Eastern Protestant Christianity

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The term Eastern Protestant Christianity (or Eastern Reformed Christianity as well as Oriental Protestant Christianity) encompasses a range of heterogeneous Protestant Christian denominations that developed outside of the Occident, from the latter half of the nineteenth century, and yet keep elements of Eastern Christianity, to varying degrees. Some of these denominations came into being, when existing Protestant churches adopted reformational variants of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox liturgy and worship. Some others are the result of reformations of Orthodox beliefs and practices, inspired by the teachings of Western Protestant missionaries. [1] [2] [3] [4] Some Eastern Protestant Churches are in communion with similar Western Protestant Churches. [1] [5] However, Eastern Protestant Christianity does not constitute a single communion. This is due to the diverse polities, practices, liturgies and orientations of the denominations which fall under this category.


Major branches


Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Bishop of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in liturgical vestments Mar Thoma Bishop.jpg
Bishop of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in liturgical vestments

The Mar Thoma church has its origins in a reformation movement in the Malankara Church, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. India was part of the British Empire at the time and the Malankara Church with its Oriental Orthodox traditions, in communion with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. Concurrently, Anglican missionaries from England arrived in South India, on a help mission for the Malankara Church. They became teachers at the Church's seminary and made the Bible available in Malayalam. Inspired by the teachings of the missionaries and imbibing the ideas of the Protestant Reformation from them, a few priests under the leadership of Abraham Malpan initiated a reformation based on the Bible. Abraham Malpan also managed to get his nephew Deacon Mathew, ordained as bishop Mathews Mar Athanasius, by the Patriarch of Antioch. But many opposed the reforms. The groups for and against reforms engaged in court litigations for the Church and its properties. These ended in 1889, through a verdict favoring the Patriarchal faction. Subsequently, the reformed faction became an independent church. To date, there are 11 bishops, 1149 priests and over a million laity. [6] [7] While retaining many of the Syriac high church practices, the Mar Thoma Church is Reformed in its theology and doctrines. [8] It employs a reformed variant of the Liturgy of Saint James, with many parts in the local vernacular. The Mar Thoma church is in full communion with the Anglican Communion and maintains friendly relations with many other churches. [9] [10] [11]

Society for Eastern Rite Anglicanism

The Society for Eastern Rite Anglicanism (SERA) is an organization working to promote and sustain a movement towards an established Eastern Rite in the Anglican Communion. Established in 2013, it formulated an Anglo-Orthodox Divine Liturgy. It is based on the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and is used by the society. [12] [13]


The Church of the Cross of the Lord is located in Kremenets and is part of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, which uses the Byzantine Rite Ukrlckremenec.jpg
The Church of the Cross of the Lord is located in Kremenets and is part of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, which uses the Byzantine Rite

Eastern Lutheranism refers to Lutheran churches, such as those of Ukraine and Slovenia, that use a form of the Byzantine Rite as their liturgy. [14] It is unique in that it is based on the Eastern Christian rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, while incorporating theology from the Divine Service contained in the Formula Missae , the base texts for Lutheran liturgies in the West. [15]


In the far north of the Scandinavian peninsula are the Sámi people, some of which practice a form of Lutheranism called Apostolic Lutheranism, or Laestadianism due to the efforts of Lars Levi Laestadius. However, others are Orthodox in religion. Some Apostolic Lutherans consider their movement as part of an unbroken line down from the Apostles. In Russia, Laestadians of Lutheran background cooperate with the Ingrian church, but since Laestadianism is an interdenominational movement, some are Eastern Orthodox. Eastern Orthodox Laestadians are known as Ushkovayzet (article is in Russian). [16]

Ukrainian Lutheran Church

The Ukrainian Lutheran Church, formerly called the Ukrainian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, is a Byzantine Rite Lutheran Church based in Ukraine. [14] [15] [17] The Eastern Christian denomination consists of 25 congregations within Ukraine, serving over 2,500 members and runs Saint Sophia Ukrainian Lutheran Theological Seminary in Ternopil in Western Ukraine. The ULC is a member of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC), a worldwide organization of confessional Lutheran church bodies of the same beliefs. [18]


Assyrian Evangelical Church

The Assyrian Evangelical Church is a Middle Eastern Church which attained ecclesiastical independence from the Presbyterian mission in Iran, in 1870. [19] Its membership comprise mostly of Eastern Aramaic speaking ethnic Assyrians who were originally part of the Assyrian Church of the East and its offshoots or the Syriac Orthodox Church. They, like other Assyrian Christians are sometimes targets of persecution by hostile governments and neighbors. [20] [21]

Armenian Evangelical Church

The Armenian Evangelical Church is the product of a reform campaign from within the Armenian Apostolic Church. [22] [23] [24] The reformers were influenced by the missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, who arrived in Turkey in the early nineteenth century, and published translated bibles for the Turkish-speaking Armenians. [25] [26]

