Eastern Orthodox worship, Eastern Christianity

Eastern Orthodox worship, Eastern Christianity

PDF generated using the open source mwlib toolkit. See http://code.pediapress.com/ for more information. PDF generated at: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 16:07:00 UTC

Eastern Orthodox worship, Eastern Christianity
Eastern Orthodox worship Eastern Christianity 1 1 8

Article Sources and Contributors Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 16 17

Article Licenses
License 18


Eastern Orthodox worship, Eastern Christianity
Eastern Orthodox worship
Part of the series on Eastern Christianity

Eastern Christianity Portal

History Byzantine Empire Crusades Ecumenical council Christianization of Bulgaria Christianization of Kievan Rus' East-West Schism By region Asian - Copts Eastern Orthodox - Georgian Ukrainian Traditions Church of the East Eastern Catholic Churches Eastern Orthodox Church Oriental Orthodoxy Syriac Christianity Liturgy and Worship Sign of the cross Divine Liturgy Iconography Asceticism Omophorion

Eastern Orthodox worship

Theology Hesychasm - Icon Apophaticism - Filioque clause Miaphysitism - Monophysitism Nestorianism - Theosis - Theoria Phronema - Philokalia Praxis - Theotokos Hypostasis - Ousia Essence-Energies distinction Metousiosis

Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox Prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox. The worship of the Orthodox Church is viewed as the Church's fundamental activity because the worship of God is the joining of man to God in prayer and that is the essential function of Christ's Church. The Orthodox view their Church as being the living embodiment of Christ, through the grace of His Holy Spirit, in the people, clergy, monks and all other members of the Church. Thus the Church is viewed as the Body of Christ on earth which is perpetually unified with the Body of Christ in heaven through a common act of worship to God. This article will deal first with the various characteristics of Orthodox worship, aside from its theological foundations as laid forth above, and will then continue to give the services of worship themselves and their structure.

Characteristics of Orthodox Worship
Because, as explained above, the Orthodox draw no distinction between the Body of Christ in heaven and those on earth viewing both parts of the Church as inseparable and in continuous worship together of God. Orthodox worship therefore expresses this unity of earth and heaven in every possible way so that the earthly worshippers are continually reminded through all their senses of the heavenly state of the Church. The particular methods for doing this are very far from arbitrary but have been passed down from the earliest periods in Christian history through what the Orthodox call "Holy Tradition".

Probably the most striking aspect of Orthodox worship are its visual characteristics. These are many and varied always conveying in the most striking colors and shapes possible the various phases and moods of the Church both as they change throughout the year and in individual services. Icons Icons are used to bring the worshippers into the presence of those who are in heaven, that is, Christ, the Saints, the Theotokos and the angels. The Orthodox believe these icons do more than visually remind the viewer of the fact that there are saints in heaven, they believe that these icons act as 'windows' into heaven through which we see those saints, Christ and the Theotokos. It is for this reason that God the father is traditionally not represented in icons because He has never shown His form to man and therefore man should not try to represent His form in icons. It is because of the connection which these sacred pictures have with their subjects that Orthodox Christians regularly venerate (but do not worship) them even as Orthodox still living on earth greet one another with a kiss of peace, so do they venerate those who have passed on through their icons.

