. In the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
, four countries have over 100,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States; all but the latter had fewer than 20,000 at the turn of the 20th century. The U.S. has seen its community more than quadruple since 1910, from 460,000 to 1.8 million as of 2017; consequently, the number of Eastern Orthodox parishes has been growing, with a 16% increase between 2000 and 2010.
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
, which for centuries once had one of the largest Eastern Orthodox communities, saw its overall Christian population fall from roughly one-fifth in 1914 to 2.5% in 1927. This was predominantly due to the
dissolution of the Ottoman Empire The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908–1922) began with the Young Turk Revolution which restored the Ottoman constitution of 1876, constitution of 1876 and brought in List of political parties in the Ottoman Empire, multi-party politics w ...

dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
, which saw most Christian territories become independent nations. The remaining Christian population was reduced further by large-scale genocides against the
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...

Armenian
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, ; subsequent
population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in Athens has been destroyed like many other mosques in Greece. Now the building is used as a Museum of Greek Folk Art. The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey ( el, Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, I Antallagí, ota, مبادله, Müb ...
and Bulgaria and Turkey; and associated emigration of Christians to foreign countries (mostly in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
and
the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...
). Today, only 0.2% of Turkey's population represent either
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jews
or various
Christian denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
.


Theology


Trinity

Orthodox Christians believe in the
Trinity The Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian ...

Trinity
, three distinct, divine persons ('' hypostases''), without overlap or
modality Modality may refer to: Humanities * Modality (theology), the organization and structure of the church, as distinct from sodality or parachurch organizations * Modality (music), in music, the subject concerning certain diatonic scales * Modalities ...
among them, who each have one divine
essence Essence ( la, essentia) is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysem ...
(''ousia'', Greek: οὐσία)—uncreated, immaterial, and
eternal Eternal(s) or The Eternal may refer to: * Eternity, an infinite amount of time, or a timeless state * Immortality or eternal life * God, the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith in monotheism Comics, film and television * ...
. These three persons are typically distinguished by their relation to each other. The
Father A father is the male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sex ...

Father
is eternal and not begotten and does not proceed from any, the
Son A son is a male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction ...
is eternal and begotten of the Father, and the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
is eternal and proceeds from the Father. Orthodox doctrine regarding the Trinity is summarised in the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
. Orthodox Christians believe in a
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousn ...
conception of God (God is only one), which is both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the material universe). In discussing God's relationship to his creation, Orthodox theology distinguishes between God's eternal essence, which is totally transcendent, and his ''uncreated energies'', which is how he reaches humanity. The God who is transcendent and the God who touches mankind are one and the same. That is, these energies are not something that proceed from God or that God produces, but rather they are God himself: distinct, yet inseparable from God's inner being. This view is often called
Palamism Palamism or the Palamite theology comprises the teachings of Gregory Palamas Gregory Palamas ( el, Γρηγόριος Παλαμᾶς; c. 1296 – 1357 or 1359) was a Byzantine Greeks, Byzantine Greek prominent theologian and ecclesiastical figu ...
. In understanding the Trinity as "one God in three persons", "three persons" is not to be emphasised more than "one God", and vice versa. While the three persons are distinct, they are united in one divine essence, and their oneness is expressed in community and action so completely that they cannot be considered separately. For example, their salvation of mankind is an activity engaged in common: "Christ became man by the good will of the Father and by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Christ sends the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Spirit forms Christ in our hearts, and thus God the Father is glorified." Their "communion of essence" is "indivisible". Trinitarian terminology—essence, hypostasis, etc.—are used "philosophically", "to answer the ideas of the heretics", and "to place the terms where they separate error and truth." The words do what they can do, but the nature of the Trinity in its fullness is believed to remain beyond man's comprehension and expression, a holy mystery that can only be experienced.


Sin, salvation, and the incarnation

When Eastern Orthodox Christians refer to fallen nature they are not saying that human nature has become evil in itself. Human nature is still formed in the image of God; humans are still God's creation, and God has never created anything evil, but fallen nature remains open to evil intents and actions. It is sometimes said among Orthodox that humans are "inclined to sin"; that is, people find some sinful things attractive. It is the nature of temptation to make sinful things seem the more attractive, and it is the fallen nature of humans that seeks or succumbs to the attraction. Orthodox Christians reject the Augustinian position that the descendants of Adam and Eve are actually guilty of the original sin of their ancestors. Since the fall of man, then, it has been mankind's dilemma that no human can restore his nature to union with God's grace; it was necessary for God to effect another change in human nature. Orthodox Christians believe that Christ Jesus was both God and Man absolutely and completely, having two natures indivisibly: eternally begotten of the Father in his divinity, he was born in his humanity of a woman, Mary, by her consent, through descent of the Holy Spirit. He lived on earth, in time and history, as a man. As a man he also died, and went to the place of the dead, which is
Hades Hades (; grc-gre, ᾍδης, Háidēs; ), in the ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public ...
. But being God, neither death nor Hades could contain him, and he rose to life again, in his humanity, by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus destroying the power of Hades and of death itself. Through Christ's destruction of Hades' power to hold humanity hostage, he made the path to salvation effective for all the righteous who had died from the beginning of time—saving many, including Adam and Eve, who are remembered in the Church as saints.


Resurrection of Christ

The Eastern Orthodox Church understands the death and resurrection of Jesus to be real historical events, as described in the gospels of the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
.


Christian life

Church teaching is that Orthodox Christians, through baptism, 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. The Eastern Orthodox Christian life is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person, through the
imitation of Christ In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Chris ...
and ''
hesychasm Hesychasm () is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-large ...
'', cultivates the practice of unceasing prayer. Each life occurs within the life of the church as a member of the
body of Christ In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Christia ...
. It is then through the fire of God's love in the action of the Holy Spirit that each member becomes more holy, more wholly unified with Christ, starting in this life and continuing in the next. The church teaches that everyone, being born in God's image, 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 Eastern Orthodox Church, in understanding itself to be the
Body of Christ In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Christia ...
, 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''.


