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List of Orthodox Churches: Map

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Orthodox Churches (those that use the word "Orthodox" in the name) belong mainly to two groups, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. Apart from these two groups, some other quite unconnected Churches in the West also call themselves Orthodox. An example is the Celtic Orthodox Church.

Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox

The division between these two families of Churches occurred in 451 over the definition by the Council of Chalcedon that Jesus exists "in two natures", one human and one divine, and that "both natures concur in one person and in one reality [hypostasis]. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word, God, the Lord Jesus Christ." The Council thus declared that Christ is one person in two natures "of one substance with the Father according to his divinity, of one substance with us according to his humanity ... in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation."

The Churches that accept the Council's definition are known as Chalcedonian Churches, and those that reject it as non-Chalcedonian or pre-Chalcedonian. The Chalcedonian Churches in the East are known collectively as the Eastern Orthodox Church. (The Roman Catholic Church in the West is also a Chalcedonian Church, since it accepts that Council's definition, which was largely based on a document of Pope Leo I.) Those that reject the Council form what is known as Oriental Orthodoxy.

Dialogues aimed at achieving full communion between the Eastern and the Oriental Orthodox are in progress, with the hope of overcoming the schism that still divides them. These dialogues have led to a large measure of agreement, but not yet to full normal communion.

Apart from the use by the few parishes of Western Rite Orthodoxy of adapted or specially composed liturgies based on Latin liturgical rites, all the Churches that form the Eastern Orthodox Church use the Byzantine Rite liturgy, celebrating it in different languages. The Oriental Orthodox Churches, on the contrary, use a great variety of liturgies.

Some Churches of the Eastern Orthodox tradition are not in communion with the general body, usually because of disputes about the use of the Julian calendar, but in some cases because of political problems. There is one such case also in Oriental Orthodoxy, namely that of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, in India.

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Eastern Orthodoxy





Oriental Orthodoxy





Others

Some small churches in the West use the word "Orthodox" in their titles but are quite distinct from these two families of churches. Examples are the Celtic Orthodox Church, the Western Orthodox Church in America, and those mentioned in this account.

References

See also



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