Eastern Orthodox worship Architecture Both the internal and external forms of Orthodox churches are designed in imitation of heaven. The internal layout consists of three main parts: the narthex, nave and altar. The Royal doors divide the Narthex from the Nave and the Iconostasis divides the Nave from the Altar. The Narthex or porch is the entrance to the church building and not yet the actual 'church' proper, and is a small open space often with some candles to buy before entering the church itself. Once through the Royal Doors (a term often applied now to the doors in the center of the Iconostasis as well) there is the Nave, which is the main and largest part of the church building. Here all the laity and choir stand (there are often few or no seats in the building) during worship; it is shaped rectangularly in the back, opening into two wings forming a cross towards the front. Through the Iconostasis (always done through the 'Deacon's doors' on either side except during processions by the clergy) lies the Altar (or Sanctuary). This area is considered the most holy of the whole church, and laity other than church personnel are discouraged from entering. The Altar is square (completing the cross shape of the church building) and at its center is the altar table on which the Eucharist is celebrated and which only clergy may touch. There is no direct entrance to the outside of the church to the altar, only the deacons' doors and a door to the sacristy (which usually will lead outside). The main entrance from the nave to the sanctuary, the "Beautiful Gate", cannot be used by deacons and laity, only by priests or bishops. Vestments All those above lay status (the choir is considered to be lay as it sings in place of the congregation) wear some form of vestment to distinguish their office. There are many offices and each has its own distinctive vestment and each set of vestments becomes increasingly elaborate as the rank of the wearer increases; this principle also holds true for how weighty a service is being served. All these vestments are in the style of robes (or designed to go with robes) made of colored and decorated cloth. The colors of all the vestments change according to what feast the Church is celebrating (these changes occur in a seasonal fashion, not with the seasons but on a similar timescale). For instance, for about two months after the celebration of the Resurrection, all church vestments are bright white and red whereas during the solemnity of Lent they are dark purples; thus, vestments serve to express the 'mood' of the Church. Processions As most actions in Orthodox worship, processions are most often used to commemorate events and also, of course, to display items of religious, and particularly Orthodox, significance. Their most fundamental purpose however is, as everything in Orthodox worship, to aid in the edification and salvation of the worshippers by giving glory to God. Processions are always led by a number of altar servers bearing candles, fans (ornamented discs with angelic visages represented), crosses, banners or other processional implements relative to the occasion. After them come the subdeacons, deacons and archdeacons with censers (ornamental containers of burning coal for burning incense), then priests and archpriests and so on up the clergical ranks. This is the very 'ideal' in processions, most do not contain all these elements because the occasion may not warrant it. The reasons for why various processions are done at various times vary greatly. Candles Candles are used extensively throughout the church during services and after. They are viewed as continual, inanimate prayers offered by the candle's 'benefactor' to God or saints usually on behalf of a third party, although they can be offered for any purpose. Candlestands are placed in front of particularly significant icons throughout Orthodox churches, these always have a central candle burning on behalf of the church as a whole but have room for Orthodox to place candles. In particular candlestands are placed in front of the four principle icons on the Iconostasis: the icon of Christ, the Theotokos, John the Baptist and the temple's patron. Candles are not restricted to this usage however, besides being used in processions a candle is kept burning above the Royal Doors in the Iconostasis, candles in a seven-branched candelabrum are burned during services on the altar (following in the footsteps of the seven branched candlestand in the Old Testament) as well as other candles used at various times in


Eastern Orthodox worship the church year for special purposes. (see Dikri and Trikri)


The Orthodox Church traditionally does not use any instruments in the liturgy, instead relying entirely on choral music and chanting. Essentially all the words of Orthodox services, except sermons and such, are either chanted or sung by readers and choirs and when possible the congregations. Chanting Nothing in Orthodox worship is simply said; it is always sung or chanted. Chanting in the Orthodox tradition can be described as being halfway between talking and singing; it is musical but not music. One or two notes only are used in chanting, and the chanter reads the words to these notes at a steady rhythm. The notes and rhythms used vary according to what the occasion is, but generally chanting is relatively low-toned and steadily rhythmic creating a calming sound. Chanting not only is condusive to a calm and elevated state of mind but also allows chanters to read through large portions of texts (particularly Psalms) more clearly and quickly than possible with normal speech while also conveying the poetry in the words. That is the essential reason for chanting. Worship at its heart is a song and is beautiful; therefore the words of Orthodox worship cannot be simply said but must be melodiously chanted to express the true nature and purpose of the words. Singing Words not chanted in Orthodox worship are sung by a choir. Originally singing was done by the entire congregation, however this rapidly became cumbersome and a select group of singers was selected to represent the congretation. Since then Orthodox church music has expanded and become more elaborate. The Church uses eight 'tones' or 'modes,' which are broad categories of melodies. Within each of these tones are many small more precise melodies. All of these tones and their melodies rotate weekly so that during each week a particular tone is used for singing music. Singing naturally developed from chanting but, unlike in the west, Orthodox music developed from a Greek musical background. Even though Orthodoxy has spread and its music adapted to its various regions, still Orthodox music is distinctive from European music. Singing is used in place of chanting on important occasions thus some things which are chanted at minor services are sung at more important services. Singing is as varied and multi-faceted in its forms as chanting and vestments, it changes with the Church 'seasons' of commemoration thus singing during Great Lent is always somber and during Holy Week nearly becomes a sorrowful durge while during Pascha (Easter) and the Paschal season the notes are high and quick and as joyful as they were sad during Lent. The power of music is not lost on the Orthodox and it is used to its full effect to bring about spiritual renewal in the listeners. Bells In Russian Orthodox churches bells are often used. The size of the bells can vary widely as can their number and complexity of tone. Generally however they are rung to announce the beginning and end of services or to proclaim especially significant moments in the services. They are not used as musical instruments in the strict sense, that is, they are not used in conjunction with a choir and are not a part of the worship itself and are always positioned outside the church building.