Virgin Mary and other saints

The Eastern Orthodox Church believes death and the separation of body and soul to be unnatural—a result of the
Fall of Man The fall of man, the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Je ...
. They also hold that the congregation of the church comprises both the living and the dead. All persons currently in heaven are considered to be
saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and Christian denomination, denominatio ...

saint
s, whether their names are known or not. There are, however, those saints of distinction whom God has revealed as particularly good examples. When a saint is revealed and ultimately recognised by a large portion of the church a service of official recognition (
glorification Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus ...
) is celebrated. This does not "make" the person a saint; it merely recognises the fact and announces it to the rest of the church. A day is prescribed for the saint's celebration, hymns composed and icons created. Numerous saints are celebrated on each day of the year. They are venerated (shown great respect and love) but not worshipped, for worship is due God alone (this view is also held by the
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
and
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

Catholic Church
es). In showing the saints this love and requesting their prayers, the Eastern Orthodox manifest their belief that the saints thus assist in the process of salvation for others. Pre-eminent among the saints is the
Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrat ...

Virgin Mary
(commonly referred to as ''Theotokos'' or ''Bogoroditsa'': "
Mother of God Catholic Mariology is Mariology Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus Jesus; he, יֵשׁוּעַ, '' Yēšū́aʿ''; ar, عيسى, ʿĪsā ( 4 BC AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or ...

Mother of God
"). In E. Orthodox theology, the Mother of God is the fulfillment of the Old Testament archetypes revealed in the
Ark of the Covenant The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judea ...

Ark of the Covenant
(because she carried the New Covenant in the person of Christ) and the
burning bush The burning bush is an object described by as being located on Mount Horeb Mount Horeb (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. ...
that appeared before
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
(symbolizing the Mother of God's carrying of God without being consumed). The Eastern Orthodox believe that Christ, from the moment of his conception, was both fully God and fully human. Mary is thus called the ''Theotokos'' or ''Bogoroditsa'' as an affirmation of the divinity of the one to whom she gave birth. It is also believed that her virginity was not compromised in conceiving God-incarnate, that she was not harmed and that she remained forever a virgin. Scriptural references to "brothers" of Christ are interpreted as kin, given that the word "brother" was used in multiple ways, as was the term "father". Due to her unique place in salvation history, Mary is honoured above all other saints and especially venerated for the great work that God accomplished through her. The Eastern Orthodox Church regards the bodies of all saints as holy, made such by participation in the holy mysteries, especially the communion of Christ's holy body and blood, and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the church. Indeed, that persons and physical things can be made holy is a cornerstone of the doctrine of the
Incarnation Incarnation literally means ''embodied in flesh'' or ''taking on flesh''. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient Sentience is the capacity to be aware of feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of to ...
, made manifest also directly by God in Old Testament times through his dwelling in the Ark of the Covenant. Thus, physical items connected with saints are also regarded as holy, through their participation in the earthly works of those saints. According to church teaching and tradition, God himself bears witness to this holiness of saints'
relic In religion, a relic is an object or article of religious significance from the past, it usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration Veneration ...

relic
s through the many miracles connected with them that have been reported throughout history since biblical times, often including healing from disease and injury.


Eschatology

Orthodox Christians believe that when a person dies the soul is temporarily separated from the body. Though it may linger for a short period on Earth, it is ultimately escorted either to paradise ( Abraham's bosom) or the darkness of
Hades Hades (; grc-gre, ᾍδης, Háidēs; ), in the ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public ...
, following the Temporary Judgment. Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of
Purgatory Purgatory (, via Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman and Old French) is, according to the belief of some Christianity, Christians (mostly Catholics), an intermediate state after physical death for expiatory purification. There is disagreement amo ...

Purgatory
, which is held by Catholicism. The soul's experience of either of these states is only a "foretaste"—being experienced only by the soul—until the
Final Judgment The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, i ...
, when the soul and body will be reunited.Rose, Father Seraphim, ''The Soul After Death'', St. Herman Press, Platina, CA, c. 1980 The Eastern Orthodox believe that the state of the soul in Hades can be affected by the love and prayers of the righteous up until the Last Judgment. For this reason the Church offers a special
prayer for the deadReligions with the belief in a Judgment Day, future judgment or a resurrection of the dead or of purgatory often offer prayers on behalf of the dead to God. Buddhism For most funerals that follow the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, common practices i ...
on the third day, ninth day, fortieth day, and the one-year anniversary after the death of an Orthodox Christian. There are also several days throughout the year that are set aside for general commemoration of the departed, sometimes including nonbelievers. These days usually fall on a Saturday, since it was on a Saturday that Christ lay in the
Tomb A tomb ( grc-gre, τύμβος ''tumbos'') is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes. Placing a corpse into a tomb can be called ''immuremen ...

Tomb
. The Eastern Orthodox believe that after the Final Judgment: * All souls will be reunited with their resurrected bodies. * All souls will fully experience their spiritual state. * Having been perfected, the saints will forever progress towards a deeper and fuller love of God, which equates with eternal happiness.


Bible

The official Bible of the Eastern Orthodox Church contains the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
text of the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites. The ...
, with the
Book of Daniel The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BCE biblical apocalypse with an ostensible 6th century BCE setting, combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology (a portrayal of end times) both cosmic in scope and political in focus. It gives "an acc ...
given in the translation by
Theodotion Theodotion (; grc-gre, Θεοδοτίων, ''gen''.: Θεοδοτίωνος; died c. 200) was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, perhaps working in Ephesus, who in c. 150 CE translated the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ...
. The Patriarchal Text is used for the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
. Orthodox Christians hold that the Bible is a verbal icon of Christ, as proclaimed by the 7th ecumenical council. They refer to the Bible as
holy scripture Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from Literature, literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or Religious law, laws, ethical conduct, spiritua ...
, meaning writings containing the foundational truths of the Christian faith as revealed by Christ and the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
to its divinely inspired human authors. Holy scripture forms the primary and authoritative written witness of
holy tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propos ...
and is essential as the basis for all Orthodox teaching and belief. Once established as holy scripture, there has never been any question that the Eastern Orthodox Church holds the full list of books to be venerable and beneficial for reading and study, even though it informally holds some books in higher esteem than others, the four gospels highest of all. Of the subgroups significant enough to be named, the " Anagignoskomena" (ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, "things that are read") comprises ten of the Old Testament books rejected in the Protestant canon, but deemed by the Eastern Orthodox worthy to be read in worship services, even though they carry a lesser esteem than the 39 books of the . The lowest tier contains the remaining books not accepted by either Protestants or Catholics, among them,
Psalm 151 Psalm 151 is a short found in most copies of the but not in the of the . The title given to this psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is , and no number is affixed to it: "This Psalm is ascribed to David and is outside the number. When h ...
. Though it is a psalm, and is in the book of psalms, it is not classified as being within the Psalter (the first 150 psalms). In a very strict sense, it is not entirely orthodox to call the holy scripture the "Word of God". That is a title the Eastern Orthodox Church reserves for Christ, as supported in the scriptures themselves, most explicitly in the first chapter of the gospel of John. God's Word is not hollow, like human words. "God said, 'let there be light'; and there was light." The Eastern Orthodox Church does not subscribe to the Protestant doctrine of ''
sola scriptura , meaning by scripture alone, is a Christian theological doctrine held by some Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants orig ...
''. The church has defined what Scripture is; it also interprets what its meaning is. Christ promised: "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth". Scriptures are understood to contain historical fact, poetry, idiom, metaphor, simile, moral fable, parable, prophecy and
wisdom literature Wisdom literature is a genre of literature common in the ancient Near East. It consists of statements by sage (philosophy), sages and the Wisdom, wise that offer teachings about divinity and virtue. Although this genre uses techniques of traditiona ...
, and each bears its own consideration in its interpretation. While divinely inspired, the text still consists of words in human languages, arranged in humanly recognisable forms. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not oppose honest critical and historical study of the Bible.


