- Oriental Orthodoxy
By Fr George Vayaliparambil
Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon (451). Hence, these Oriental Orthodox Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches. These churches are generally not in communion with Eastern Orthodox Churches with whom they are in dialogue for a return to unity.
Despite the potentially confusing nomenclature (Oriental meaning eastern), Oriental Orthodox churches are distinct from those that are collectively referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Oriental Orthodox communion comprises six groups: Syriac Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church(?) (India) and Armenian Apostolic churches. These six churches, while being in communion with each other are completely independent hierarchically (?).
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- Dear Father George,
In English language we have two words, Oriental and Eastern - but, I am
told, in French (for example - possibly other languages too) it's all the same word and in French I would be saying "I am Oriental not Oriental" as they have only one word, not two words, Eastern and Oriental. So I have taken the practice for many years now to refer to our family of Churches as Oriental Orthodox and to refer to the other family (Greeks, Russians, Romanians, etc) as Byzantine Orthodox. I find this works in England. I offer it as a suggestion in case it helps - if it helps please use it but if not then please ignore it.
- Dear All
Oriental Orthodox Churches are the oldest churches like Syriac Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Churches, and departed churches from the mother church(SOC and Coptic) for theological as well as geographical differences in the early part of the Christianity who are; Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church(?), Armenian Apostolic churches who follow old traditions and customs(non-Chalcedonian). That means they are total 6 (Sometimes Maronites of Lebanon are also included). Where as Eastern Orthodox Churches are the churches who split from the Catholic Church in 1040 AD as a result of political differences. IN fact Eastern Orthodox Churches are basically national churches in the Eastern part of Europe like Bulgaria, Ukrain, Serbia, Mazidonia, Rumania, Russia and Greek Orthodox Church etc.. For them Catholic Church is a Western Church.
J M. Paul
- Dear J M Paul,
I have never seen the Maronite Church of Lebanon counted as an Oriental Orthodox church. The Maronite Church is a uniate or what is referred to as Eastern Rite, Roman Catholic Church just like the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites that we have in Kerala.
Mathew G M
- Oriental Orthodoxy