Eastern Orthodox worship


In Orthodox worship, even the sense of smell is used to enlighten the minds and hearts of the worshipers, bringing them into closer communion with God. This is done primarily through the use of incense, but it is not uncommon at certain times of the year to decorate the interior of Orthodox temples with aromatic flowers and herbs. Incense Incense in the Orthodox Church is burned at essentially every worship service usually multiple times. This is always done by burning granulated incense on a hot coal inside a censer. The censer is essentially two metal bowls suspended by chains and which can be raised and lowered to allow more or less smoke out. Incense is burned, in accordance with Old Testament tradition, as an essential mode of worship to God and is burned in token of reverence to objects of sanctity such as relics, bishops, icons, the congregation and many other besides. During the course of every service, all objects of repute will be censed by the deacon or priest. This is done by swinging the censer forward and bringing it back sending a cloud of aromatic smoke towards the object being censed. Other aromas Scented oils are also used, sometimes to anoint the feast day icon, or added to the olive oil which is blessed for anointing during the All-Night Vigil. Or the faithful may be blessed by the priest sprinkling them with rose water. There are also times when fragrant plants are used. For instance, on the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos there is a special "Blessing of Fragrant Herbage" which takes place after the Divine Liturgy. On the Great Feast of Pentecost it is customary to fill the church with greenery, sometimes fresh hay or grass will be spread about the floor, and the faithful often stand holding flowers during the services on this day, especially at the Vespers service on the afternoon of Pentecost Sunday.

The Orthodox Churchis fully conscious of the importance of the physical in general and of the human body in particular. As a result, Orthodox worship does not neglect to incorporate the body into its worship and to enlighten the worshippers through it as through any other medium. The Sign of the Cross The sign of the cross (three fingers imprinted on the forehead, torso, right then left shoulders) is the most fundamental religious action of the Orthodox Church and is performed very frequently in Orthodox worship. This action is, of course, done in remembrance and invocation of the Cross of Christ. This can be meant for protection from adverse powers, in reverence for something or someone, in cumpunction or love or for a multitude of other reasons not nearly so specific. The Orthodox view it as a way of purifying the body and soul and the Orthodox oral tradition is very strong in viewing it as a weapon against demons and their activities. Standing and Kneeling To express the respect and fear of God which is congruent with the worship of Him, Orthodox stand while in worship as if they were in the presence of a king. Originally women were designated to stand on one half of the church in front of the icon of the Mother of God while the men stood on the right side of the church in front of the icon of Christ, now however this is rarely done and worshippers simply stand in any open space in the Nave facing the altar and praying silently or singing as they stand. Kneeling is done in expression of penitence and deep cumpunction and is done almost exclusively during Lenten services. For instance, during the Presanctified Liturgy (done only in Lent) when the Lord's Prayer is said all people, clergy and laity, in the Church kneel. In contrast, no kneeling is ever done during the celebratory Paschal season.

Eastern Orthodox worship Bowing and Prostrating A bow in the Orthodox Church consists of a person making the sign of the cross and then bowing from the waist and touching the floor with their fingers. This action is done extensively throughout all Orthodox services and is a fundamental way that the Orthodox express their reverence and subservience to God. For instance, at the culminating point of the consecration of the Eucharist all the Orthodox make a bow while saying "Amen". Bows are used more extensively in Lent than at any other time. Three bows are done when entering an Orthodox church and a series of bows are performed when venerating the central icons in the Nave. A prostration in the Orthodox tradition is the action in which a person makes the sign of the cross and, going to his knees, touch the floor with his head. Prostrations express to an even greater degree the reverence evinced by a bow and both are used as tools to train the mind in reverence of God through the obeisance of the body. A prostration is always done upon entering the Altar (Sanctuary) on weekdays. They are used in the most profusion during Lent. Greetings and Blessings Even as Orthodox venerate and do reverence to icons and the church building as being physical objects filled with divine grace so too they greet one another. Traditionally this is done whenever or wherever Orthodox meet one another but in common usage the traditional greetings between lay people are usually done in ritual contexts (during services or such activities). Orthodox greetings are, just like the veneration of icons, expressions of love and reverence for the person being greeted. Greetings between lay people of equal rank are done by the parties grasping one another's right hand and then kissing each other on both cheeks, the right first, then left and right again. Between clergy of equal rank the same is done but at the end the parties kiss one another on the hand. Orthodox of lower ranks (lay people, altar servers and deacons) when meeting Orthodox priests (or higher ranks) receive a blessing by folding their hands (right over left) palm upwards while he of the priestly office makes the sign of the cross in the air with his hand over the folded hands of the lay person and then places that hand on the folded hands of he of lower rank for him to kiss. This is done because the Orthodox view the priestly office as the one through which Christ lives with his people and thus the blessing is the essential bestowing of Christ's love and grace through His priest to the Orthodox person being blessed. Blessings like this are also used during services to signify the approval of Christ and the Church for some action a lower order person is going to do.


