THE EASTERN CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Showcased Eastern Christian content
refers collectively to the
traditions and churches which developed in the
over several centuries of religious antiquity. Eastern Christians have a shared tradition, but they became divided
during the early centuries of Christianity in disputes about
and fundamental theology. In general terms, one can identify four branches or families of Eastern Christianity, each of which has distinct
. They are: the
Assyrian Church of the East
Eastern Orthodox Churches
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.
is a group of
. It has been the language of administration of empires and the language of divine worship. It is the original language of large sections of the
, and is the main language of the
. Aramaic was the
Aramaic of Jesus
is spoken today as a first language by numerous, scattered communities, most significantly by
. The language is considered to be
missionaries brought the language into
. From the
seventh century AD
onwards, Aramaic was replaced as the
. However, Aramaic remains a literary and liturgical language among Jews,
and some Christians, and is still spoken by small isolated communities throughout its original area of influence. The turbulence of the last two centuries has seen speakers of first-language and literary Aramaic dispersed throughout the world.
) was the
Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop
and a leading advocate of Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox
. He is best known for his ecumenical interventions during
and his 1995 Profession of Faith, known as the Zoghby Initiative, which attempted to re-establish communion between the
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
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
of his church, while supporters lauded him as an energetic visionary who sought to re-unite the Eastern Churches.
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