Eastern Orthodox Church organization

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The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members.It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. 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 and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Four Marks of the Church four adjectives—“one, holy, catholic and apostolic”—attributed to the Church according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy, catholic and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed Churches.

The term Western Orthodoxy is sometimes used to denominate what is technically a vicariate within the Antiochian Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox Churches and thus a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church as that term is defined here. The term "Western Orthodox Church" is disfavored by members of that vicariate.

Russian Orthodox Church autocephalous Orthodox Christian church, headquartered in Moscow, Russia

The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as the primate thereof, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019.

In the 5th century, Oriental Orthodoxy separated from Chalcedonian Christianity (and is therefore separate from both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church), well before the 11th century Great Schism. It should not be confused with Eastern Orthodoxy.

Oriental Orthodoxy Branch of Eastern Christianity

Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Christian churches that adheres to Miaphysite Christology and theology, with 60 to 70 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarized in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.

Council of Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451; not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy

The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon, a town of Bithynia in Asia Minor. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

Church governance

The Orthodox Church is a communion comprising the fourteen or sixteen separate autocephalous hierarchical churches that recognize each other as "canonical" Orthodox Christian churches. Each constituent church is self-governing; its highest-ranking bishop (a patriarch, a metropolitan or an archbishop) reports to no higher earthly authority. Each regional church is composed of constituent eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by bishops. Some autocephalous 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. In many cases, autonomous churches are almost completely self-governing, with the mother church retaining only the right to appoint the highest-ranking bishop (an archbishop or metropolitan) of the autonomous 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.

Autocephaly Christian hierarchical practice

Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The status has been compared with that of the churches (provinces) within the Anglican Communion.

Normal governance is enacted through a synod of bishops within each church. In case of issues that go beyond the scope of a single church, multiple self-governing churches send representatives to a wider synod, sometimes wide enough to be called an Orthodox "ecumenical council". Such councils are deemed to have authority superior to that of any autocephalous church or its ranking bishop.

Synod council of a church

A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.

Ecumenical council conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice

An ecumenical 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 are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.

The Orthodox Church is decentralised, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role. Thus, the Orthodox Church uses a synodical system canonically, which is significantly different from the hierarchically organised Catholic Church that follows the doctrine of papal supremacy. References to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as a leader are an erroneous interpretation of his title ("first among equals"). [1] [2] His title is of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan. [3] His unique role often sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the "spiritual leader" of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it usually used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Canon law is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as the visible foundation and source of unity, and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."

The autocephalous churches are in full communion with each other, so any priest of any of those churches may lawfully minister to any member of any of them, and no member of any is excluded from any form of worship in any of the others, including reception of the Eucharist.

In the early Middle Ages, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was ruled by five patriarchs: the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; these were collectively referred to as the Pentarchy. Each patriarch had jurisdiction over bishops in a specified geographic region. This continued until 927, when the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric became the first newly promoted patriarchate to join the original five.

The patriarch of Rome was "first in place of honor" among the five patriarchs. Disagreement about the limits of his authority was one of the causes of the Great Schism, conventionally dated to the year 1054, which split the church into the Catholic Church in the West, headed by the Bishop of Rome, and the Orthodox Church, led by the four eastern patriarchs (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria). After the schism this honorary primacy shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had previously been accorded the second-place rank at the First Council of Constantinople.

Jurisdictions

Canonical territories of autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox jurisdictions before the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Canonical territories of autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox jurisdictions.png
Canonical territories of autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox jurisdictions before the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Autocephalous Orthodox churches

Ranked in order of seniority, with the year of independence (autocephaly) given in parentheses, where applicable. [4] [5]

Four Ancient Patriarchates

  1. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (independence in 330 AD, elevated to the rank of autocephalous Patriarchate in 381)
  2. Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
  3. Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
  4. Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (independence in 451 AD, elevated to the rank of autocephalous Patriarchate in 451)

Those four ancient Orthodox Patriarchates are of the five episcopal sees forming the historical Pentarchy, the fifth one being the See of Rome. They all adopted the Chalcedonian Definition and remained in communion after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, and also the Catholic, and most Protestant churches. It was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox churches (classified as non-Chalcedonian).

Nowadays, the importance of all four Ancient Patriarchates is diminished because their sees are all located in modern countries and cities where Christians are in the minority.[ citation needed ]

The title of Patriarch was created in 531 by Justinian. [6]

Junior Patriarchates

  1. Bulgarian Orthodox Church (870, Patriarchate from 918/919, recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 927 [7] )
  2. Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church (486, Patriarchate from 1010)
  3. Serbian Orthodox Church (1219, Patriarchate from 1346)
  4. Russian Orthodox Church (1448, recognized in 1589 [8] ) [lower-alpha 1]
  5. Romanian Orthodox Church (1872, recognized in 1885, Patriarchate from 1925)

Autocephalous Archbishoprics

  1. Church of Cyprus (431, recognized in 478)
  2. Church of Greece (1833, recognized in 1850)
  3. Albanian Orthodox Church (1922, recognized in 1937)

Autocephalous Metropolis

  1. Polish Orthodox Church (1924) [lower-alpha 2]
  2. Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church (1951, recognized in 1998) [lower-alpha 3]
  3. Orthodox Church in America (1970, not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church and 5 other churches) [10]
  4. Orthodox Church of Ukraine (15 December 2018, recognized only by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019, but not by any other Orthodox church)

The four ancient patriarchates are the most senior, followed by the five junior patriarchates. Autocephalous archbishoprics follow the patriarchates in seniority, with the Church of Cyprus being the only ancient one (AD 431). In the diptychs of the Russian Orthodox Church and some of its daughter churches (e.g., the Orthodox Church in America), the ranking of the five junior patriarchal churches is different. Following the Russian Church in rank is Georgian, followed by Serbian, Romanian, and then Bulgarian Church. The ranking of the archbishoprics is the same.