Orthodox worship, in keeping with the earliest traditions of Christian worship, involves eating as part of services probably more than any other denomination. Besides the bread and wine in the Eucharist, bread, wine, wheat, fruits and other foods are eaten at a number of special services. The kinds of foods used vary widely from culture to culture. Bread Bread is by far the most common Orthodox repast in worship and is always levened. Bread is viewed theologically as the quintissential food, the symbol of sustenance and life. As such, it is also considered to be the central component of communal meals and a mainstay of brotherhood. Although its use for Prosphora and in the Eucharist are ancient and universal, the various other kinds of ecclesial breads and their purposes vary widely from country to country as do their associated services. These services usually are associated with seasonal prayers, such as the harvest. The most common non-Eucharistic bread is the artos. This is in two forms: five smaller loaves which are blessed during a portion of the All-Night Vigil known as the Artoklassia (literally, "breaking of bread"); and a single, large loaf which is blessed during the Paschal Vigil and then remains in the church during Bright Week (Easter Week). This Artos (capitalized because it symbolizes the Resurrected Jesus) is venerated by the faithful when they enter or leave the church during Bright Week. Then, on Bright Saturday, the priest says a prayer over the Artos and it is broken up and distributed among the faithful as an evlogia (blessing).

Eastern Orthodox worship Wine The continual companion of bread in the Church is wine which is also seen with it in the Eucharist and Prosphora. Wine is viewed theologically as the symbol of the joy and happiness which God gives to man. Thus it is also thought of as the essential component of meals and the community, to 'drink of the same cup' is a theological allegory to intimate spiritual union. In its various local usages, wine is always taken with the bread, usually poured over it or used for dipping as with Prosphora. Wheat As the corollary to bread, wheat is very frequently seen in Orthodox services as well. Though it does not hold nearly as central a place theologically or in use, it is seen as a symbol of resurrection and rebirth because a grain of wheat must be buried in the earth, 'die' and then be 'born again' with new growth and life. Because of this it is often seen in prayers for the dead; in the Greek and Russian tradition Koliva is a boiled wheat dish eaten at the end of a service for a deceased person. Water As wheat is to bread, so water is to wine or even more so because it holds a much more prominent position and use and theology. Wine in the Orthodox Church, as in early Christian history, is always mixed with water for the Eucharist. It is associated with cleansing of the soul and thus the Holy Spirit and Baptism. Besides its use in Baptism, holy water, specially blessed by a priest, is used extensively for many sanctification purposes and is usually sprinkled on objects. At certain services, particularly at Theophany, a special holy water, known as Theophany water is consecrated and partaken of during the service by each member of the congregation in turn. Theophany water is blessed twice: on the eve of the feast it is blessed in the narthex of the church (the place where baptisms take place), and then the next morning, on the day of the feast, after Divine Liturgy, an outside body of water is blessed, demonstrating the sanctification of all creation which in Orthodox theology was accomplished by Christ's Incarnation, Death and Resurrection. Later, the priest visits the homes of all of the faithful, and blesses their homes with this Theophany water.


Intellectual The Hours Other Kinds of Orthodox Services
Western rite

Eastern Christianity


Eastern Christianity
Part of the series on Eastern Christianity

Eastern Christianity Portal History Byzantine Empire Crusades Ecumenical council Christianization of Bulgaria Christianization of Kievan Rus' East-West Schism By region Asian - Copts Eastern Orthodox - Georgian Ukrainian Traditions Church of the East Eastern Catholic Churches Eastern Orthodox Church Oriental Orthodoxy Syriac Christianity Liturgy and Worship Sign of the cross Divine Liturgy Iconography Asceticism Omophorion Theology Hesychasm - Icon Apophaticism - Filioque clause Miaphysitism - Monophysitism Nestorianism - Theosis - Theoria Phronema - Philokalia Praxis - Theotokos Hypostasis - Ousia Essence-Energies distinction Metousiosis

Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and south western India over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to describe all Christian traditions which did

Eastern Christianity not develop in Western Europe. As such the term does not describe any single communion or common religious tradition (indeed some Eastern Churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than other Eastern Churches). The terms Eastern and Western in this regard originated with the division between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire and the cultural split that this caused. The term Orthodox is often used in the same way as Eastern in referring to church communions although, strictly speaking, most churches consider themselves part of an orthodox and catholic communion.


