|Communion of Western Orthodox Churches|
|Communion des Églises Orthodoxes Occidentales|
|Type||Western Orthodox Communion|
|Region||Mainly: 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
|Origin||December 25, 2007|
|Members||Lower than 10,000|
|Other name(s)||Western Orthodox Church|
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.
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.
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.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, or simply the Eastern Churches and in some historical cases referred to pejoratively as Uniates, are twenty-three Eastern Christian sui iuris (autonomous) particular churches of the Catholic Church, in full communion with the pope in Rome. They are united with one another and with the Latin or Roman Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra. The majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches are groups from the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the historic Church of the East that have returned to communion with the Bishop of Rome, either due to theological concerns or due to understanding the role of the Bishop of Rome as head of church, and sometimes also in part due to extenuating political and cultural circumstances influencing the churches' relations. As such the five liturgical traditions of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Alexandrian Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite, and the West Syriac Rite, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches. Consequently, the Catholic Church consists of six liturgical rites; including the aforementioned five liturgical traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church.
The British Orthodox Church, formerly known as the Orthodox Church of the British Isles, is a small independent Oriental Orthodox church defining its mission to the people of the British Isles. It has not been in communion with any of the Oriental Orthodox churches since a 2015 decision to return to an independent status.
John Meyendorff was a leading theologian of the Orthodox Church of America as well as a writer and teacher. He served as the dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States until June 30, 1992.
The Celtic Orthodox Church (COC) is a small autocephalous church which derives from the church formerly known as the Catholic Apostolic Church and, before that, as the Ancient British Church and the Orthodox Church of the British Isles (OCBI), which was constituted by the Syriac Orthodox Church to develop an Orthodox church in the Western (Celtic) tradition without recourse to its Oriental roots.
The Christian Church – Synod of Saint Timothy is a synod or communion of local Christian churches that was established as an autocephalous body in 2004. The Synod, though linked through apostolic succession to the Latin, Greek, and Oriental Christian Churches, has no canonical or administrative ties to the mainstream Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox churches. The Synod is linked, to a limited extent, with the Independent Catholic and Old Catholic movements, though it has eschewed many of the more modern tendencies of these movements.
The French Orthodox Church is a self-governing Western Orthodox church formed in 1975. The church's current first hierarch is Bishop Martin (Laplaud), the abbot of the Orthodox Monastery of St Michel du Var. The EOF has communities in France, Brazil, and the French-speaking Caribbean.
Western Rite Orthodoxy, Western Orthodoxy, or Orthodox Western Rite are terms used to describe congregations that are within Churches of Orthodox tradition but which use liturgies of Western or Latin origin rather than adopting Eastern liturgies such as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. While there are some ancient examples of Western Rite communities in areas predominantly using the Byzantine Rite before the Great Schism was fully consolidated, the history of the movement is often considered to begin in the nineteenth century with the life and work of Julian Joseph Overbeck.
The Orthodox Church of France, formerly the Orthodox Catholic Church of France, is an Orthodox church in France comprising three dioceses and using the Western Rite. Though the OCF has been in communion with various canonical Orthodox churches during its history, at present it is not.
Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. They reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to miaphysite Christology and theology, and together have 60 to 70 million members worldwide.
The Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Europe is a Serbian Orthodox Church diocese in Western Europe. It has its headquarters in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. The church has parishes in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. It also has a missionary parish in Portugal. Since 1997, diocesan bishop is Luka Kovačević.
The Orthodox Church of the Gauls is a self-governing Orthodox church comprising two dioceses. It was formed in 2006 with a mission to return the Orthodox Christian faith to people of western lands, particularly through the use of restored forms of ancient Gallican worship. The OCG is part of the Communion of Western Orthodox Churches, and its primate is Bishop Gregory (Mendez), the Bishop of Arles and the abbot of the Monastery of St Michael and St Martin near Luzé in the Touraine region of France.
The Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe is an exarchate created by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) on 28 December 2018.
The Spanish-Portuguese diocese (SPD) or Diocese of Madrid and Lisbon is a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) created on 28 December 2018. The diocese is part of the Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe.
The Diocese of Chersonesus is a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church which covers the territory of France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Monaco. This diocese is part of the Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe since 28 December 2018.