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THE EASTERN CHRISTIANITY PORTAL

Showcased Eastern Christian content

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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Stpaulandpetertemplon
A templon (from Greek τέμπλον meaning "temple", plural templa) is a feature of Byzantine architecture that first appeared in Christian churches around the fifth century AD and is still found in some Eastern Christian churches. Initially it was a low barrier probably not much different from the altar rails of many Western churches. It eventually evolved into the modern iconostasis, still found in Orthodox churches today. It separates the laity in the nave from the priests preparing the sacraments at the altar. It is usually composed of carved wood or marble colonnettes supporting an architrave (a beam resting on top of columns). Three doors, a large central one and two smaller flanking ones, lead into the sanctuary. The templon did not originally obscure the view of the altar, but as time passed, icons were hung from the beams, curtains were placed in between the colonnettes, and the templon became more and more opaque. Sometime between the 11th and 14th centuries, icons and proskynetaria began to be placed in the intercolumnar openings on the templon. After the reconquest in 1261, carving on the medieval templon approached sculpture in the round. The first ceiling-high, five-leveled Russian iconostasis was designed for the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow Kremlin by Theophanes the Greek in 1405, and soon copied by his assistant Andrey Rublyov in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Vladimir in 1408.

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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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    Saint Yaropolk
    Yaropolk Izyaslavich (died 1087) was a Knyaz (prince) in eleventh-century Kievan Rus. The son of Grand Prince Izyaslav Yaroslavich by a Polish princess named Gertruda, he is visible in papal sources by the early 1070s but largely absent in contemporary Rus'ian sources until the year of his father's death, 1078. During his father's exile in the 1070s, Yaropolk can be found acting on his father's behalf in an attempt to gain the favor of the German emperors and the court of Pope Gregory VII. Yaropolk followed his father when the latter returned to Kiev in 1077.

    After his father's death in the folloing year, 1078, Yaropolk was appointed Prince of Vladimir-in-Volhynia and Prince of Turov by the new Grand Prince, his uncle Vsevolod. By 1085 however, Yaropolk had fallen into a state of enmity with the Grand Prince and by extension the Grand Prince's son Vladimir Monomakh, forcing him to flee from his principality to his mother's homeland, Poland. He returned in the following year, but was soon murdered. He was remembered in Rus'ian sources as extremely pious and generous to the church, and is recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was said to have left all his wealth to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev. The Primary Chronicle's eulogy is the first indication of saintly regard, and indeed today he is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, with his feast day falling on the reported day of his death, November 22.

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