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Orthodox Christianity is a generalized reference to the Eastern traditions of Christianity, as opposed to the Western traditions which descend through, or alongside of, the Roman Catholic Church.

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Eastern Orthodoxy is a Christian body whose adherents are largely based in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with a growing presence in the western world. Eastern Orthodox Christians subscribe to the first seven ecumenical councils. It claims to be the original Christian church founded by Christ and the Apostles, and traces its lineage back to the early church through the process of Apostolic Succession. Eastern Orthodox distinctives include the Divine Liturgy, Mysteries or Sacraments, organization into self-governing jurisdictions, and an emphasis on the preservation of Tradition, which it holds to be Apostolic in nature. It is estimated that there are 250 million Orthodox Christians in the world although this number is probably high.

Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keep the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils of the undivided Church—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.

Nestorian churches refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keep the faith of only the first two ecumenical councils of the undivided Church - the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople. These churches are also called the Church of the East or the Assyrian Church of the East. The Nestorian churches are sometimes classified under "Oriental Orthodox" churches as well.

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This article was forked from Wikipedia on March 25, 2006.

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