Holy tradition and the patristic consensus

"That faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all", the faith taught by Jesus to the apostles, given life by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
at
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
, and passed down to future generations without additions and without subtractions, is known as
holy tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propos ...
. Holy tradition does not change in the Eastern Orthodox Church because it encompasses those things that do not change: the nature of the one God in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the history of God's interactions with his peoples, the Law as given to the Israelites, all Christ's teaching as given to the disciples and Jews and recorded in scripture, including the parables, the prophecies, the miracles, and his own example to humanity in his extreme humility. It encompasses also the worship of the church, which grew out of the worship of the synagogue and temple and was extended by Christ at the last supper, and the relationship between God and his people which that worship expresses, which is also evidenced between Christ and his disciples. It includes the authority that Christ bestowed on his disciples when he made them apostles. Holy tradition is firm, even unyielding, but not rigid or legalistic; instead, it lives and breathes within the church. For example, the New Testament was entirely written by the early church (mostly the apostles). The whole Bible was accepted as scripture by means of holy tradition practised within the early church. The writing and acceptance took five centuries, by which time the holy scriptures themselves had become in their entirety a part of holy tradition. But holy tradition did not change, because "that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all" remained consistent, without additions, and without subtractions. The historical development of the Divine Liturgy and other worship services and devotional practices of the church provide a similar example of extension and growth "without change". Besides these, holy tradition includes the doctrinal definitions and statements of faith of the seven ecumenical councils, including the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed The Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) is a Christian statement of belief widely used in liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious ph ...
, and some later local councils, patristic writings,
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
, and icons. Not all portions of holy tradition are held to be equally strong. Some—the holy scriptures foremost, certain aspects of worship, especially in the Divine Liturgy, the doctrines of the ecumenical councils, the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed The Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) is a Christian statement of belief widely used in liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious ph ...
—possess a verified authority that endures forever, irrevocably. However, with local councils and patristic writings, the church applies a selective judgement. Some councils and writers have occasionally fallen into error, and some contradict each other. In other cases, opinions differ, no consensus is forthcoming, and all are free to choose. With agreement among the Church Fathers, though, the authority of interpretation grows, and full patristic consensus is very strong. With canon law (which tends to be highly rigorous and very strict, especially with clergy) an unalterable validity also does not apply, since canons deal with living on earth, where conditions are always changing and each case is subject to almost infinite variation from the next. By tradition, the Eastern Orthodox Church, when faced with issues that are larger than a single bishop can resolve, holds a local council. The bishops and such others as may attend convene (as St. Paul called the Corinthians to do) to seek the ''mind of the church''. A council's declarations or edicts then reflect its consensus (if one can be found). An ecumencial council is only called for issues of such import or difficulty or pervasiveness that smaller councils are insufficient to address them. Ecumenical councils' declarations and canons carry binding weight by virtue of their representation across the whole church, by which the mind of the church can be readily seen. However, not all issues are so difficult as to require an ecumenical council to resolve. Some doctrines or decisions, not defined in a formal statement or proclaimed officially, nevertheless are held by the church unshakably and unanimously without internal disturbance, and these, also reflecting the mind of the church, are just as firmly irrevocable as a formal declaration of an ecumenical council. Lack of formality does not imply lack of authority within holy tradition.


Territorial expansion and doctrinal integrity

As the church increased in size through the centuries, the logistic dynamics of operating such large entities shifted: patriarchs, metropolitans, archimandrites, abbots and abbesses, all rose up to cover certain points of administration.


Liturgy


Church calendar

Lesser cycles also run in tandem with the annual ones. A weekly cycle of days prescribes a specific focus for each day in addition to others that may be observed.


Church services


Music and chanting

The church has developed eight modes or tones (see
Octoechos Oktōēchos (here transcribed "Octoechos"; Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
) within which a chant may be set, depending on the time of year, feast day, or other considerations of the
Typikon A typikon (or ''typicon'', ''typica''; gr, , "that of the prescribed form"; Church Slavonic, Slavonic: Тvпико́нъ ''Typikonə'' or Оуставъ, ''ustavə'') is a liturgical book which contains instructions about the order of the Byza ...
. There are numerous versions and styles that are traditional and acceptable and these vary a great deal between cultures.


Traditions


Monasticism

The Eastern Orthodox Church places emphasis and awards a high level of prestige to traditions of
monasticism Monasticism (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods ...
and
asceticism Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις, áskesis, exercise', 'training) is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their pr ...
with roots in
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
in the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
and Byzantine
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. The most important centres of Christian Orthodox monasticism are
Saint Catherine's Monastery Saint Catherine's Monastery ( ar, دير القدّيسة كاترين; grc-gre, Μονὴ τῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης), officially Sacred Autonomous Royal Monastery of Saint Katherine of the Holy and God-Trodden Mount Sinai ( e ...

Saint Catherine's Monastery
in the
Sinai Peninsula The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai (now usually ) (, ), is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between As ...

Sinai Peninsula
(
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
) and
Mount Athos Mount Athos (; el, Ἄθως, ) is a mountain and peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. Th ...

Mount Athos
in
Northern Greece Northern Greece ( el, Βόρεια Ελλάδα, Voreia Ellada) is used to refer to the northern parts of Greece, and can have various definitions. Administrative term The term "Northern Greece" is widely used to refer mainly to the two northern ...
.


