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Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs of Alexandria meet in Finland

Discussion in 'Orthodox Christian DIR' started by Shiranui117, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    From Archbishop Leo of Finland: Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches form fullness of Orthodoxy - News | Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE

    To me, this is very encouraging. EO and OO are brothers and sisters in Christ who share the same faith, and may we soon be fully united!
     
  2. wgw

    wgw Member

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    What a thrilling interview. I regret not reading about it at the time.
     
  3. wgw

    wgw Member

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    By the way, it's also terribly amusing seeing a photo of two Popes neither of which is named Francis or Benedict. The Patriarch of Alexandria was the first to take the title Papem, whereas the Roman Patriarch did not claim the same until the seventh century.
     
  4. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Advocate of letting go of theism. Buddhist with an emphasis on personal understanding.
    Congratulations.

    If I may, these kinds of news are sort of difficult for outsiders such as me to follow.

    I realize that this is of course a minor consideration - I am not part of the target group of readers, simple as that - but all the same I want to ask for some corrections and confirmation as the need be.

    I take it that despite in most contexts "Eastern" and "Oriental" having the same meaning this is in fact a news article about a good will meeting between two different Orthodox Churches that are no longer as estranged from each other as they used to be, in the persons of their respective Patriarchs of Alexandria, in Egypt. Both branches of Orthodox Christianity have a somewhat less hierarchical organization than Roman Catholicism's, and make reference to the idea of their Popes being the First Among Equals fairly often. At first glance from my admittedly little informed perspective it seems that Eastern Orthodoxy has a somewhat less centralized organization than Oriental Orthodoxy.

    Both are present in many countries worldwide, often symultaneously, but with significant differences in numbers and significant correlation to ethnical groups. Specifically, Oriental Orthodoxy is significant in Egypt (and therefore also in Alexandria), while Eastern Orthodoxy is very significant in Greece.

    Historically, the split between Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxies happened in the fifth century and was strongly tied to Alexandria, lending this meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria that much more significance.

    The current Oriental Patriarch of Alexandria is Pope Tawadros II, seen in both of the article's pictures at the rightmost position from the perspective of us readers, using garb with some red and golden decoration.

    The current Eastern Patriarch of Alexandria is Pope Theodore II, whose headwear is black and who is seen in the left in the first picture and in the middle in the second picture.

    I'm frankly a bit nervous about saying so, but it seems to me that Eastern Orthodoxy is represented in Egypt (and therefore Alexandria) by the Greek Orthodox Church, while Oriental Orthodoxy is represented by the Coptic Christian Church. I hope I am not being innacurate.

    The host, who I understand to hold the titles of both Archbishop and Primate in the Church of Finland, speaks of the Coptic Church (and by extension of Oriental Orthodoxy) with a lot of respect and sympathy, but also in a way that implies a lack of formal association to the same hierarchy, so I also take it that the Church of Finland is part of Eastern Orthodoxy. To the best of my understanding, it has both full communion with the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria of Pope Theodore II and administrative and political autonomy from it.

    How accurate, if at all, does this perception of the situation look? I am sorry for the likely misrepresentations above, but I assure you all that I acted in good faith and made a sincere effort to be both respectful and accurate to the best of my abilities. I promise to attempt to learn from your input.
     
  5. wgw

    wgw Member

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    The Coptic Pope is First Among Equals in the Oriental Orthodox communion. The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch ranks no. 2, followed by the Armenian Catholicos of Holy Etchmiadzin, followed by the Armenian Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, followed by the Patriarch of Erhiopia, followed by the Patriarch of Eritrea, followed by the Syriac Maphrian of India, followed, I would guess, by the Armenian Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, who are subordinate to the Catholicoi, followed by, I would presume, Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury, head of the British Orthodox Church which is part of the Copric Church. However the current Patriarch of Eritrea is regarded as illegitimate as the Eritrean government illegally deposed his predecessor.

    There are two Armenian Catholicoi because for a brief period during the decline of the Byzantine Empire there were two Armenian kingdoms, one in the region of Cilicia, encompassing an area near Antioch, and the other in Armenia proper, which is the Armenian homeland in the Caucaucus Mountains. The senior most is the Catholicos of Holy Etchmiadzin which means "where Christ descended" according to a legend that St. Gregory the Illuminator, the evangelist of Armenia, prayed for a sign to convince the King to become Christian, and Christ descended upon that spot. From that day a cathedral was built there and has remained ever since the holiest place for Armenian Christians, equivalent to St. Anthonys monastery for the Copts, St. Peter's for the Roman Catholics, Mount Athos for the Greek Orthodox, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Catholics and Orthodox as a whole. The other Catholicos, who resides in Lebanon, became very important when Armenian was conquered by the USSR; the Catholicos of Holy Etchmiadzin was forced to pledge loyalty to the Soviets which enraged Armenians and resulted in the murder of an archbishop who was celebrating the Christmas Eve service. It was a dreadful time for the Armenian churches as the two Carholicoi anathematized each other and set up rival archdioceses in the vast Diaspora. After the collapse of the USSR the rift was healed, and Karekin II, who had been Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, became Catholicos of Holy Etchmiadzin on the death of his Soviet-backed predeccesor. Churches across Armenia were restored and reopened. The two Catholicoi remain independent however and still have separate jurisdictions in the diaspora, but there is no longer any enmity between them. In like manner the Armenian Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem are subordinate to the Catholicoi but are autonomous if not autocephalous, as the leaders of the Armenians in Turkey and Israel and Palestine respectively.