Families of churches
Eastern Christians do not have a shared religious traditions but many of these groups have shared cultural traditions. Christianity divided itself in the East during its early centuries both within and outside of the Roman Empire in disputes about christology and fundamental theology, as well as national divisions (Roman, Persian, etc.). It would be many centuries later that Western Christianity fully split from these traditions as its own communion (SEE: SCHISM). Today there are four main branches or families of Eastern Christianity, each of which has distinct theology and dogma. • the Assyrian Church of the East • the Eastern Orthodox Churches • the Oriental Orthodox Churches • the Eastern Catholic Churches All of the Eastern churches, as well as the Western churches, share a common Christian tradition and most of the same Christian Biblical canon. Many Eastern churches also share traditional practices in common which are not shared by the Western churches but there is no particular tradition that distinguishes non-Western churches from Western churches. In many Eastern churches, parish priests administer the sacrament of chrismation to infants after baptism, and priests are allowed to marry before ordination. While all the Eastern Catholic Churches recognize the authority of the Pope, some of them who having originally been part of the Eastern Orthodox Church closely follow the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, including the tradition of allowing married men to become priests. The Eastern churches' differences from Western Christianity have as much, if not more, to do with culture, language, and politics, as theology. For the non-Catholic Eastern churches, a definitive date for the commencement of schism cannot usually be given (see East-West Schism). The Church of the East declared independence from the churches of the Roman Empire at its general council in 424, which was before the Council of Ephesus in 431, and so had nothing to do with the theology declared at that Council. Oriental Orthodoxy separated after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Since the time of church historian Edward Gibbon, the split between the Church of Rome and the Orthodox Churches has been conveniently dated to 1054 (though the reality is more complex). This split is sometimes referred to as the Great Schism, but now more usually referred to as the East-West Schism. This final schism reflected a larger cultural and political division which had developed in Europe and southwest Asia during the Middle Ages and coincided with Western Europe's re-emergence from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Church of the East
Historically, the Church of the East was the widest reaching branch of Eastern Christianity, at its height spreading from its heartland in Persia and Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean, India, and China. Originally the church of Sassanid Persia, the Church of the East declared itself independent of other churches in 424 and over the next century became affiliated with Nestorianism, a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, which had been declared heretical in the Roman Empire. Thereafter it was often known as the Nestorian Church in the West. Surviving a period of persecution within Persia, the Church of the East flourished under the caliphate and branched out, establishing dioceses throughout Asia.

Eastern Christianity After a period of expansion under the Mongol Empire, the church went into decline through the 14th century, and was eventually confined largely to its heartland in what is now Iraq and to the Malabar Coast of India. In the 16th century dynastic struggles sent the church into schism, resulting in the formation of two rival churches. Two modern churches developed from the schism, the Chaldean Church, which entered into communion with Rome as an Eastern Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East. In India, the local Church of the East community, known as the Saint Thomas Christians, experienced its own rifts as a result of Portuguese influence.


Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East emerged from the historical Church of the East, which was centered in Persia and spread widely throughout Asia. The modern Assyrian Church of the East emerged in the 16th century following a split with the Chaldean Church, which later entered into communion with Rome as an Eastern Catholic Church. The Church of the East was associated with the doctrine of Nestorianism, advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 – 431, which emphasized the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius and his doctrine were condemned at the First Council of Ephesus in 431, leading to the Nestorian Schism in which churches supporting Nestorius split from the rest of Christianity. Many followers relocated to Persia and became affiliated with the local Christian community there; this adopted an increasingly Nestorian theology and was thereafter often known as the Nestorian Church. As such, the Church of the East accepts only the first two Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church — the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople — as defining its faith tradition, and rapidly took a different course from other Eastern Christians. The Church of the East spread widely through Persia and into Asia, being introduced to India by the 6th century and to the Mongols and China in the 7th century. It experienced periodic expansion until the 14th century, when the church was nearly destroyed by the collapse of the Mongol Empire and the conquests of Timur. By the 16th century it was largely confined to Kurdistan and the Malabar Coast of India. The split of the 15th century, which saw the emergence of separate Assyrian and Chaldean Churches, left only the former as an independent sect. Further splits into the 20th century further affected the history of the Assyrian Church of the East.