Icons and symbols


Icons

Aspects of the
iconography Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description and interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct fro ...

iconography
borrow from the pre-Christian
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
and
Hellenistic art Hellenistic art is the art of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle ...
. Henry Chadwick wrote, "In this instinct there was a measure of truth. The representations of Christ as the Almighty Lord on his judgment throne owed something to pictures of Zeus. Portraits of the Mother of God were not wholly independent of a pagan past of venerated mother-goddesses. In the popular mind the saints had come to fill a role that had been played by heroes and deities." Icons can be found adorning the walls of churches and often cover the inside structure completely. Most E. Orthodox homes have an area set aside for family prayer, usually an eastern facing wall, where are hung many icons. Icons have been part of Orthodox Christianity since the beginning of the church.


Iconostasis

An ''iconostasis'', also called the ''templon'', is a wall of
icons An icon (from the Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The ...

icons
and religious paintings, separating the
nave The nave () is the central part of a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities ...

nave
from the
sanctuary violates Cassandra Cassandra or Kassandra (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divid ...

sanctuary
in a
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical build ...
. ''Iconostasis'' also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church. The modern iconostasis evolved from the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
templon A templon (from Greek language, Greek τέμπλον meaning "temple", plural ''templa'') is a feature of Byzantine architecture, Byzantine churches consisting of a barrier separating the nave from the chancel, sanctuary near the altar. The solid ...
in the 11th century. The evolution of the iconostasis probably owes a great deal to 14th-century
Hesychast Hesychasm () is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-large ...
mysticism Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of ecstasy Ecstasy may refer to: * Ecstasy (emotion), a trance or trance-like state in which a person transcends normal consciousness * Religious ...
and the wood-carving genius of the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хри ...

Russian Orthodox Church
. The first ceiling-high, five-leveled Russian iconostasis was designed by Andrey Rublyov in the
cathedral of the Dormition The Cathedral of the Dormition (russian: Успенский Собор, or ''Uspensky sobor''), also known as the Assumption Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption is a Russian Orthodox church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) ...
in
Vladimir Vladimir or Wladimir may refer to: Names * Vladimir (name) for the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak and Slovenian spellings of a Slavic name * Uladzimir for the Belarusian version of the name * Volodymyr f ...
in 1408.


Cross

The small top crossbar represents the sign that
Pontius Pilate ), as well as Claudia Procula and sometimes other names such as Livia or Pilatessa. , known_for = Pilate's court Pontius Pilate ( ; grc-gre, Πόντιος Πιλάτος, ) was the fifth governor of the Judea (Roman province), Roman pro ...
nailed above Christ's head. It often is inscribed with an acronym, "INRI", Latin for "" or "INBI", Greek Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεύς τῶν Ἰουδαίων for " Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"; however, it is often replaced or amplified by the phrase "The King of Glory" in order to answer Pilate's statement with Christ's affirmation, "My Kingdom is not of this world". Other crosses associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church are the more traditional single-bar crosses, budded designs, the
Greek cross This is a list of Christian cross variants. The Christian cross The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea (Roman province), Ju ...

Greek cross
, the
Latin cross A Latin cross or ''crux immissa'' is a type of cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique l ...

Latin cross
, the
Jerusalem cross The Jerusalem cross (also known as "five-fold Cross", or "cross-and-crosslets") is a heraldic cross and Christian cross variant consisting of a large cross potent surrounded by four smaller Greek crosses, one in each quadrant. It was used as the em ...

Jerusalem cross
(cross pattée), es, and others. A common symbolism of the slanted foot stool is The foot-rest points up, toward Heaven, on Christ's right hand-side, and downward, to Hades, on Christ's left. "Between two thieves Thy Cross did prove to be a balance of righteousness: wherefore one of them was dragged down to Hades by the weight of his blasphemy '' he balance points downward', whereas the other was lightened of his transgressions unto the comprehension of theology ''
he balance points upward He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Modern English, ''he'' is a Grammatical number, singular, Grammatical gender, masculine, Grammatical person, third-person personal pronoun, pronoun. Morphology In Standard English, Standard M ...
'. O Christ God, glory to Thee." Another E. Orthodox cross which is worn in gold is an outer budded cross with an inner Three Bar Cross. The inscription Jesus Christ in Greek: IC (Iesous) on the left side bar and XC (Xhristos) on the right side bar, with a sun on the top of the cross. There is also typically an inscription on the back in
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (''црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ'', ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
: "спаси и сохрани", "''Spasi i Sokhrani''", "''Save and Protect''". This cross is known as the Saint Olga Cross.


Art and architecture

The
Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity The Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, at 319–337 East 74th Street on the Upper East Side in New York City, New York, is a Neo-Byzantine-style Greek Orthodox church. It serves as the national cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Archdio ...
on New York City's
Upper East Side The Upper East Side, sometimes abbreviated UES, is a neighborhood in the of in , bounded by to the north, the to the east, to the south, and / to the west. The area incorporates several smaller neighborhoods, including , , and . Once known ...

Upper East Side
is the largest Orthodox Christian church in the Western Hemisphere.


Local customs

Locality is also expressed in regional terms of churchly jurisdiction, which is often also drawn along national lines. Many Orthodox churches adopt a national title (e.g.
Albanian Orthodox The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania ( sq, Kisha Ortodokse Autoqefale e Shqipërisë), also known as the Orthodox Church of Albania or the Albanian Orthodox Church, is an autocephaly, autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthod ...
,
Bulgarian Orthodox The Bulgarian Orthodox Church ( bg, Българска православна църква, translit=Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva), legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria ( bg, Българска патриаршия, links=no, translit=Balgarska p ...
, Antiochian Orthodox,
Georgian Orthodox The Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალური მართლმადიდებელი ეკლესია, tr), commonly ...
,
Greek Orthodox The name Greek Orthodox Church ( Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, ''Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía'', ), or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox ...

Greek Orthodox
,
Romanian Orthodox The Romanian Orthodox Church ( ro, Biserica Ortodoxă Română), or Patriarchate of Romania, is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomination ...
,
Russian Orthodox , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, Russia , abbreviation = ROC , type ...

Russian Orthodox
,
Serbian Orthodox The Serbian Orthodox Church ( sr, Српска православна црква, СПЦ, Srpska pravoslavna crkva, SPC) is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, i ...
, Ukrainian Orthodox, etc.) and this title can identify which language is used in services, which bishops preside, and which of the typica is followed by specific congregations. In the Middle East, Orthodox Christians are usually referred to as ''Rum'' ("Roman") Orthodox, because of their historical connection with the .


