Manuscripts and religious objects

Many manuscripts that were produced in the monastic and court scriptoria have been destroyed those that remain date largely from the fifteenth century onward. These include service books, Gospels, psalters, Apocalypses and devotional books with texts of the Miracles of the Virgin, written in the classical Ethiopian language of Ge'ez, a Semitic language. While the earliest preserved Ethiopian manuscript, the Abba Garima Gospels of the late twelfth to early thirteenth centuries, is not...

Inter Church Relations and Ecumenism

Between the two World Wars, many Orthodox churchmen of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, of Greece, of the Balkans, and of the Russian emigration took part in the ecumenical movement. Several private associations of churchmen and theologians promoted understanding between Eastern Orthodoxy and the 'Anglo-Catholic' branch of Anglicanism in this period. After World War II, however, the Orthodox Churches of the Communist-dominated countries failed to join the newly created World...

The Holy Physicians

As there are literally many thousands of saints' lives in the various Eastern Orthodox Churches, I have chosen to concentrate on the Anargyroi or the Holy Physicians in this section and to follow it with a second section on the New Martyrs. In Orthodox churches anywhere in the world one is certain to come across icons or wall-paintings depicting the Holy Physicians of Eastern Christian tradition. These saints are immediately distinguished by the medical chests and spatulas they display and by...

Significance of the Anargyroi

The Eastern Orthodox Menaia still in use list over forty major and minor feasts associated with the Anargyroi group and at least four relating to the Theotokos as healer. Orthodox Christians in every country continue to dedicate churches and chapels in honour of the Anargyroi, commission their icons and name children after leading saints in this group. The Anargyroi remain central as a group to Orthodox ideas of sanctity and the teaching related to the Christian life in general. This is of...

Start of the Great Schism Raskol

1654 Patriarch Nikon, empowered by the Synod of Russian Bishops in Moscow, began his revision of the Russian liturgical books and rites. Nikon's liturgical reform resulted from his philhellenism. In fact, this was but the first, unhelpful, step towards a larger reform, which was never accomplished. Nikon's philhel-lenism was not directed towards contemporary Greeks though without actual knowledge of either Greek or Greek theology, Nikon was against his will depending on contemporary Greeks. In...

East as Orientalist

After Edward Said's path-breaking work on the western scholarly constructions of Arab and Islamic culture the concept of Orientalism has been significant in the human sciences. It is well defined as follows Orientalism as a discourse divides the globe unambiguously into Occident and Orient the latter is essentially strange, exotic and mysterious, but also sensual, irrational and potentially dangerous . . . The task of orientalism was to reduce the bewildering complexity of Oriental societies...

The Byzantine Conceptual World View

Byzantine Christianity has a distinctive conceptual framework, which it shares to a great extent with the modern Eastern Orthodox Church. It is based on the concept of tradition (paradosis) and rooted in study of patristics and scripture. The theological definitions given by patristic authors constantly refer, intertextually, to other fathers, even where they are not named or identified clearly. In contrast to modern anxieties about plagiarism and the protection of intellectual property,...

Election of Exarch and Abolition of the Schism

After the death of Exarch Joseph in 20 June 1915, no election for a new primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was held for 30 years. This was due to the indecisiveness of the Bulgarian ruling circles. Besides, there were different opinions about who should be exarch and who should be Metropolitan of Sofia, but according to the canonical rules the two positions could not be separated and many believed that only an exarch elected by the whole Church should occupy the metropolitan chair of the...

Vrej Nerses Nersessian

The fundamental work on Armenian hagiography began with the Mkhit'arist scholar Fr. Mkrtitch Avgerian (1762-1854) (pseud. Aucher), who, between 1810 and 1815, published the 12 volumes of his famous work Liakatar vark' ew vkayabanut'iwn srbots, vork' kan i Hin tonatsutsi ekeghetswoy Hayastaneayts (The Complete Lives of the Saints Found in the Old Calendar of the Armenian Church). Of particular importance is the twelfth volume, entitled Mnatsordk' Varuts srbots artak'oy tonatsutsin meroy,...