Oriental Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian tradition that keep the faith of the first three Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church: the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325), the First Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431), and rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon (451). Hence, these churches are also called Old Oriental Churches. Oriental Orthodoxy developed in reaction to Chalcedon on the eastern limit of the Byzantine Empire and in Egypt and Syria. In those locations, there are now also Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs, but the rivalry between the two has largely vanished in the centuries since schism. The following Oriental Orthodox churches are autocephalous and in full communion: • Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church • Syriac Orthodox Church • Jacobite Syrian Church • Indian Orthodox Church • Coptic Orthodox Church • British Orthodox Church • French Coptic Orthodox Church • Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church • Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Eastern Christianity


Eastern Orthodox Churches
The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body whose adherents are largely based in Russia, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with a growing presence in the western world. Eastern Orthodox Christians accept seven Ecumenical Councils. Orthodox Christianity identifies itself as the original Christian church founded by Christ and the Apostles, and traces its lineage back to the early church through the process of Apostolic Succession and unchanged theology and practice. Orthodox distinctives (shared with some of the Eastern Catholic Churches) include the Divine Liturgy, Mysteries or Sacraments, and an emphasis on the preservation of Tradition, which it holds to be Apostolic in nature. Orthodox Churches are also distinctive in that they are organized into selfgoverning jurisdictions along national, ethnic, and/or linguistic lines. Orthodoxy is thus made up of 15 or 16 national autocephalous bodies. Smaller churches are autonomous and each have a mother church that is autocephalous. The Eastern Orthodox Church includes the following churches • Autocephalous Churches • The Church of Constantinople • The Greek Church of Alexandria • The Church of Antioch • • • • • • • • • • • • The Church of Jerusalem The Church of Moscow The Church of Greece The Church of Georgia The Church of Serbia The Church of Romania The Church of Bulgaria The Church of Cyprus The Church of Albania The Church of Poland The Church of Slovakia and the Czech Lands The Orthodox Church in America

• Autonomous Churches • • • • • • The Church of Sinai (Jerusalem Patriarchate) The Orthodox Church of Finland (Ecumenical Patriarchate) The Church of Estonia (Ecumenical Patriarchate) The Church of Japan (Moscow Patriarchate) The Church of Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate) Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate- Unification with Russian Orthodox Church achieved May 17, 2007)

• Exceptional churches generally considered to be orthodox in beliefs but otherwise not in communion with all of the above churches. • The Church of Ukraine (Kiev Patriarchate) • The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church • The Church of Macedonia Most Eastern Orthodox are united in communion with each other, though unlike the Roman Catholic Church, this is a looser connection rather than a top-down hierarchy (see primus inter pares). It may also be noted that the Church of Rome was once in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the two were split after the East-West Schism and thus it is no longer in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Eastern Christianity It is estimated that there are approximately 240 million Orthodox Christians in the world.[1] Today, many adherents shun the term "Eastern" as denying the church's universal character. They refer to Eastern Orthodoxy simply as the Orthodox Church.


Eastern Catholic Churches
The twenty-two Eastern Catholic churches are all in communion with the Holy See at the Vatican, but are rooted in the theological and liturgical traditions of Eastern Christianity. Many of these churches were originally part of one of the above families and so are closely related to them by way of ethos and liturgical practice. As in the other Eastern churches, married men may become priests, and parish priests administer the mystery of confirmation to newborn infants immediately after baptism, via the rite of chrismation; the infants are then administered Holy Communion. The Syro-Malabar Church, based in Kerala, India, has never been out of communion with Rome. Other Christians of Kerala, who were originally of the same East-Syrian tradition, passed instead to the West-Syrian tradition and now form part of Oriental Orthodoxy (some from the Oriental Orthodox in India united with the Catholic Church in 1930 and became the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church). Maronite Church also claims never to have been separated from Rome, and has no counterpart Orthodox Church out of communion with the Pope. It is therefore inaccurate to refer to it as a "Uniate" Church. The Italo-Albanian Catholic Church has also never been out of communion with Rome, but, unlike the Maronite Church, it uses the same liturgical rite as the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Rejection of Uniatism
At a meeting in Balamand, Lebanon in June 1993, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church declared that these initiatives that "led to the union of certain communities with the See of Rome and brought with them, as a consequence, the breaking of communion with their Mother Churches of the East ... took place not without the interference of extra-ecclesial interests" (section 8 of the document [2]); and that what has been called "uniatism" "can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking" (section 12). At the same time, the Commission stated: • 3) Concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in response to the spiritual needs of their faithful. • 16) The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion.

