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Orthodox Christian Brotherhoods (also called Fraternities, or ecclesiastical organisations) are incorporations of persons that aim in the ministration of the fold of Orthodox Church.


These fraternities come into being through the personal initiative of Orthodox individuals and are usually focused on various activities that are seen as being lacking; common activities being internal mission (ie on uplifting piety in one's own country), external evangelism (ie going to other countries to spread Orthodoxy), charitable work or fellowship. The fraternities, no matter how influential, do not have a special place in the Church being as they are private endeavours. If they are part of the Church, they are under the jurisdiction of the local bishop. Some fraternities restrict their membership to celibate members (either monastic or unmarried, where membership ends in the event of marriage) or, sometimes, regard permanent celibacy as a condition of membership.

Historical evidence

Fraternities are not new in the Church and have existed since the first century. There are reports of the fraternity of the Spoudaioi, in which St Anthony took part in; the Parabalaneis, etc. Some fraternities were founded such luminaries as Ss John Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, and Gregory Palamas. In the modern era, there are fraternities with various names in many places having varied objectives.

Known fraternities

Further reading

  • Basil Jioultsis. "Religious Brotherhoods: A Sociological View." Social Compass, XXII, 1975/1, pp.67-83.