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Christ feeding the multitude, a Coptic icon

Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Christian churches which as a rule recognize only the first three ecumenical councils – the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople, and the First Council of Ephesus. The Assyrian church (The Church of the East) recognizes the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople as legitimate ecumenical councils, other councils being the respected councils of its sister Latin church and Eastern Orthodox churches in the West. There are approximately 84 million adherents worldwide.

They rejected the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon held in AD 451 in Chalcedon. Hence, these Oriental Orthodox churches are also called Old Oriental churches, and, with the exception of the Assyrian church (which is Nestorian), Miaphysite churches, or the Non-Chalcedonian churches, known to Western Christianity and much of Eastern Orthodoxy as Monophysite churches (although the Oriental Orthodox themselves reject this description as inaccurate, having rejected the teachings of both Nestorius and Eutyches).<ref name="first seven">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> These churches are in full communion with each other but not with the Eastern Orthodox churches. Slow dialogue towards restoring communion began in the mid-20th century.<ref name="sor.cua.edu">Syrian Orthodox Resources – Middle Eastern Oriental Orthodox Common Declaration</ref>

Despite the potentially confusing nomenclature (the word "Oriental" being synonymous with "Eastern"), Oriental Orthodox churches are distinct from those that are collectively referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Oriental Orthodox communion comprises six churches: Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syriac and Armenian Apostolic churches.<ref>Oriental Orthodox Churches</ref> These churches are in communion with one another and are hierarchically independent. Some recognize Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (Pope of Africa, the Middle East, and the Diaspora Congregation of the Oriental Orthodox) as "first among equals" of their bishops. Unlike the Roman Pope who, in the context of Catholicism, is Supreme to all other bishops, the Oriental Orthodox Pope is given the title only because he is leader of the Oriental Orthodox Council. He is called father, and the title Pope is a reflection of affection and respect.<ref>. An Introduction to the Oriental Orthodox Churches</ref> It is also significant to note that Pope Dionysius of Rome called Heraclas of Alexandria "pope" in a letter written to Philemon.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Armenian Apostolic Church is led by the Catholicos of All Armenians, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches and the rest of the Church split over differences in Christology. The First Council of Nicaea (325) declared that Jesus Christ is God, that is to say, "consubstantial" with the Father; and the First Council of Ephesus (431) that Jesus, though divine as well as human, is only one being, or person (hypostasis). Twenty years after Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus is one person in two complete natures, one human and one divine. Those who opposed Chalcedon likened its doctrine to the Nestorian heresy, condemned at Ephesus, that Christ was two distinct beings, one divine (the Logos) and one human (Jesus).


Oriental Orthodoxy sections
Intro  History  Geographical distribution  Internal disputes  Occasional confusions  See also  References  Bibliography  External links  

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{#invoke:Pp-move-indef|main}}

Christ feeding the multitude, a Coptic icon

Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Christian churches which as a rule recognize only the first three ecumenical councils – the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople, and the First Council of Ephesus. The Assyrian church (The Church of the East) recognizes the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople as legitimate ecumenical councils, other councils being the respected councils of its sister Latin church and Eastern Orthodox churches in the West. There are approximately 84 million adherents worldwide.

They rejected the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon held in AD 451 in Chalcedon. Hence, these Oriental Orthodox churches are also called Old Oriental churches, and, with the exception of the Assyrian church (which is Nestorian), Miaphysite churches, or the Non-Chalcedonian churches, known to Western Christianity and much of Eastern Orthodoxy as Monophysite churches (although the Oriental Orthodox themselves reject this description as inaccurate, having rejected the teachings of both Nestorius and Eutyches).<ref name="first seven">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> These churches are in full communion with each other but not with the Eastern Orthodox churches. Slow dialogue towards restoring communion began in the mid-20th century.<ref name="sor.cua.edu">Syrian Orthodox Resources – Middle Eastern Oriental Orthodox Common Declaration</ref>

Despite the potentially confusing nomenclature (the word "Oriental" being synonymous with "Eastern"), Oriental Orthodox churches are distinct from those that are collectively referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Oriental Orthodox communion comprises six churches: Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syriac and Armenian Apostolic churches.<ref>Oriental Orthodox Churches</ref> These churches are in communion with one another and are hierarchically independent. Some recognize Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (Pope of Africa, the Middle East, and the Diaspora Congregation of the Oriental Orthodox) as "first among equals" of their bishops. Unlike the Roman Pope who, in the context of Catholicism, is Supreme to all other bishops, the Oriental Orthodox Pope is given the title only because he is leader of the Oriental Orthodox Council. He is called father, and the title Pope is a reflection of affection and respect.<ref>. An Introduction to the Oriental Orthodox Churches</ref> It is also significant to note that Pope Dionysius of Rome called Heraclas of Alexandria "pope" in a letter written to Philemon.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Armenian Apostolic Church is led by the Catholicos of All Armenians, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches and the rest of the Church split over differences in Christology. The First Council of Nicaea (325) declared that Jesus Christ is God, that is to say, "consubstantial" with the Father; and the First Council of Ephesus (431) that Jesus, though divine as well as human, is only one being, or person (hypostasis). Twenty years after Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus is one person in two complete natures, one human and one divine. Those who opposed Chalcedon likened its doctrine to the Nestorian heresy, condemned at Ephesus, that Christ was two distinct beings, one divine (the Logos) and one human (Jesus).


Oriental Orthodoxy sections
Intro  History  Geographical distribution  Internal disputes  Occasional confusions  See also  References  Bibliography  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: History
<<>>