Saint Thomas Christians
The Saint Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians on the southwest coast of India who trace their origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[3] By the 5th century the Saint Thomas Christians were part of the Church of the East, or Nestorian Church. Until the middle of the 17th century and the arrival of the Portuguese, the Thomas Christians were all one in faith and rite. Thereafter, divisions arose among them, and consequently they are today of several different rites.[4]

Eastern Christianity


Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism
Ecumenical dialogue over the past 43 years since Paul VI's meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I has awoken the nearly 1000-year hopes for Christian unity. Since the lifting of excommunications during the Paul VI and Athenagoras I meeting in Jerusalem there have been other significant meetings between Popes and Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople. The most recent meeting was between Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I, who signed the Common Declaration. It states that "We give thanks to the Author of all that is good, who allows us once again, in prayer and in dialogue, to express the joy we feel as brothers and to renew our commitment to move towards full communion". [5]

Dissenting movements
In addition to these four mainstream branches, there are a number of much smaller groups which, like Protestants, originated from disputes with the dominant tradition of their original areas, but are usually not referred to as Protestants because they lack historical ties to the Reformation, and usually lack a classically Protestant theology. Most of these are either part of the more traditional Old Believer movement, which arose from a schism within Russian Orthodoxy, or the more radical "Spiritual Christianity" movement. The latter includes a number of diverse "low-church" groups, from the Bible-centered Molokans to the anarchic Doukhobors to the self-mutilating Skoptsy. None of these groups are in communion with the mainstream churches listed above, aside from a few Old Believer parishes in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. There are national dissidents, where ethnic groups want their own nation-church like with the Macedonian Orthodox Church and Montenegrin Orthodox Church; both domiciles of the Serbian Orthodox Church. However, it should be noted that in Macedonia, the influence of the Serbian Orthodox Church is minimal, due to Macedonia's efforts to create an autocephalous Macedonian primacy in the Orthodox Church. The vast majority of Orthodox ethnic Macedonians view the Serbian Orthodox Church as hostile to Macedonian history, national interests, and self-determination. A little known movement of "reformers" in the Greek Orthodox Church traces its history to the 18th century. The leaders of this "schism" within the Orthodox Christian churches were called by a Greek word meaning 'unstable' (astateos). The children of these leaders left the East toward Western Europe, mainly Spain. In Ibero America these families are known by the derivative name 'Astacios' or 'Astacio.' One of their descendants was one of the first converts to the Pentecostal movement in 1916, Petra Astacio, of Montellano (Ponce, Puerto Rico). The Astacios have intermarried with native people of the Americas as well as with Spanish Jews (Sephardim) and Afro-Caribbeans.

The Eastern churches (excepting the non-liturgical dissenting bodies) each belong to one of several liturgical families: • Alexandrian Rite • Antiochene Rite • West Syrian Rite • Armenian Rite • Byzantine Rite • East Syrian Rite

Eastern Christianity


See also
For other definitions and meaning for the word orthodox, see Orthodoxy. • • • • • • • • Syriac Christianity Christian meditation Divine Liturgy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America List of Eastern Christianity-related topics One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Byzantine Empire History of Eastern Christianity

Further reading
• Angold, Michael, ed (2006). The Cambridge History of Christianity. Volume 5, Eastern Christianity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521811132.

External links
• Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia [6] • Eastern Christian Churches [7] • Eastern Catholics [8] Information concerning Christians of Eastern rites who are in communion with, and under the jurisdiction of, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. • A site advocating unity between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians. [9] • Eastern Christian Bible Resources - contains Lamsa Bible and more [10] • Byzantine Chant Studies Page [11] • The Orthodox Christian Church in America [12] • The Greek Orthodox Church in Canada [13] • Syro Malankara Catholic Church, International Homepage [14]-- Eastern Syrian Church in India • Reportage on Eastern Churches, by [[Enrico Martino [15]]] • OrthodoxWiki [16] • Prologue from Ohrid - (Saints of the Orthodox Church) [17]

