THE EASTERN CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Showcased Eastern Christian content
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
. 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.
is a group of Semitic languages
with a 3,000-year history
. 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 biblical
books of Daniel
, and is the main language of the Talmud
. Aramaic was the native language
(see Aramaic of Jesus
). Modern Aramaic
is spoken today as a first language by numerous, scattered communities, most significantly by Assyrians
, and Chaldeans
. The language is considered to be endangered
missionaries brought the language into Persia
and even China
. From the seventh century AD
onwards, Aramaic was replaced as the lingua franca
of the Middle East
. However, Aramaic remains a literary and liturgical language among Jews, Mandaeans
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.
– January 16
) was the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop
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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