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THE EASTERN CHRISTIANITY PORTAL

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00058 christ pantocrator mosaic hagia sophia 656x800
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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1st All-American Sobor
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church in North America. Its primate is Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), who was elected on November 12, 2008, and was formally installed on December 28, 2008. [1] The OCA's headquarters are located in Syosset, New York and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions located primarily in the United States and Canada. Additional parishes and missions are located in Mexico and Australia. Membership estimates for the OCA vary, with recent figures ranging from as low 27,169 to as high as 1,064,000.

The history of the OCA began with the arrival of eight Russian Orthodox monks at Kodiak Island, Alaska, in 1794. Due to the massive disruption brought about by the Bolshevik Revolution, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow directed all Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia to govern themselves autonomously in 1920 if they were not able to contact the central administration or if it were disabled. The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America was granted autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970, and was renamed the Orthodox Church in America. Although the autocephaly of the OCA is not universally recognized by all autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches, it is in full communion with them. It also is a member of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA).

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Ivan the Terrible and Harsey
Credit: Alexander Litovchenko

Tsar Ivan IV of Russia demonstrates his treasures to an ambassador. The Tsar had St. Basil's Cathedral constructed in Moscow to commemorate the seizure of Kazan.

Did you know...

Anna Kashinskaya

  • ...that Abraham of Farshut founded a new Monophysite monastery at Farshut after the monks of his old monastery at Pbow almost all accepted the decision of the Council of Chalcedon?
  • ...that Patriarch Alexander II of Alexandria died trying to escape from the Umayyad government after having been brought before it for refusing to have a lion branded on his hand?
  • ...that Anna of Kashin, a Russian medieval princess, was twice canonized as a holy protectress of women who suffer the loss of relatives?
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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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    Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre BW 1
    Elias Zoghby (January 9, 1912January 16, 2008) was the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Baalbek and a leading advocate of Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox ecumenism. He is best known for his ecumenical interventions during Vatican II and his 1995 Profession of Faith, known as the Zoghby Initiative, which attempted to re-establish communion between the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church while maintaining communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Zoghby's views on topics such as Roman Catholic–Eastern Orthodox "double communion" and dissolution of marriage were controversial.

    Although Zoghby's proposal of double communion has not been accepted by Rome or the Orthodox Church, the initiative focused greater attention on ecumenical discussions and renewed efforts for East–West unity. Zoghby also suggested a solution which considers adultery and abandonment as causes for the dissolution of marriage. Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV declared that, while "Archbishop Zoghby, like all Fathers of the council, enjoys full freedom to say what he thinks ... [Zoghby] speaks only for himself personally. With respect to the heart of the problem, the Church must hold fast to the indissolubility of marriage." Critics labeled him the enfant terrible of his church, while supporters lauded him as an energetic visionary who sought to re-unite the Eastern Churches.

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