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THE EASTERN CHRISTIANITY PORTAL

Showcased Eastern Christian content

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Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. Eastern Christians have a shared tradition, but they became divided (SEE: SCHISM) during the early centuries of Christianity in disputes about christology and fundamental theology. In general terms, one can identify four branches or families of Eastern Christianity, each of which has distinct theology and dogma. They are: the Assyrian Church of the East, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Eastern Catholic Churches - the latter being in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

All of the Eastern branches, as well as the Western churches, share a common Christian tradition and most of the same Christian Biblical canon. The Eastern branches also share traditional practices in common which are not shared by the Western churches. The Eastern churches' differences from Western Christianity have as much, if not more, to do with culture, language, and politics as theology. The Assyrian Church of the East became estranged from the church of the Roman Empire in the years following the Council of Ephesus (431), Oriental Orthodoxy separated after the Council of Chalcedon (451), and the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church is usually dated to 1054. This event is referred to as the Great Schism.

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Nicaea icon
The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council of the early Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent 'general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops' (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy— the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom. The Council of Nicaea was historically significant because it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. "It was the first occasion for the development of technical Christology." Further, "Constantine in convoking and presiding over the council signaled a measure of imperial control over the church." Further, a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to create creeds and canons. The long-term effects of the Council of Nicaea were significant. For the first time, representatives of many of the bishops of the Church convened to agree on a doctrinal statement. Also for the first time, the Emperor played a role, by calling together the bishops under his authority, and using the power of the state to give the Council's orders effect.

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Stpeteskyline
Credit: Photochrom print (color photo lithograph) Library of Congress

St Isaac's Square in St. Petersburg, behind the palace, the capital of the Russian Empire is seen all they way to the Trinity Cathedral.

Did you know...

Saint mammes and Duke Alexander

  • ... that Mammes of Caesarea is said to have been breast-fed by his father?
  • ...that it is unclear whether Church of St Abamūn in 13th century Busiris was dedicated to Abamun of Tarnut or Abāmūn of Tukh?
  • ...that legend has it that Benjamin I of Alexandria was escorted to heaven by Athanasius of Alexandria, Severus of Antioch, and Theodosius I?
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    This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Portal:Eastern Christianity. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
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    Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 1000 002
    Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), commonly known in English as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or (among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and other Christians) Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306, and the undisputed holder of that office from 324 until his death in 337. Best known for being the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued (with his co-emperor Licinius) the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire.

    The Byzantine liturgical calendar, observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and some Churches in union with Rome, lists both Constantine and his mother Helena as saints. In the West, he is revered under the title "The Great" for his contributions to Christianity. Constantine also transformed the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium into a new imperial residence, Constantinople, which would remain the capital of the Byzantine Empire for over a thousand years.

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