Holy mysteries (sacraments)

Those things which in the West are often termed
sacraments A sacrament is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories: * rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marria ...
or
sacramentals A sacramental is a material object or action (in Latin ''sacramentalia'') ritually blessed by a priest to signal its association with the Sacrament A sacrament is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually relig ...
are known among the Eastern Orthodox as the "sacred mysteries". While the Roman Catholic Church numbers seven sacraments, and many Protestant groups list two (baptism and the Eucharist) or even none, the Eastern Orthodox do not limit the number. However, for the sake of convenience,
catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught pri ...
s will often speak of the seven great mysteries. Among these are
Holy Communion The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...

Holy Communion
(the most direct connection),
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

baptism
,
Chrismation Chrismation consists of the sacrament or mystery in the Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, ...
,
confession A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information th ...
,
unction Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, dousing, or smearing a person or object with any perfume Perfume (, ; french: parf ...
,
matrimony Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...
, and
ordination Ordination is the process by which individuals are , that is, set apart and elevated from the class to the , who are thus then (usually by the composed of other clergy) to perform various religious . The process and ceremonies of ordination va ...

ordination
. But the term also properly applies to other sacred actions such as monastic
tonsure Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of ...

tonsure
or the blessing of
holy water Holy water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and ...
, and involves fasting, almsgiving, or an act as simple as lighting a candle, burning incense, praying or asking God's blessing on food.


Baptism

Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
is the mystery which transforms the old and sinful person into a new and pure one; the old life, the sins, any mistakes made are gone and a clean slate is given. Through baptism a person is united to the
Body of Christ In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Christia ...
by becoming a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church. During the service,
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , even though it provide ...
is blessed. The catechumen is fully immersed in the water three times in the name of the Trinity. This is considered to be a death of the "old man" by participation in the crucifixion and burial of Christ, and a rebirth into new life in Christ by participation in his resurrection. Properly, the mystery of baptism is administered by bishops and priests; however, in emergencies any E. Orthodox Christian can baptise.


Chrismation

Chrismation Chrismation consists of the sacrament or mystery in the Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, ...
(sometimes called
confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and wi ...

confirmation
) is the mystery by which a baptised person is granted the gift of the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
through anointing with Holy
Chrism Chrism, also called myrrh, ''myron'', holy anointing oil, and consecrated oil, is a consecrated oil used in the Anglican Communion, Anglican, Assyrian Church of the East, Assyrian, Catholic Church, Catholic, Old Catholic Church, Old Catholic, East ...

Chrism
. It is normally given immediately after baptism as part of the same service, but is also used to receive lapsed members of the E. Orthodox Church. As baptism is a person's participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, so Chrismation is a person's participation in the coming of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
. A baptised and chrismated E. Orthodox Christian is a full member of the church and may receive the Eucharist regardless of age. The creation of Chrism may be accomplished by any bishop at any time, but usually is done only once a year, often when a synod of bishops convenes for its annual meeting. Some autocephalous churches get their chrism from others. Anointing with it substitutes for the laying-on of hands described in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, even when an instrument such as a brush is used.


Holy Communion (Eucharist)

Communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...

Communion
is given only to baptised and chrismated E. Orthodox Christians who have prepared by fasting, prayer and confession. The priest will administer the gifts with a spoon, called a "cochlear", directly into the recipient's mouth from the chalice. From baptism young infants and children are carried to the chalice to receive holy communion.


Repentance (Confession)


Marriage

From the Orthodox perspective, marriage is one of the holy mysteries or sacraments. As well as in many other Christian traditions, for example in Catholicism, it serves to unite a woman and a man in eternal union and love before God, with the purpose of following Christ and his Gospel and raising up a faithful, holy family through their holy union. The church understands marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, and certain Orthodox leaders have spoken out strongly in opposition to the civil institution of
same-sex marriage Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is the marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obli ...
. Jesus said that "when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (Mk 12:25). For the Orthodox Christian this passage should not be understood to imply that Christian marriage will not remain a reality in the Kingdom, but points to the fact that relations will not be "fleshy", but "spiritual". Love between wife and husband, as an icon of relationship between Christ and Church, is eternal. The church does recognise that there are rare occasions when it is better that couples do separate, but there is no official recognition of civil divorces. For the E. Orthodox, to say that marriage is indissoluble means that it should not be broken, the violation of such a union, perceived as holy, being an offense resulting from either adultery or the prolonged absence of one of the partners. Thus, permitting remarriage is an act of compassion of the church towards sinful man.


Holy orders

Widowed priests and
deacons A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Ca ...
may not remarry and it is common for such members of the clergy to retire to a monastery (see
clerical celibacy Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitute ...
). This is also true of widowed wives of clergy, who do not remarry and become nuns when their children are grown. Only men are allowed to receive
holy orders In certain Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church ...
, although
deaconesses The ministry of a deaconess is, in modern times, a non-ordained ministry for women in some Protestant churches to provide pastoral care, especially for other women. The term is also applied to some women deacons in the early church. The word come ...
had both liturgical and pastoral functions within the church. In 2016, the Patriarchate of Alexandria decided to reintroduce the order of deaconess. In February 2017, consecrated five women to be deacons within the
Patriarchate of Alexandria The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''A ...
.


Unction


Interfaith relations


Relations with other Christians

In 1920, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, published an encyclical "addressed 'To all the Churches of Christ, wherever they may be', urging closer co-operation among separated Christians, and suggesting a 'League of Churches', parallel to the newly founded
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
". "From the beginning of the twentieth century the Ecumenical Patriarchate has shown a special concern for Christian reconciliation. At his accession in 1902, Patriarch Joachim III sent an encyclical letter to all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, asking in particular for their opinion on relations with other Christian bodies. In January 1920 the Ecumenical Patriarchate followed this up with a bold and prophetic letter addressed 'To all the Churches of Christ, wherever they may be', urging closer co-operation among separated Christians, and suggesting a 'League of Churches', parallel to the newly founded League of Nations. Many of the ideas in this letter anticipate subsequent developments in the WCC. Constantinople, along with several of the other Orthodox Churches, was represented at the Faith and Order Conferences at Lausanne in 1927 and at Edinburgh in 1937. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also participated in the first Assembly of the WCC at Amsterdam in 1948, and has been a consistent supporter of the work of the WCC ever since." This gesture was instrumental in the foundation of the
World Council of Churches The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ...
(WCC); as such, almost all Eastern Orthodox churches are members of the WCC and "Orthodox ecclesiastics and theologians serve on its committees".
Kallistos Ware Kallistos Ware (born Timothy Richard Ware, 11 September 1934) is an English bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority ...
, a British metropolitan bishop of the Orthodox Church, has stated that
ecumenism Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle in which Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion ...
"is important for Orthodoxy: it has helped to force the various Orthodox churches out of their comparative isolation, making them meet one another and enter into a living contact with non-Orthodox Christians."
Hilarion Alfeyev Hilarion Alfeyev (born Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev,. 24 July 1966) is a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. At present he is the titular Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanen ...
, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and head of external relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, stated that Orthodox and
Evangelical Protestant Evangelicalism (), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel Gospel originally meant the Chr ...
Christians share the same positions on "such issues as
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...
, the
family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would off ...
, and
marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other in a marriage in Stockholm Marr ...
" and desire "vigorous grassroots engagement" between the two Christian communions on such issues. In that regard, the differences between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communions have not been improved in any relevant way. Dogmatic and
liturgical Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship ma ...
polarities have been significant, even and especially in recent times. A pertinent point of contention between the monarchically papal, administratively centralised Catholic Church and the decentralised confederation of Orthodox churches is the theological significance of the
Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrat ...

