Communion of Western Orthodox Churches

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Communion of Western Orthodox Churches
Communion des Églises Orthodoxes Occidentales
Type Western Orthodox Communion
ClassificationWestern Orthodox
Polity Episcopal
RegionMainly: France
Minority: Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Cameroon, Australia, United States, Brazil, and Martinique [ citation needed ]
Language French and English
Liturgy Gallican Rite, Latin Rite,
(rarely) Byzantine Rite/West Syriac Rite
OriginDecember 25, 2007
MembersLower than 10,000
Other name(s)Western Orthodox Church
Official website

The Communion of Western Orthodox Churches (CWOC; French : Communion des Églises orthodoxes occidentales, CEOO), also known as the Western Orthodox Church, is a communion of Christian churches of Orthodox tradition, standing alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox communions. The Western Orthodox communion is distinguished by its adherence to the liturgical and spiritual customs of western Christianity.



The communion currently comprises three member churches:

The CWOC was established on 25 December 2007 with the signing of its charter and the concelebration of the Mass for the Nativity of the Lord by Bishop Maël de Brescia and Bishop Mark of the Celtic Orthodox Church, Bishop Vigile and Bishop Martin Laplaud of the French Orthodox Church, and Bishop Gregory Mendez of the Orthodox Church of the Gauls. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Parishes, monasteries, and missions of the CWOC are currently located in France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Cameroon, Australia, the United States of America, Brazil, and Martinique.


The Communion of Western Orthodox Churches maintains traditional Orthodox beliefs and practice, accepting and affirming the first three Ecumenical Councils. While also affirming all of the theological and doctrinal statements of the latter four great councils, the CWOC rejects the application to the Oriental Orthodox Churches of those councils' condemnations of monophysitism. Therefore, the communion recognises both the Oriental Orthodox churches and Eastern Orthodox churches as sister churches.

Relations with other churches

Written into the directives of the CWOC are provisions for accepting other Orthodox churches which also subscribe to its charter and principles.

The acceptance of other Christian churches which adhere to the principles set forth in the Charter and to the uses, advice and directives of the Communion is subject to the unanimous agreement of the signatory churches. This agreement will be informed by comprehensive information about the history, life, spirit and authenticity of the candidate church. Consultations between our churches will be necessary to discern the merits of this candidature.

The recognition by the Western Orthodox Church of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox communions as sister churches is not currently reciprocated.

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  1. Thöle, Reinhard (2014). "Orthodox churches in Germany: from migrant groups to permanent homeland". In Hämmerli, Maria (ed.). Orthodox identities in western Europe: migration, settlement, and innovation. Farnham [u.a.]: Ashgate. p. 94. ISBN   978-1-4724-3930-7.
  2. "Relations inter-juridictionnelles" [Inter-jurisdictional relations]. (in French). Luzé, FR: Église orthodoxe des Gaules. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  3. "Communion des Églises Orthodoxes Occidentales" [Communion of the Western Orthodox Churches]. (in French). Saint-Dolay, FR: Église Orthodoxe Celtique. Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  4. "Nos églises soeurs" [Our sister churches]. (in French). Église Orthodoxe Française. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-04-25.