The term Oriental Orthodox refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keep the faith of only the first three Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox Church—the councils of Nicea I, Constantinople I and Ephesus. The Oriental Orthodox churches rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon.
Thus, despite potentially confusing nomenclature, Oriental Orthodox churches are distinct from the churches that collectively are referred to as Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Oriental Orthodox churches came to a parting of the ways with the remainder of Christianity in the 5th century. The separation resulted in part from the Oriental Orthodox churches' refusal to accept the Christological dogmas promulgated by the Council of Chalcedon, which held that Jesus Christ has two natures — one divine and one human, although these were inseparable and only act as one hypostasis. To the hierarchs who would lead the Oriental Orthodox, this was tantamount to accepting Nestorianism. In response, they advocated a formula that stressed unity of the Incarnation over all other considerations. The Oriental Orthodox churches are therefore often called "Monophysite" churches, although they reject this label, which is associated with Eutychian Monophysitism, preferring the term non-Chalcedonian or Miaphysite churches. Oriental Orthodox Christians anathematize the Monophysite teachings of Eutyches. They are sometimes also known as anti-Chalcedonians.
In the 20th century, a number of dialogues have occurred between the Oriental Orthodox and the Chalcedonian Orthodox which suggest that both communions now share a common Christology with differing terminology. As yet, full communion has not been restored. There have also been some agreed Christological statements issued in conjuction with the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) family (Ecumenical Patriarchate and official representatives of other Eastern Orthodox Churches) .
Oriental Orthodox Communion
- The Church of Armenia (Armenian Apostolic Church)
- The Church of Antioch (Syriac) (Syriac Orthodox)
- Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, a branch and an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church with the Oriental Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme head
- The Church of Alexandria (Coptic)
- The British Orthodox Church, canonically part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria since 1994
- The Church of Ethiopia (Tewahedo Church)
- The Church of Eritrea (Tewahedo Church)
- The Church of India (Malankara, Indian Orthodox, Orthodox Syrian Church of the East)
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian Church) is sometimes considered an Oriental Orthodox Church, although it is not in communion with Oriental Orthodox churches and they have a Nestorian or Nestorian-like Christology that differs from the declaration of the Council of Chalcedon in an opposite way from the Monophysites. By the time of the Monophysite controversy, the Assyrians had already separated from the Orthodox Church with the Council of Ephesus.
- The Armenian Apostolic Church
- Common declaration of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
- The Coptic Church in the Diaspora
- The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
- Saint Takla Haymanot Coptic Orthodox Church (Alexandria, Egypt)
- Shroro - Orthodox Christian Digest
- Website on the unity between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches
- Oriental Orthodox Churches
- Shroro - The Syriac Orthodox Christian Digest
- Why I Am Oriental Orthodox Instead of Byzantine Orthodox
- The Nature of Christ (PDF) by Pope Shenouda III (Gayyid) of Alexandria
- Eastern-Oriental Orthodox Unity - Official Satements
- A case against reunion is made by this article: Opposition to Union with the Oriental Churches and the Unresolved Theological Differences Between the Two