Virgin Mary
. During his visit to
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
in October 2016,
Pope Francis Pope Francis ( la, Franciscus; it, Francesco; es, link=, Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3&nb ...

Pope Francis
was snubbed by most Orthodox Christians as he led mass before a practically empty
Mikheil Meskhi Stadium The Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, also known as the Lokomotivi Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium A multi-purpose stadium is a type of stadium designed to be easily used by multiple types of events. While any stadium could potentially host more th ...
in
Tbilisi Tbilisi ( ; ka, თბილისი ), in some languages still known by its pre-1936 name Tiflis ( ), is the Capital city, capital and the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), largest city of Georgia (country), Georgia, lying on the ...

Tbilisi
. The Oriental Orthodox churches are not in
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...
with the Eastern Orthodox Church, despite their similar names. Slow dialogue towards restoring communion between the two churches began in the mid-20th century, and, notably, in the 19th century, when the Greek Patriarch in Egypt had to absent himself from the country for a long period of time; he left his church under the guidance of the Coptic
Pope Cyril IV of Alexandria Pope Cyril IV of Alexandria (Abba Kyrillos IV), 110th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was born David (Daoud) in 1816. Despite his relatively short papacy, he is regarded as the "Father of Reform" of the Coptic Orthodox ...

Pope Cyril IV of Alexandria
. In 2019, the Primate of the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius stated that "theoretically" the
Orthodox Church of Ukraine The Orthodox Church of Ukraine ( uk, Православна церква України, Pravoslavna tserkva Ukrainy) (OCU) is a partially recognized Autocephaly, autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. T ...

Orthodox Church of Ukraine
and the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC; ; la, Ecclesia Graeco-Catholica Ucrainae) is a in with the worldwide . It is the second-largest (') in the Catholic Church, second only to the . It is part of the es of the Catholic Church that ar ...
could in the future unite into a united church around the Kyiv throne. In 2019, the Primate of the UGCC, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia Sviatoslav, stated that every effort should be made to restore the original unity of the Kyivan Church in its Orthodox and Catholic branches, saying that the restoration of Eucharistic communion between
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...
is not a utopia. Notwithstanding certain overtures by both Catholic and Orthodox leaders, the majority of Orthodox Christians, as well as Catholics, are not in favor of communion between their churches, with only a median of 35 percent and 38 percent, respectively, claiming support.


Relations with Islam

Christians under Islamic rule were denied equality of rights and forced to pay the
Jizya Jizya or jizyah ( ar, جِزْيَة; ) is a per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and sta ...
poll tax. In 2007, Metropolitan Alfeyev expressed the possibility of peaceful coexistence between Islam and
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...

Christianity
in Russia, as the two religions have never had religious wars in Russia.


Present

The various
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
and autonomous
synods A synod () is a council of a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The t ...
of the E. Orthodox Church are distinct in terms of administration and local culture, but for the most part exist in
full communion Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct Religion, religious body within Christianity that comprises all Church (congregation), church cong ...
with one another. In addition, some schismatic churches not in any communion, with all three groups identifying as Eastern Orthodox. Another groups are referred
True OrthodoxyTrue Orthodoxy, or Genuine Orthodoxy (Greek: Ἐκκλησία Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανῶν, "Church of True Orthodox Christians"; Russian: Истинно-Православная Церковь, "True Orthodox Church"), o ...
or
Old Calendarists{{Eastern Orthodox sidebar An Old Calendarist is any Eastern Orthodox Christian who uses the Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in , was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It was designed wi ...
; they are those who, without authority from their parent churches, have continued to use the old
Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
, and split from their parent church. The
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (russian: Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей, lit=Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, translit=Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov' Zagranitsey), also called Rus ...
(ROCOR) has united in 2007 with the Moscow Patriarchate; these two churches had separated from each other in the 1920s due to the subjection of the latter to the hostile
Soviet regime The political system of the Soviet Union took place in a Federalism, federal One-party state, single-party Soviet republic (system of government), soviet socialist republic framework which was characterized by the superior role of the Communist P ...
. Another group called the
Old Believers In Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members ...
, separated in 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church rite reforms introduced by
Patriarch Nikon of Moscow Nikon ( ru , Ни́кон, Old Russian: ''Нїконъ''), born Nikita Minin (''Никита Минин''; 7 May 1605 – 17 August 1681) was the seventh Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' (russian: Патри ...
.


Main communion

The Eastern Orthodox Church is a
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...
of 14
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
—that is, administratively completely independent—regional churches, plus the
Orthodox Church in America The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian denomination, Christian church based in North America. The OCA is partly recognized as Autocephaly, autocephalous and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communitie ...
and the
Orthodox Church of Ukraine The Orthodox Church of Ukraine ( uk, Православна церква України, Pravoslavna tserkva Ukrainy) (OCU) is a partially recognized Autocephaly, autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. T ...