Autonomous Orthodox churches

POC: Pan-Orthodox Council Organization of Autocephalus Eastern Orthodox Churches.svg
POC: Pan-Orthodox Council
under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
under the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
under the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
under the Russian Orthodox Church
under the Serbian Orthodox Church
under the Romanian Orthodox Church

*Autonomy not universally recognised.

Semi-Autonomous churches

under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
under the Russian Orthodox Church

*Autonomy not universally recognised.

Orthodox churches with limited self-government but without autonomy

under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Churches in resistance

These are churches that have separated from the mainstream communion over issues of Ecumenism and Calendar reform since the 1920s. [11] Due to what these churches perceive as being errors of modernism and ecumenism in mainstream Orthodoxy, they refrain from concelebration of the Divine Liturgy with the mainstream Orthodox, while maintaining that they remain fully within the canonical boundaries of the Church: i.e., professing Orthodox belief, retaining legitimate apostolic succession, and existing in communities with historical continuity. With the exception of the Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance), they will commune the faithful from all the canonical jurisdictions and are recognized by and in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

Due in part to the re-establishment of official ties between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance) has broken ecclesial communion with ROCOR, but the converse has not happened. Where the Old Calendar Romanian and Bulgarian churches stand on the matter is as yet unclear.

The Churches in resistance are:

Churches that voluntarily stay outside any communion

These Churches do not practice Communion with any other Orthodox jurisdictions nor do they tend to recognize each other. Yet, like the Churches in resistance above, they consider themselves to be within the canonical boundaries of the Church: i.e., professing Orthodox belief, retaining what they believe to be legitimate apostolic succession, and existing in communities with historical continuity. Nevertheless, their relationship with all other Orthodox Churches remains unclear, as Orthodox Churches normally recognize and are recognized by others.

Churches that are unrecognized

The following Churches recognize all other mainstream Orthodox Churches, but are not recognized by any of them due to various disputes:

Churches that are both unrecognized and not fully Orthodox

The following Churches use the term "Orthodox" in their name and carries belief or the traditions of Eastern Orthodox church, but blend beliefs and traditions from other denominations outside of Eastern Orthodoxy:

See also

Notes

  1. Due to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) severed cutting ties with the Eastern Orthodox Church's Main Church (2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism), the nature of the relationship between the two is uncertain.
  2. The primate of the Polish Orthodox Church is referred to as Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland , but the Polish Orthodox Church is officially a Metropolis [9]
  3. The primate of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church is referred to as Archbishop of Prešov and Slovakia, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, but the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church is officially a Metropolis

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Orthodox Church in America Eastern Orthodox church in North America

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Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople autocephalous church of Eastern Orthodox Christianity

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Greek Orthodox Church Orthodox Christian denominations descended from a Greek cultural tradition, Wikimedia disambiguation page

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2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism ongoing split between the Orthodox patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople

The Moscow–Constantinople schism, also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018, is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, of whom the Russian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous member, on 11 October 2018. The synod confirmed its intentions to grant autocephaly (independence) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine; to reestablish a stauropegion in Kiev, Urkraine, i.e. a church body that belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, rather than going through the Russian Orthodox Church; to revoke "Letter of issue" (permission) of 1686 that had given permission to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev,{Efn|The letter can be found here: "Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia", THE ECUMENICAL THRONE AND THE CHURCH OF UKRAINE –The Documents Speak, pp. 35–39 .|name=letter of 1686|group=}} which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church; and to lift the excommunications which affected the clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. Those two churches, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) and were considered "schismatics" by the Patriarchate of Moscow, as well as by the other Orthodox churches.

1996 Moscow–Constantinople schism

The Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 was a schism which began on 23 February 1996, when the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ended on 16 May 1996 when the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate reached an agreement. This excommunication by the Russian Orthodox Church was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reestablish an Orthodox church in Estonia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's canonical jurisdiction as an autonomous church on 20 February 1996. This schism has similarities with the Moscow–Constantinople schism of October 2018.

Reactions of the Eastern Orthodox churches to the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism

On 15 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church broke the communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate because of a dispute concerning the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine. This led to the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism. Numerous Orthodox churches took position concerning the dispute over the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine, whether before or after this schism.

References

  1. Clark, Katherine (2009). Orthodox Church - Simple Guides (v3.1 ed.). London: Bravo Ltd. ISBN   978-1-85733-640-5 . Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  2. "Autocephaly ( 6 of 20)" . Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. "Eastern Orthodoxy". www.britannica.com. Britannica. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. Serbian Orthodox Church official site: Помесне Православне Цркве (Autocephalous Orthodox churches)
  5. Orthodox Church in America official site: World Churches
  6. "L'idea di pentarchia nella cristianità". homolaicus.com.
  7. Kiminas 2009, p. 15.
  8. Kiminas 2009, p. 19.
  9. "ORTHODOX | METROPOLIA". www.orthodox.pl. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  10. See Orthodox Church in America.
  11. Beoković, Jelena (1 May 2010). "Ko su ziloti, pravoslavni fundamentalisti" [Who are Zealots, Orthodox Fundamentalists]. Politika . Retrieved 5 August 2014.