[1] See details for Major religious groups [2] http:/ / www. orthodoxinfo. com/ ecumenism/ balamand_txt. aspx [3] A.E. Medlycott, India and The Apostle Thomas, pp.1-71, 213-97; M.R. James, Apocryphal New Testament, pp.364-436; Eusebius, History, chapter 4:30; J.N. Farquhar, The Apostle Thomas in North India, chapter 4:30; V.A. Smith, Early History of India, p.235; L.W. Brown, The Indian Christians of St. Thomas, p.49-59 [4] Dr. Placid Podipara, The Thomas Christians” [5] http:/ / www. ecupatriarchate. org/ [6] http:/ / www. greekorthodox. org. au/ [7] http:/ / www. cnewa. org/ ecc-bodypg-us. aspx?eccpageID=3& IndexView=toc [8] http:/ / www. melkite. org/ eastern. htm [9] http:/ / www. orthodoxunity. org/ [10] http:/ / www. aramaicpeshitta. com/ [11] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070709011102/ http:/ / chant. theologian. org/ [12] http:/ / www. oca. org/ [13] http:/ / www. gocanada. org/ [14] http:/ / www. malankara. org. in/ [15] http:/ / pa. photoshelter. com/ c/ enricomartino/ gallery/ Middle-East-Christian-Churches-The-Living-Stones/ G0000Iz3AUSXebjE/ [16] http:/ / commons. orthodoxwiki. org/ Main_Page

Eastern Christianity
[17] http:/ / www. westsrbdio. org/ prolog/ prolog. htm/


Article Sources and Contributors


Article Sources and Contributors
Eastern Orthodox worship  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=353349271  Contributors: Agüeybaná, Anthony Appleyard, Bsadowski1, Carlaude, Discospinster, EEMIV, Frjohnwhiteford, Jinlye, John Carter, Kevinkor2, LoveMonkey, Mild Bill Hiccup, MishaPan, Richard David Ramsey, Sir Tristram, The Thing That Should Not Be, Treygdor, Wknight94, Zach82, 47 anonymous edits Eastern Christianity  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=367375404  Contributors: Achanast, Afterwriting, Altenmann, Alxcus, Amphilips, Andycjp, Aphaia, Appachen, Aquarius Rising, Aranel, Asdamick, Babajobu, Baduin, BendersGame, Bokpasa, Brookie, Caponer, Carlaude, Causantin, Choice777, Chonak, Cianpower, Codex Sinaiticus, Computerjoe, Cuchullain, DHN, Danski14, David Underdown, Deusveritasest, Dexippus, Didactohedron, DocWatson42, Doltimar, Editor2020, Eldhoz, Eleland, Elonka, Equitor, Friginator, FunkyFly, Fyodor7, Gary D, Garzo, Gathert, Goethean, Goodnightmush, Goran.S2, Greekorthaus, Gtg204y, Gubernatoria, Guy Peters, Gwernol, Hajenso, Hajor, Hayesstw, Hectorian, House of Shin, InfernoXV, Irishguy, J Di, JHCC, JW1805, Jacob.jose, Jaholbrook, Jc3schmi, Joehoya3, JonHarder, Joseph Solis in Australia, Jovianeye, KCMODevin, Kaihsu, Kaygtr, Kazak, Kendrick7, Kmote, Koavf, Komita, Kostantino888Z, Kpant, Lanternix, Leewonbum, Lerdsuwa, Lightmouse, Lihaas, Lijujacobk, Lilac Soul, LoveMonkey, Majoreditor, Mcorazao, Menchi, Michael C Price, Michael Hardy, Midnite Critic, Mladifilozof, MojaMilica, Mr. Wheely Guy, Newpost137, Nickk199, Nowhither, Ohnoitsjamie, Oichi, Oldboe, Oldfaith123, Orthopraxia, Pavel Vozenilek, PaxEquilibrium, Phiddipus, Preost, Prignillius, Ptolemy Caesarion, Punchakonam, Pwt898, Rahuljohnson4u, Rchamberlain, Rhode Islander, Rich Farmbrough, Rogerb67, Ronark, Seleftheriadis, Shandris, Shlomovov, Sideshow Bob, Sir Tristram, Stalik, StaticGull, Stereotek, Sun82, T3gah, TMLutas, Tabletop, Tamokk, Tb, Teapotgeorge, Troy 07, Tvarkytojas, UtherSRG, VPeric, Vidkun, Vikramkr, Wesley, WikHead, Willgfass1, Wleara, Woohookitty, Yahel Guhan, ZZcon, Zach Alexander, 166 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors


Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
Image:00058 christ pantocrator mosaic hagia sophia 656x800.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:00058_christ_pantocrator_mosaic_hagia_sophia_656x800.jpg  License: unknown  Contributors: Gryffindor, Louis le Grand, Wst, 2 anonymous edits



Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported http:/ / creativecommons. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. 0/

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful