Orthodox Church

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
m
m
Line 1: Line 1:
The '''Orthodox Church''' is the [[Ecclesiology|Church]] that arose in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East after the Great Schism in 1054 A.D.  It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the '''Eastern Orthodox Church''' or the '''Greek Orthodox Church'''.  It is sometimes called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]], the [[Body of Christ]], the [[Bride of Christ]], or simply the Church.
+
The '''Eastern Orthodox Churches''' are the [[Ecclesiology|Church]]es that arose in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East after the Great Schism in 1054 A.D.  It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the '''Eastern Orthodox Churches''' or the '''Greek Orthodox Church'''.  It is sometimes called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]], the [[Body of Christ]], the [[Bride of Christ]], or simply the Church.
  
The [[bishop]]s of the Orthodox Church trace unbroken [[Apostolic succession|succession]] to the very [[apostles]] themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our [[Lord]] [[Jesus Christ]].  All the bishops of the Church, no matter their titles, are equal in their [[sacrament]]al office.  The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence.  At an [[ecumenical council]], each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an [[auxiliary bishop]] without a [[diocese]].  Thus, there is no equivalent to the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[pope|papacy]] within the Orthodox Church.
+
The [[bishop]]s of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches trace unbroken [[Apostolic succession|succession]] to the very [[apostles]] themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our [[Lord]] [[Jesus Christ]].  All the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, no matter their titles, are equal in their [[sacrament]]al office.  The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence.  At an [[ecumenical council]], each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an [[auxiliary bishop]] without a [[diocese]].  Thus, there is no equivalent to the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[pope|papacy]] within the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
  
 
As with its [[Apostolic succession]], the [[faith]] held by the Church is that which was handed by [[Jesus Christ|Christ]] to the [[apostles]].  Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" ([[Book of Jude|Jude]] 3).  Throughout history, various [[heresy|heresies]] have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes [[dogma|dogmatic]] pronouncements (especially at [[ecumenical councils]]) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of [[heresy]] and calling to repentance those who [[schism|rend asunder]] the Body of Christ.  Its primary statement of faith is the [[Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed]].
 
As with its [[Apostolic succession]], the [[faith]] held by the Church is that which was handed by [[Jesus Christ|Christ]] to the [[apostles]].  Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" ([[Book of Jude|Jude]] 3).  Throughout history, various [[heresy|heresies]] have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes [[dogma|dogmatic]] pronouncements (especially at [[ecumenical councils]]) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of [[heresy]] and calling to repentance those who [[schism|rend asunder]] the Body of Christ.  Its primary statement of faith is the [[Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed]].
  
 
== Current Church structure ==
 
== Current Church structure ==
The Orthodox Church of today consists of fourteen or fifteen [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] churches and five [[autonomy|autonomous]] churches, sometimes referred to as [[jurisdiction|jurisdictions]].  Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their [[primate|primates]] confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church.  All the Orthodox churches remain in [[full communion]] with one another, sharing the same [[faith]] and [[praxis]].  There have been occasional breaks in communion due to various problems throughout history, but they generally remain brief and not developing into full [[schism]]. The [[Church of Constantinople|Patriarchate of Constantinople]] is also the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has the status of "first among equals" among the Orthodox Churches.
+
The Eastern Orthodox Churches of today consist of fourteen or fifteen [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] churches and five [[autonomy|autonomous]] churches, sometimes referred to as [[jurisdiction|jurisdictions]].  Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their [[primate|primates]] confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church.  All the Orthodox churches remain in [[full communion]] with one another, sharing the same [[faith]] and [[praxis]].  There have been occasional breaks in communion due to various problems throughout history, but they generally remain brief and not developing into full [[schism]]. The [[Church of Constantinople|Patriarchate of Constantinople]] is also the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has the status of "first among equals" among the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
  
 
'''See: [[List of autocephalous and autonomous Churches]]'''
 
'''See: [[List of autocephalous and autonomous Churches]]'''

Revision as of 12:30, January 1, 2010

The Eastern Orthodox Churches are the Churches that arose in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East after the Great Schism in 1054 A.D. It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the Eastern Orthodox Churches or the Greek Orthodox Church. It is sometimes called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or simply the Church.

The bishops of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches trace unbroken succession to the very apostles themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord Jesus Christ. All the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, no matter their titles, are equal in their sacramental office. The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence. At an ecumenical council, each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an auxiliary bishop without a diocese. Thus, there is no equivalent to the Roman Catholic papacy within the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

As with its Apostolic succession, the faith held by the Church is that which was handed by Christ to the apostles. Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" (Jude 3). Throughout history, various heresies have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes dogmatic pronouncements (especially at ecumenical councils) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of heresy and calling to repentance those who rend asunder the Body of Christ. Its primary statement of faith is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Contents

Current Church structure

The Eastern Orthodox Churches of today consist of fourteen or fifteen autocephalous churches and five autonomous churches, sometimes referred to as jurisdictions. Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their primates confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church. All the Orthodox churches remain in full communion with one another, sharing the same faith and praxis. There have been occasional breaks in communion due to various problems throughout history, but they generally remain brief and not developing into full schism. The Patriarchate of Constantinople is also the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has the status of "first among equals" among the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

See: List of autocephalous and autonomous Churches

Number of Adherents

The most common estimates of the number of Orthodox Christians worldwide is approximately 225-300 million individuals.[1].

Other estimates such as in The Encyclopedia of the Developing World[2] places the number of overall Orthodox worshippers in 1996 at 182 million individuals, including the following breakdown:

  • Russian Federation: 70-80 million
  • Ukraine: close to 30 million
  • Romania: 20 million
  • Greece: 9.5 million
  • United States: close to 7 million
  • Serbia and Montenegro: close to 7 million
  • Bulgaria: 6 million
  • Belarus: 5 million
  • Kazakhstan: 4 million
  • Moldavia: 3 million
  • Georgia: 2.8 million
  • FYROM: 1.2 million
  • Uzbekistan: 900,000
  • Poland: 800,000
  • Germany: 550,000
  • Australia: 480,000
  • United Kingdom: 440,000
  • Latvia: 400,000
  • Estonia: 300,000
  • France: 260,000
  • Lithuania: 150,000
  • Austria: about 70,000
  • Switzerland: about 70,000
  • Finland: 56,000

References

  1. Eastern Orthodox Church: Number of Adherents at Wikipedia.
  2. Thomas M. Leonard. Encyclopedia of the Developing World: Vol 3, O-Z Index. Taylor & Francis, 2006.

See also

Further reading

Published works

The following are published writings that provide an introduction or overview of the Orthodox Church and its teachings:

From an Orthodox perspective

From a Heterodox perspective

  • Binns, John. An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches. (ISBN 0521667380)
  • Fairbairn, Donald. Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes. (ISBN 0664224970)
  • Fortescue, Adrian. The Orthodox Eastern Church. (ISBN 0971598614)
  • Roberson, Ronald. The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey. (ISBN 8872103215) - (also available online)
  • Parry, Ken, ed.; Melling, David J., ed.; Brady, Dimitri, ed.; Griffith, Sidney Harrison, ed.; Healey, John F., ed. The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. (ISBN 0631232036)

External links

Overviews of the Orthodox Church

Byzantine Studies

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Navigation
interaction
Donate

Please consider supporting OrthodoxWiki. FAQs

Toolbox
In other languages