    The Syriac Orthodox Church consists of three demographic groups: the persecuted Suryani (Syrians, Arameans or Assyrians) of Syria and Iraq, who together with the Antiochian Eastern Orthodox, the Melkite Catholics, the Armenians, the Assyrian Church of the East,,the Syriac Catholics, the Chaldeans, and other religious minorities such as the Yazidis, have suffered grievously at the hands of ISIL. The second is the Nasranis, or St. Thomas Christians of India, who claim to have been evangelized by St. Thomas himself, before his martyrdom in AD 57. What is certain is from an early date they were evangelized by Syriac Christians who later affiliated with the Nestorians, the Assyrian Church of the East, which was governed by the Catholicos of the East. The third is a group of about a million Guatemalans under a charismatic ex Catholic bishop who recently joined the Syriac Orthodox Church en masse.

    In the case of the Nasranis, the area they lived in was conquered by the Portuguese and they were forced to convert to Catholicism. Some resisted and sent a message to the Catholicos of the East for help. Now before the schism at Ephesus in 431, the Catholicos had been the deputy of the Patriarch of Antioch responsible for the Christians in Persia and Mesopotamia. After he and his bishops embraced Nestorianism, the Syriac Orthodox minority had their own Catholicos of the East, based in Tikrit, who was commonly referred to as the Maphrian to avoid confusion. When the appeal for help reached the Middle East it was received by the Maphrian rather than the Nestorian Catholicos, and the Syriac Orthodox duly responded by sending bishops to help. The first, Mar Ahatulla, was allegedly strangled by the Jesuits, but the second made it through successfully and reformed the majority of the independent Nasranis who refused Union with Rome to use the West Syrian liturgy; previously they had used the distinctive East Syrian liturgy and the Catholics still use a modified form of this.

    There is also the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, which Catholicos Karekin visited the Catholicos of, which separated from the Syriac Orthodox Church in. Schism but still follows its liturgical rites. It is not generally regarded as canonical however and in recent years has participated in schisms among the ethnic Syrian diaspora of the Syriac Orthodox Church. There is one other tiny Syriac church in Kerala, India which follows the West Syrian Rite but is not formally a part of the OO communion, but aims to be friendly with it. Then there is the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Kerala, which resulted from the British India Company effectively embezzling a deposit of gold made in its bank by the Nasranis, by refusing to release it except to a bishop who had Anglican sympathies, and who subsequently used the money to setup a reformed Syriac church on Protestant lines. This church is in full communion with the Church of South India but is no longer an enemy of Oriental Orthodoxy.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the First Among Equals of the Eastern Orthodox, followed by the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, followed by the Moscow Patriarch, the Patriarch of Serbia, and I suppose the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia and the Archbishop of Cyprus. These are the ancient autocephalous (fully indpendent) Orthodox churches that have existed since the first millenium. Of the newer autocephalous churches, I hate to describe a pecking order, but there are the Patriarchates of Romania and Bulgaria, the Church of Poland, the Church of Greece (which only controls that part of Greece that initially became independent from the Ottoman Empire, but not Thessalonica, Crete, Mount Athos, Patmos or many other Greek territories), and the newest being the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovkakia, and the Orthodox Church in America, whose autocephaly is not universally recognized. If the Great Schism had not occurred, the Roman Patriarch would be Primus inter pares.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch has certain juridical powers for resolving disputes between other Patriarchates and as a court of final appeal in ecclesiastical cases. The Church of Finland is not autocephalous but one of a number of autonomous churches under the Ecumenical Patriarch. Others include the Greek, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Palestinian churches in America, the Church of Estonia, the liberal Russian Orthodox in Western Europe who aren't a part of the ultra conservative ROCOR, and so on. There is a bitter spat between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch because of the latter's creation of a church in Estonia,, which Miscow viewed as an infringement on its territory. The Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem are also at odds because of the latter creating an archdiocese in Qatar, which under the canons of Chalcedon is the canonical territory of Antioch. Antioch is now also in a row with the Ecumenical Patriarch after the latter opened Palestinian mission churches in California and Chile; Antioch regards the pastoral care of Arabic speakers in the diaspora as being its domain.

    However in spite of this great anger, there is no rupture in communion. A pan Orthodox council will be held next year in an attempt to resolve them. I do not expect a schism.

    There are schismatic non canonical Orthodox churches. The oldest are some of the Old a Believers in Russia (some Old Believers are canonical however). Then there are the Old Calendarists. ROCOR was not in communion with the canonical Orthodox churches until 2007, when it became an autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarch. Three separate bishops left and setup rival successors to ROCOR which are aligned with the Greek and Bulgarian Old Calendarists. Then, there is the government backed Church of Macedonia; the Macedonian state seized the property of the Serbian church and appointed its own Archbishop. The legitimate Archbishop was imprisoned for two years. Then in Ukraine. There is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, then two schismatic churches, one under the Kiev patriarchate and one other rival. Then there is a schismatic church in Abkhazia, but both the Moscow zpatriarchatepatriarchate and the Patriarch Catholicos of Georgia are opposed to it. There are a few other no canonical groups, including some that are in no sense Orthodox, and run by cranks. But the above isa complete guide to whose who in the two Orthodox Church.

    I should also mention the Nestorians, who have now renounced the worst aspects of Nestorian Christology, and form the Assyrian Church of the East. They are sometimes called zoriental zOrthodox but in fac they're completely indpendent. The Chaldean Catholics were formed from them. There is also a small break away faction called the Ancient Church of the East, but reconciliation looks likely. The Assyrians desire communion with the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, and have particularly warm relations with the Russians, and with the Syriac Orthodox, with whom they share a common language and nationality, but they are despised by the Copts. The Oriental Orthodox have agreed that all ecumenical relations require unanimous consent of the patriarchs, and thus due to Coptic opposition it is unlikely the Assyrians will join the OO unless they accede to the Coptic demand that they formally anathematize Nestorius, which seems unlikely. In their liturgy and customs, the Assyrians are essentially Orthodox.
     
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