The Romanian Orthodox Church since 1989

After the Communist regime was abolished in 1989, profound changes and renewals occurred within the Church as well. The 1992 census established the confessional ratio in Romania 86.6 per ent Orthodox, 5 per cent Roman-Catholic, 3.5 percent Reformed, 1 per cent Greek Catholic, and under 4 per cent other cults. From 1990, some of the abolished bishopric centres were re-established, so that, at present, the Orthodox Church has the following structure the Metropolitan seat of Vallachia and...

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church after the Balkan Wars

The two Balkan Wars precipitated Bulgaria's first national catastrophe. After the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest in July 1913 Bulgaria lost its exarchate in European Turkey. The dioceses of the exarchate in Ohrid, Bitolya, Veles, Debur and Skopje passed to the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Salonika diocese was taken over by the Greek Church. The metropolitans of the five Macedonian dioceses were driven out by the Serbs and Archimandrite Eulogius, who was at the head of...

History

Serbs form most of the population of the former Yugoslav state and are of South Slavic origin. As early as the fifth to seventh century ce, they migrated from their ancient lands in Northern Europe to the Balkan peninsula which, at the time, constituted the northern regions of the Byzantine Empire. Christianity was introduced into the Balkans during the Roman period, but the region had largely reverted to paganism by the time the Slavs arrived. Cleavages among southern Slav tribes developed...

The Archbishopric and the Patriarchate of Preslav

Initially the Bulgarian Church was an autonomous archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Its primate, with the rank of archbishop, was elected by the Bulgarian episcopate and approved by the patriarch. According to an ancient story entitled 'The miracle of the Bulgar', after the founding of the Bulgarian archbishopric, Archbishop Joseph, accompanied by other clerics, teachers and mentors arrived in Bulgaria. The anonymous author praises Knyaz Boris, who 'built...

Theology and Doctrine Scripture and Tradition

Converging trends may also be detected in the fields of theology and doctrine. Here church leaders search for a common Christian, common Orthodox and common Syriac identity. Like the ethnic discussions, the theological dialogues were stimulated by the diaspora situation, where circumstances forced the faithful to cooperate with other churches. As early as 1971, the Syrian Orthodox Church signed a Common Christo-logical Declaration with the Pope, which was reiterated in 1984. The Assyrian Church...

The Conversion to Christianity

The territorial expansion of the Bulgarian Empire during the first half of the ninth century brought it in closer contact with the Christian world not only to the south but also to the north-west. The sagacious statesman Khan Boris (r. 852-89) took stock of the situation and decided to make Christianity the official religion of the realm. He was aware that the spiritual and ethnic cohesion of his people could be cemented only if its two ethnic components (Bulgars and Slavs) professed a common...

Architecture sculpture and painting

In Upper (northern) Egypt the development of early Christian architecture has been seen as predominantly influenced by association with the Mediterranean and Byzantine worlds through the coastal region, while monasticism has been seen as the stimulus for indigenous developments in the towns, cities and monasteries in central and Lower Egypt, although this division cannot be too strictly applied. As elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean, the basilica was the core architectural form, with...

Visual arts

While fragments of mosaic work have been found in churches and excavations in Armenia, one of the best examples is that excavated near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in the late nineteenth century. Although the most central imagery, that of a vine-scroll issuing from an amphora with peacocks on either side, and birds and animals with the scrolls, is common to sixth-century Judaeo-Christian mosaics in Palestine, the inscription marks out the mosaic as Armenian, reading as it does 'To the memory and...

The Decline of Arab Christianity

Just like Muslim Arabs living in the Mediterranean parts of Islamic domains, Arab Christians suffered considerable disruption under crusader rule. European priestly and episcopal hierarchies were established, and monastic and preaching orders began activities within the crusader kingdoms, often dislodging the older orders of priests and bishops and introducing alien forms of spirituality and worship. But devastating as this was, it was marginal when compared with what was going on further east....

From Exarchate to Patriarchate

After the coup of 9 September 1944 the Communists began to persecute followers of the Christian religion and its institutions under various pretexts, but with the sole purpose of banishing religion from the life of society and, if possible, completely destroying it. On the face of it, the election of the exarch, the lifting of the schism and the recognition of the completely autocephalous status of the Church appear to be positive developments however, the subsequent evolution of the...