The reformers were led by Krikor Peshdimaljian, one of the leading intellectuals of the time. [25] [26] Peshdimaljian was the head of a training school for the Armenian Apostolic clergy. [25] The school was under the auspices of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. [25] Out of this school, emerged a society called the Pietisical Union, whose members focused more directly on the Bible and organized Bible study meetings. [25] [26] They began to raise questions about the conflicts between biblical truths and the traditional practices of the Armenian Apostolic Church. [25] The Union also advocated Pietism, which they believed their church was devoid of. [26] [27]

The leadership of the Armenian Apostolic Church under Patriarch Matteos Chouhajian was against any reform, and excommunicated the reformists from the church. [25] [26] [27] This separation led to the formation of the Armenian Evangelical Church, on July 1, 1846, at Constantinople. [22] [28] By 1850, the new church received the official recognition of the Ottoman government. [27] [28] Later, however, Armenians were forced out of Ottoman Turkey, due to the Armenian genocide. [23] [25] [28] The Armenian Evangelical congregations in the Middle East are currently organized as the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East. [23] [25] [26]


St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India

The St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India (STECI) is an Evangelical, Episcopal denomination based in Kerala, India. It derives from a schism in the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1961. STECI holds that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. Adherents believe that all that is necessary for salvation and living in righteousness is given in the Bible. The church is engaged in active evangelism. The headquarters of this church is at Tiruvalla, a town in the state of Kerala. [29]

Assyrian Pentecostal Church

The Assyrian Pentecostal Church is a pentecostal Christian denomination which originated in the 1940s among the Assyrian people of Iran and spread among ethnic Assyrians in Iraq, Turkey and Syria. [30] [31] They are native speakers of the Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language and use it as their liturgical language too. [32] They also use the Syriac Aramaic Bible. [33] Most of its members were originally part of the Assyrian Church of the East and its offshoots or the Syriac Orthodox Church. [34] This denomination is affiliated to the Assemblies of God Church. [35] There has been reported instances of persecution against them as well. [36]

Believers Eastern Church

Believers Eastern Church (formerly Believers Church) is a Christian denomination with roots in Pentecostalism, based in Kerala, India. It exists as a part of the Gospel for Asia. [37] [38] In 2003, this church acquired episcopacy, by getting Indian Anglican bishops ordain its founder K. P. Yohannan, as a bishop. Henceforth this denomination adopted several elements of Eastern Christian worship and practices like usage of anointed holy oils, yet keeping the principle of sola scriptura . [39] Its name was officially changed to Believers Eastern Church in 2017, so as to "better express its roots in the ancient and orthodox faith". [40]

Evangelical Church of Romania

The Evangelical Church of Romania (Romanian: Biserica Evanghelică Română) is one of Romania's eighteen officially recognised religious denominations. [41] [42] The church originated between 1920 and 1924, through work of the young Romanian Orthodox theologians Dumitru Cornilescu and Tudor Popescu. [43]

Deacon Cornilescu was motivated to translate the Bible into modern Romanian, by Princess Calimachi of Moldavia. While translating the Epistle to the Romans, Cornilescu became interested in the concept of personal salvation. By the time he completed the translation, he had become staunchly evangelical. [43] Afterwards, Cornilescu served as a deacon under Fr. Tudor Popescu, at the Cuibul cu barză Church in Bucharest. After some time, Popescu converted to evangelicalism, due to Cornilescu's influence. Both of them began to preach salvation by personal faith in Christ. Gradually, they gained a significant following, including priests from the Romanian Orthodox Church. Soon other evangelical traits, such as singing and congregational participation, began to manifest in this group. [43] They called into question many Orthodox practices, which they perceived to be unbiblical. Tudor Popescu has been called the Romanian Martin Luther, for his attempts to reform the Romanian Orthodox Church. [44] [45]

Due to deviations from Eastern Orthodox doctrines, the Romanian Orthodox Church defrocked Fr. Tudor Popescu. Dumitru Cornilescu was forced to leave the country. But Popescu and his followers (originally called Tudorists), established their own Church; the Evangelical Church of Romania. [46]

Evangelical Orthodox Church

The Evangelical Orthodox Church is a Christian denomination which blends Evangelical Protestantism with features of Eastern Orthodoxy. It started off in 1973 as a network of house churches established by Campus Crusade for Christ missionaries in the United States. The founders Peter E. Gillquist, Jack Sparks, Jon Braun, and J.R. Ballew wanted to restore Christianity to its primitive form based on the writings of the early Church Fathers. So they stood in a circle and self-ordained each other, creating an entity called the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO). Their own interpretations of Church history led to the adoption of a somewhat liturgical form of worship and induced a need for apostolic succession. In 1977 the first contact with the Eastern Orthodox Church was initiated through Orthodox seminarian Fr. John Bartke. In 1979 the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) was organized. The EOC pursued various avenues to obtain episcopacy, including a visit to the Patriarch of Constantinople, but to no avail. At last they met Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch, during his historic visit to Los Angeles, which proved successful. This meeting was arranged by Fr. John Bartke, who later served as the primary intermediary between the EOC and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, and also hosted the initial set of chrismations and ordinations for the EOC at St. Michael's Church in Van Nuys, California. Unable to completely reconcile Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy, many EOC members formally joined the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in 1987. Some others joined the Orthodox Church in America. The rest remained independent and continue as the Evangelical Orthodox Church. [47] [48] [49] [50]


