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The term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keep the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus — and rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches. Thus, despite potentially confusing nomenclature, Oriental Orthodox churches are distinct from the churches that collectively refer to themselves as Eastern Orthodoxy.

The Oriental Orthodox churches came to a parting of the ways with the remainder of Christianity in the 5th century. The separation resulted in part from the Oriental Orthodox churches' refusal to accept the Christological dogmas promulgated by the Council of Chalcedon, which held that Jesus has two natures — one divine and one human, although these were inseparable and only act as one hypostasis. To the hierarchs who would lead the Oriental Orthodox, this was tantamount to accepting Nestorianism. In response, they advocated a formula that stressed unity of the Incarnation over all other considerations. The Oriental Orthodox churches are therefore often called Monophysite churches, although they reject this label, which is associated with Eutychian Monophysitism, preferring the term "non-Chalcedonian" or "Miaphysite" churches. Oriental Orthodox Churches reject the Monophysite teachings of Eutyches and the Dyophysite teachings of Nestorius.

In the 20th century, the Chalcedonian schism was not seen with the same relevance any more, and from several meetings between the Roman Catholic Pope and Patriarchs of the Oriental Orthodoxy, reconciling declarations emerged.

The confusions and schisms that occurred between their Churches in the later centuries, they realize today, in no way affect or touch the substance of their faith, since these arose only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter. Accordingly, we find today no real basis for the sad divisions and schisms that subsequently arose between us concerning the doctrine of Incarnation. In words and life we confess the true doctrine concerning Christ our Lord, notwithstanding the differences in interpretation of such a doctrine which arose at the time of the Council of Chalcedon.

From the common declaration of Pope John Paul II and HH Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, June 23 1984

Oriental Orthodox Communion[]

The Oriental Orthodox Communion is a group of churches within Oriental Orthodoxy which are in full communion with each other. The communion includes:

  • The Oriental Orthodox Communion
    • The Armenian Apostolic Church
    • The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
      • The British Orthodox Church
    • The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Tewahedo Church)
    • The Eritrean Orthodox Church (Tewahedo Church)
    • The Malankara Orthodox Church of the East (also known as the Indian Orthodox Church)
    • The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (also known as the Syrian Orthodox Church)
      • The Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church

Assyrian Church of the East[]

The Assyrian Church of the East is sometimes, although incorrectly, considered an Oriental Orthodox Church. Being largely centered in what was then the Persian Empire, it separated itself administratively from the Great Church of the Roman Empire around AD 400, and then broke communion with the latter in reaction to the Council of Ephesus held in 431. Additionally, the Assyrian Church venerates Saints anathematized by the previously mentioned Church and its descendants. In addition, the Assyrian Church accepts a Nestorian or Nestorian-like Christology that is categorically rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Communion.

External links[]

This article was forked from Wikipedia on March 26, 2006.

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