OrthodoxWiki:Style Manual (Churches)
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Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches
Refer to autocephalous and autonomous churches by this form when creating new articles and links: Church of Place. Referring with the adjectival form of the place (e.g., Smogarian Orthodox Church) is not only essentially incorrect but furthers the ethnic stereotyping of the Church. Thus, instead of Smogarian Orthodox Church, you would use Church of Smogaria.
The only current exception to this rule is the Orthodox Church in America, whose autocephaly is still in debate. To call it the Church of America would be to lend it a status not currently agreed upon (nor really even claimed by the OCA itself).
Non-Chalcedonian, Roman Catholic, and other Churches
Many Non-Chalcedonian and Roman Catholic churches have parallel sees to those among Chalcedonian Orthodox, so distinction needs to be made. Refer to these parallel sees with this convention: Church of Place (Common Identifier). So, the Coptic church centered in Egypt would be Church of Alexandria (Coptic), or the Syrian Catholic Church would be the Church of Antioch (Catholic).
For non-Latin Rite churches within the Roman Catholic Church, using Roman in the name could be misleading for two reasons:
- Such churches typically do not refer to themselves as Roman, often stressing that fact very strenuously.
- Such a designation may also mislead readers into thinking that such churches are Latin Rite, which they usually are not.
The fact that these churches are subject to the Vatican would be noted in the relevant articles.
In other places, there are no parallel sees, so one would simply use the Church of Place convention, e.g., the Church of Armenia.
Such churches will generally be referred to by whatever official name they call themselves, e.g., the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (a.k.a. the "Suzdalites") rather than as the Church of Russia. If they claim a title identical with that of one of the mainstream Chalcedonian churches, an appropriate modifier would be included in parentheses, e.g., Church of Alexandria (Smogarian).
Dioceses, Archdioceses, Metropolises, etc.
Articles on component parts of autocephalous and autonomous churches should be named by their official self-naming convention. Examples: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
The exception is for parallel dioceses between overlapping jurisdictions: they are named according to their "short" name along with the appropriate modifier in parentheses. Examples: Diocese of the South (OCA), Diocese of Los Angeles and the West (Antiochian).
When writing articles on great churches that no longer exist, exist only as minor or titular sees, or whose modern successors appear to be in permanent heresy or schism, use the Church of Place convention and be sure to include the article in Category:Church History. Examples include the Church of Carthage, the Church of Rome (as distinct from the modern day Roman Catholic Church), and the Church of Persia (as distinct from the Assyrian Church of the East, i.e., the Nestorians).
There is some potential ambiguity here, especially regarding the Oriental Orthodox, but let's keep them as an exception, mainly due to their closeness with the Chalcedonian Orthodox and the ongoing talks regarding reunification.
Orthodox bodies should be referred to as jurisdictions or churches rather than denominations insofar as they may have diverse administrative structures but share a common faith. The Orthodox Church itself should not be referrred to as a denomination (as if one among many equally legitimate Christian bodies), but as "the Church."
In general, the term denomination should be avoided when possible. In common usage, the term implies an ecclesiological relativism that is incompatible with Orthodox faith. Other Christian organizations can be referenced by their proper name or with general references such as groups, organizations, communions, etc.