Portal:Oriental Orthodoxy

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THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOXY PORTAL

Introduction

Christ and the Abbot Menas Louvre E11565 n02.jpg

Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 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 summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.

The Oriental Orthodox communion is composed of six autocephalous churches: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Collectively, they consider themselves to be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, and that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. Most member churches are part of the World Council of Churches. All member churches share a virtually identical theology, with the distinguishing feature being Miaphysitism. Three very different rites are practiced in the communion: the western-influenced Armenian Rite, the West Syrian Rite of the two Syriac churches, and the Alexandrian Rite of the Copts, Ethiopians and Eritreans.

Selected article

The Baptism of Jesus Christ (Coptic Church of Saint Mercurius, Old Cairo)
Jesus of Nazareth (7–2 BC — 26–36 AD also known as Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity and is revered by most Christian churches as the Son of God and the incarnation of God. Christian views of Jesus center on the belief that Jesus is divine, is the Messiah whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament, and that he was resurrected after his crucifixion. In the 5th century, Pope Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, refused to accept the Christological dogmas promulgated by the Council of Chalcedon, which held that Jesus has two natures: one divine and one human. Pope Dioscorus would accept only "of or from two natures" but not "in two natures." To the hierarchs who would lead the Oriental Orthodox, this was tantamount to accepting Nestorianism, which expressed itself in a terminology incompatible with their understanding of Christology. The Oriental Orthodox churches were often called Monophysite, although they reject this label, as it is associated with Eutychian Monophysitism; they prefer the term "non-Chalcedonian" or "Miaphysite" churches.

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Quotes

"You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love Him."

--St Ephrem the Syrian, As quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary: Mark, (1999) Thomas C. Oden and Christopher Hall, editors

"This is true perfection: not to avoid a wicked life because we fear punishment, like slaves; not to do good because we expect repayment, as if cashing in on the virtuous life by enforcing some business deal. On the contrary, disregarding all those good things which we do hope for and which God has promised us, we regard falling from God’s friendship as the only thing dreadful, and we consider becoming God’s friend the only thing truly worthwhile."

--St Gregory of Nyssa, As quoted in Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses, (1978) Abraham Malherbe and Everett Ferguson, translators, p. 137


"Prayer is the inspiration of childhood, the refuge of youth and peace during old age."

--St Gregorios Geevarghese of Malankara, As quoted in VISION - a magazine of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Greater India, (Nov. 2000)

Subcategories

Topics

Background: ChristianityEastern Orthodox TheologyMiaphysitismApostolic SuccessionIntercession of SaintsNicene CreedFour Marks of the ChurchPanentheism

Ecumenical and other councils: First Council of NicaeaFirst Council of ConstantinopleFirst Council of EphesusSecond Council of Ephesus

Popes & Patriarchs: Pope of AlexandriaPatriarch of AntiochPatriarch of ArmeniaCatholicos of the East

Rites: Liturgy of St JamesSyriac LanguageCoptic languageSyriac Christianity

Churches: Coptic Orthodox Church of AlexandriaBritish Orthodox ChurchFrench Orthodox ChurchArmenian Apostolic Church of All ArmeniansArmenian Apostolic Church of CiliciaArmenian Apostolic Church of ConstantinopleArmenian Apostolic Church of JerusalemSyriac Orthodox ChurchMalankara Syriac Orthodox ChurchEthiopian Orthodox Tewahedo ChurchEritrean Orthodox Tewahedo ChurchIndian Orthodox Church

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