Orthodox Church of Ukraine
. The Orthodox Church in America is recognised as autocephalous only by the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish and Czech-Slovak churches. In December 2018, representatives of two unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches, along with two metropolitans of the recognized, but not autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, proclaimed the formation of the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On 5 January 2019, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine received its ''
tomos Tomos ( sl, link=yes, To-Tovarna, Mo-motorjev, S-Sežana, "Motorcycle Company Sežana") was a moped The term moped ( ) originally referred to a type of small motorcycle with both a motorcycle engine and bicycle pedals, generally having a les ...
'' of autocephaly (decree which defines the conditions of a church's independence) from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and thus received a place in the
diptych A diptych (; from the Greek δίπτυχον, ''di'' "two" + '' ptychē'' "fold") is any object with two flat plates which form a pair, often attached by hinge. For example, the standard notebook and school exercise book of the ancient world was ...
. Each church has defined geographical boundaries of its jurisdiction and is ruled by its council of bishops or synod presided by a senior bishop–its primate (or first hierarch). The primate may carry the honorary title of patriarch, metropolitan (in the Slavic tradition) or archbishop (in the Greek tradition). Each regional church consists of constituent eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by a bishop. Some churches have given an eparchy or group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy (self-government). Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church, usually defined in a tomos or other document of autonomy. Below is a list of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches forming the main body of Orthodox Christianity, all of which are titled equal to each other, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate is titled the ''first among equals''. Based on the definitions, the list is in the order of precedence and alphabetical order where necessary, with some of their constituent autonomous churches and exarchates listed as well. The liturgical title of the primate is in italics. *
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικὸν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constanti ...
(''Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and First Among Equals Patriarch'') **
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta, officially the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta and Exarchate of Southern Europe, is a diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Const ...
(''Orthodox Archbishop of Italy and Malta'') ** Autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland (''Archbishop of Helsinki and All Finland'', formerly ''Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland'') ** Self-governing Orthodox Church of Crete (''Archbishop of Crete'') ** Self-governing Monastic Community of
Mount Athos Mount Athos (; el, Ἄθως, ) is a mountain and peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. Th ...
** Self-governing Orthodox Church of Korea (''Metropolitan of Seoul and All Korea'') ** Eparchy of the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC; french: Église orthodoxe ukrainienne du Canada) is an Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox church in Canada, primarily consisting of Orthodox Ukrainian Canadians. Its former name (before 1990) ...
** Eparchy of the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (UOC of USA; uk, Українська православна церква у США) is a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκου ...
** Eparchy of the
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, headquartered in New York City, is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Its current primate is Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Current Archbishop On May 11, 2019, the ch ...
** Eparchy of the Exarchate of the Philippines ** Eparchy of the
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America is a diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later org ...
*
Patriarchate of Alexandria The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''A ...
(''the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
,
Pentapolis A pentapolis (from Greek ''penta-'', "five" and ''polis ''Polis'' (; grc-gre, :wikt:πόλις, πόλις ), plural ''poleis'' (, ) literally means "city" in Greek. It defined the administrative and religious city center, as distinct from ...
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, all the land of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, and all
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of i ...

Africa
'') *
Patriarchate of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...
(''Patriarch of Antioch and all the East'') ** Self-governing
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, often referred to in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be describ ...
(''Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America'') ** Self-governing Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania (''Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines'') *
Patriarchate of JerusalemPatriarchate of Jerusalem or Diocese of Jerusalem may refer to: * Early bishops of Jerusalem * Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem * Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Melkite ...
(''Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, Syria, Arabia, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Sacred Zion'') ** Autonomous Church of Mount Sinai (''Archbishop of Choreb, Sinai, and Raitha'') *
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хри ...

Russian Orthodox Church
(''Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia'') ** Autonomous
Orthodox Church in Japan The is an Autocephaly#Autonomy, autonomous Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church within the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. History The first purpose-built Orthodox Christian church to open in Japan was the wooden Russian Empire, Russ ...
(''Archbishop of Tokyo and Metropolitan of All Japan'') ** Exarchate of
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...
(''Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus'') ** Self-governing
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (russian: Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей, lit=Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, translit=Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov' Zagranitsey), also called Rus ...
(''Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian church abroad'') ** Self-governing Orthodox Church of Latvia (''Metropolitan of Riga and all Latvia'') *
Serbian Orthodox Church The Serbian Orthodox Church ( sr-cyr, Српска православна црква, Srpska pravoslavna crkva) is one of the autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the st ...
(''Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch'') ** Autonomous
Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric (OOA; Serbian and mk, Православна охридска архиепископија (ПОА), ''Pravoslavna ohridska arhiepiskopija (POA)'') is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox ...
(''Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje'') *
Bulgarian Orthodox Church The Bulgarian Orthodox Church ( bg, Българска православна църква, translit=Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva), legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria ( bg, Българска патриаршия, links=no, translit=Balgarska p ...
(''Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of All Bulgaria'') *
Romanian Orthodox Church The Romanian Orthodox Church ( ro, Biserica Ortodoxă Română), or Patriarchate of Romania, is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomination ...
(''Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Muntenia and Dobrudja, Locum Tenens of the Throne of Caesarea of Cappadocia, and Patriarch of Romania'') ** Autonomous
Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Americas The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas ( ro, Mitropolia Ortodoxă Română a celor două Americi) is an Autocephaly#Autonomy, autonomous Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Metropolis (religious jurisdiction), metropolis of the Roma ...
(''Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of the United States of America and Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of the Americas'') *
Georgian Orthodox Church The Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალური მართლმადიდებელი ეკლესია, tr), commonly ...
(''Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan bishop of Abkhazia and Pitsunda'') *
Church of Cyprus The Church of Cyprus ( el, Ἐκκλησία τῆς Κύπρου, ''Ekklisia tis Kyprou'', tr, Kıbrıs Kilisesi) is one of the autocephalous Greek Orthodox church The name Greek Orthodox Church (Greek language, Greek: Ἑλληνορθό ...

Church of Cyprus
(''Archbishop of New Justiniana and all Cyprus'') *
Church of Greece The Church of Greece ( el, Ἐκκλησία τῆς Ἑλλάδος, Ekklisía tis Elládos, ), part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephaly, autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Eastern Orthodox Church, Ea ...
(''Archbishop of Athens and all Greece'') * Orthodox Church of Albania (''Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania'') *
Polish Orthodox Church The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church ( pl, Polski Autokefaliczny Kościół Prawosławny; russian: Польская православная церковь ), commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or (Orthodox) Church of Poland is one ...
(''Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland'' or ''Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland)'' * Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (''Archbishop of Prague, the Metropolitan of Czech lands and Slovakia or the Archbishop of Presov, the Metropolitan of Czech lands and Slovakia'') Within the main body of Eastern Orthodoxy there are unresolved internal issues as to the autonomous or autocephalous status or legitimacy of the following Orthodox churches, particularly between those stemming from the Russian Orthodox or Constantinopolitan churches: *
Orthodox Church in America The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian denomination, Christian church based in North America. The OCA is partly recognized as Autocephaly, autocephalous and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communitie ...
(''Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada'') – Not recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. * Self-governing
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church ( et, Eesti Apostlik-Õigeusu Kirik; EOC) is an Orthodox church in Estonia under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Under Estonian law it is the legal successor to the pr ...
(''Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia'') – Recognised only by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, opposed only by the Russian Orthodox Church. * Self-governing Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (''Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia'') – Not recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. * Autonomous Bessarabian Orthodox Church in Moldova (''Archbishop of Chișinău, Metropolitan of Bessarabia and Exarch of the Territories'') of the Romanian Orthodox Church – Territory claimed by the Russian Orthodox Church. * Autonomous
Moldovan Orthodox Church Moldovan and Moldavian refer to something of, from, or related to Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connecte ...
(''Metropolitan of Chișinău and all Moldova'') of the Russian Orthodox Church – Jurisdiction disputed by the Romanian Orthodox Church. * Self-governing
Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC; uk, Українська Православна Церква, Ukrayinska Pravoslavna Tserkva; russian: Украинская Православная Церковь, Ukrainskaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov'), commonl ...
(''Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine'') – Not recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Church of Greece, Church of Cyprus, and Patriarchate of Alexandria, as of October 2020. *
Orthodox Church of Ukraine The Orthodox Church of Ukraine ( uk, Православна церква України, Pravoslavna tserkva Ukrainy) (OCU) is a partially recognized Autocephaly, autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. T ...

Orthodox Church of Ukraine
(''Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine'') – Recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Church of Greece, Church of Cyprus, and Patriarchate of Alexandria as of October 2020, opposed by the Russian, Antiochian, Czech and Slovak, Serbian and Polish Orthodox Churches, and the Orthodox Church in America.


Traditionalist groups


True Orthodox

True OrthodoxyTrue Orthodoxy, or Genuine Orthodoxy (Greek: Ἐκκλησία Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανῶν, "Church of True Orthodox Christians"; Russian: Истинно-Православная Церковь, "True Orthodox Church"), o ...
has been separated from the mainstream communion over issues of ecumenism and calendar reform since the 1920s. The movement rejects the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Moscow Patriarchate, and all churches which are in communion with them, accusing them of heresy and placing themselves under bishops who do the same thing. They adhere to the use of the
Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
, claiming that the calendar reform in the 1920s is in contradiction with the ecumenical councils. There is no official communion of True Orthodox. They often are local groups and are limited to a specific bishop or locality.


Old calendarists


Old Believers

Old Believers In Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members ...
are groups which do not accept the liturgical reforms which were carried out within the Russian Orthodox Church by
Patriarch Nikon of Moscow Nikon ( ru , Ни́кон, Old Russian: ''Нїконъ''), born Nikita Minin (''Никита Минин''; 7 May 1605 – 17 August 1681) was the seventh Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' (russian: Патри ...
in the 17th century. Although all of the groups of Old Believers emerged as a result of opposition to the Nikonian reforms, they do not constitute a single monolithic body. Despite their emphasis on invariable adherence to the pre-Nikonian traditions, the Old Believers feature a great diversity of groups which profess different interpretations of church tradition and they are often not in communion with each other (some groups even practise re-baptism before admitting a member of another group into their midst).


Churches not in communion with other churches

Churches with irregular or unresolved canonical status are entities that have carried out episcopal consecrations outside of the norms of canon law or whose bishops have been excommunicated by one of the 14 autocephalous churches. These include nationalist and other schismatic bodies such as the
Abkhazian Orthodox Church The Abkhazian Orthodox Church (russian: Абхазская Православная церковь) is an Eastern Orthodox church outside the Eastern Orthodox Church organization, official Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy. It came into exi ...
.


See also

* Byzantine art *
Byzantine literature ; its ornate presentation illustrates the decorative style employed by scholars of that age. Byzantine literature is the Greek literature of the Middle Ages, whether written in the territory of the Byzantine Empire or outside its borders.Encyclop ...
*
Byzantine dress Byzantine emperors dress changed considerably over the thousand years of Byzantine Empire, the Empire, but was essentially conservative. The Byzantines liked colour and pattern, and made and exported very richly patterned cloth, especially Byzanti ...
*
Byzantine music Byzantine music is the music of the Byzantine Empire. Originally it consisted of songs and hymns composed to Greek texts used for courtly ceremonials, during festivals, or as paraliturgical and liturgical music. The ecclesiastical forms of Byzanti ...
*
Chalcedonian Christianity Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus ...
*
Christianization of Bulgaria The Christianization of Bulgaria was the process by which 9th-century medieval Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlg ...
*
Ecclesiastical differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church Catholic–Orthodox ecclesiastical differences are differences between the organizational structure and governance of the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian ...
*
Theological differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church The Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Catholics . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a promin ...
* Emanation (Eastern Orthodoxy) *
Greek Orthodox Christianity in Lebanon Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christians (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoff ...
*
History of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religio ...
*
History of Christian theology The doctrine of the Trinity, considered the core of Christian theology by ''Trinitarians'', is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the Trinity#Biblical background, biblical data, thrashed out in debate and treatises, eventually fo ...
* History of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology *
Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy ( el, Διακοινοβουλευτική Συνέλευση Ορθοδοξίας, russian: Межпарламентская Ассамблея Православия), or I.A.O., is a transnational, i ...
* Moscow–Constantinople schism (2018) * Timeline of Orthodoxy in Greece (33–717)


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* (Introduction by C. S. Lewis) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Tertiary reference works

* * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * Krindatch, Alexei D. ed., ''Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches'' (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011
online
* * * * * * * * * * Scouteris, Constantine,
A Brief Outline of the Orthodox Church, Ἐκκλησιαστικός Φάρος, 65 (2004), pp. 60–75.
'


External links


An Online Orthodox Catechism
published by the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хри ...

Russian Orthodox Church
* OrthodoxWiki
Orthodox Dictionary
at Kursk Root Hermitage of the Birth of the Most Holy Theotokos
Orthodox books
– Lives of Holy People at skete.com
An Orthodox View of Salvation

IV Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference

Orthodox Icons and Paintings


* ttps://web.archive.org/web/20100823224531/http://www.oeaw.ac.at/byzanz/repos.htm A repository with scientific papers on various aspects of the Byzantine Orthodox Church in English and in German
IOCC: Gaza’s Orthodox Community Struggles to Endure
* ;Relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church
Pope Benedict XIV, ''Allatae Sunt'' (''On the observance of Oriental Rites''), Encyclical, 1755


– Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Eastern Churches, 1995

{{Authority control Christian organizations established in the 1st century