The P'ent'ay is an Amharic and Tigrinya language term for evangelical Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea. This movement have been influenced by the mainstream Orthodox Christianity of these countries as well as Pentecostalism. As Protestantism is relatively new in Ethiopia, most P'ent'ay are ex-Orthodox Christians. [51] [52] Many of these groups describe their religious practices as culturally Orthodox, but Protestant by doctrine. They boast approximately 16,500,000 members. [53] The P'ent'ay denominations may constitute as much as 19% of the population of Ethiopia, [54] while being a small minority in Eritrea. [55]

List of churches

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern Christianity</span> Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises Christian traditions and church families that originally developed during classical and late antiquity in Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Northeast Africa, the Fertile Crescent and the Malabar coast of South Asia, and ephemerally parts of Persia, Central Asia, the Near East and the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination.

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full agreement among different Christian denominations or Christian individuals 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church</span> Orthodox Church in Kerala, India

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Indian Orthodox Church (IOC) or simply as the Malankara Church, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church headquartered in Devalokam, near Kottayam, India. The church serves India's Saint Thomas Christian population. According to tradition, these communities originated in the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It employs the Malankara Rite, an Indian form of the West Syriac liturgical rite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christian denomination</span> Identifiable Christian body with common characteristics

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity that comprises all church congregations of the same kind, identifiable by traits such as a name, particular history, organization, leadership, theological doctrine, worship style and sometimes a founder. It is a secular and neutral term, generally used to denote any established Christian church. Unlike a cult or sect, a denomination is usually seen as part of the Christian religious mainstream. Most Christian denominations self-describe themselves as churches, whereas some newer ones tend to interchangeably use the terms churches, assemblies, fellowships, etc. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, biblical hermeneutics, theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mar Thoma Syrian Church</span> Church based in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, often shortened to Mar Thoma Church, and known also as the Reformed Syrian Church and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, is an autonomous Reformed Oriental church based in Kerala, India. While continuing many of the Syriac high church practices, the church is reformed in its theology and doctrines. It employs a reformed variant of the West Syriac Rite Divine Liturgy of Saint James, translated to Malayalam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syriac Christianity</span> Branch of Eastern Christianity

Syriac Christianity is a distinctive branch of Eastern Christianity, whose formative theological writings and traditional liturgies are expressed in the Classical Syriac language, a variation of the old Aramaic language. In a wider sense, the term can also refer to Aramaic Christianity in general, thus encompassing all Christian traditions that are based on liturgical uses of Aramaic language and its variations, both historical and modern.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christian liturgy</span> Pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Index of Eastern Christianity–related articles</span>

Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia

The Diocese of North America & Europe is a diocese of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church that includes all the parishes in the North American and European continents. Its headquarters is at Sinai Mar Thoma Centre, Merrick, New York.The present Diocesan bishop is Issac Mar Philoxenos Episcopa. As of 2020 there are 71 parishes and 7 congregations under this diocese.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Eastern Christianity</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malankara Church</span> Historic Indian Christian denomination

The Malankara Church, also known as Puthenkur and more popularly as Jacobite Syrians, is the historic unified body of West Syriac Saint Thomas Christian denominations which claim ultimate origins from the missions of Thomas the Apostle. This community, under the leadership of Thoma I, opposed the Padroado Jesuits as well as the Propaganda Carmelites of the Latin Church, following the historical Coonan Cross Oath of 1653. The Malankara Church's modern-day descendants include the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the Saint Thomas Anglicans of the Church of South India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christianity in Kerala</span> Third-largest practiced religion in Kerala

Christianity is the third-largest practiced religion in Kerala, accounting for 18% of the population according to the Indian census. Although a minority, the Christian population of Kerala is proportionally much larger than that of India as a whole. A significant portion of the Indian Christian population resides in the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saint Thomas Christian denominations</span>

The Saint Thomas Christian denominations are Christian denominations from Kerala, India, which traditionally trace their ultimate origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" as well. The Syriac term "Nasrani" is still used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church of India</span> Topics referred to by the same term

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holy Qurobo</span> Eucharist in Syro-Antiochene Christianity

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Protestant liturgy or Evangelical liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Protestant congregation or denomination on a regular basis. The term liturgy comes from Greek and means "public work". Liturgy is especially important in the Historical Protestant churches, both mainline and evangelical, while Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational churches tend to be very flexible and in some cases have no liturgy at all. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday.


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