Wallpainting and other arts

Churches were decorated with wall-paintings, but few have survived from the earliest churches. The earliest wall-paintings discovered are at Abu Oda, from the seventh century they are followed by those at Wadi es-Sebua, Faras and 'Abd el-Oadir as well as the church at Abdallah Nirqi and Naqa el Oqba and elsewhere. The wall-paintings at Faras are the best known of those preserved from medieval Nubia. British excavations had been undertaken at the monastic site, on the west bank of the Nile...

The Project of Historical Christianity

Cavafy (1863-1933), the Greek poet from Alexandria, described the Greek Orthodox approach to church and religious life as follows Its silver vessels and candleholders, When I go there, into a church of the Greeks, With its aroma of incense, Its liturgical chanting and harmony, The majestic presence of the priests, Dazzling in their ornate vestments, The solemn rhythm of their gestures -My thoughts turn to the glories of our race, To the splendour of our Byzantine heritage. Such...

The Significance of the Orthodox New Martyrs

In the Greek Orthodox context the term 'new martyrs' refers to Orthodox Christians martyred in the period after the fall of Constantinople, that is, from 1453 onwards. In most Greek sources this term is applied exclusively to the martyrs of the Ottoman centuries or Tourkokratia and is not generally a title given after the 1920s. Indeed, it is apparent that new martyrs are popularly held to have not only witnessed to their faith in the Ottoman era but also to have been killed by Ottoman Turks,...

The Bulgarian Exarchate after the First World

The First World War ended with a crushing defeat for Bulgaria. Consequently, at the end of September 1918 the Bulgarian Exarchate lost its Macedonian dioceses again. At the Treaty of Neuilly, signed on 2 7 November 1919, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church lost most of its Strumica diocese (Strumica, Radovis, Valandovo), the border districts of the Sofia diocese (Tsaribrod, Bosilegrad) and western Thrace, where the diocese of Maronia, having its episcopal seat in Gumurdjina, had existed since 1913....

Russia

Russia adopted the Byzantine conventions of art and architecture in the late tenth century, at the same time as its conversion to Christianity. The first early flowering of Christian art continued until 123 7-40 and the Mongol invasion of Russia, when the Russian principalities became political dependencies of the Tartar khans of the Golden Horde. The three main centres for Russian art of the pre-Mongolian period were Kiev, Novgorod and in the north-east, Rostov and Vladimir-Suzdal. In the...

Categories of Saints and Martyrs

The commemorated saints of the Coptic Church can be put into several categories. First of all there is the Virgin Mary. She is celebrated on the feast of her birth, the feast of her entrance into the temple, the feast of her rest during the flight into Egypt, the feast of the Assumption of her body, and the consecration of the Church in the city of Philippi. In addition, the whole month of Kiyahk, preceding the feast of the Nativity of Christ on the 28th or 29 th day of the month, is...

The Turnovo Archbishopric and Patriarchate

In 1186, when the Bulgarian state regained its independence, the brothers Assen and Peter rejected the spiritual ascendancy of the Ohrid Archbishopric and the Constantinople Patriarchate and set up a new ecclesiastical centre in the capital of Turnovo, by establishing the autocephalous Archbishopric of Turnovo with Archbishop Basil as its primate. As a result of negotiations between Tsar Kaloyan (r. 1197-1207) and the Roman curia in the autumn of 1204, the right of the Bulgarian ruler to be...

The Life of the Church Liturgy Monasticism Church Buildings Pilgrimage

As in all Orthodox churches, the spiritual and theological life of the Syriac churches is centred on the liturgy. Although the two main liturgical traditions, i.e., that of the Church of the East ('the Persian' or 'East-Syrian' rite) and of the Syrian Orthodox Church (the 'West-Syrian' rite) have different origins and different focuses, they both represent ancient liturgical traditions that in form and content go back to the early days of Christianity. The Eucharistic rite of the Church of the...

The Bulgarian Church after the Liberation

Initially the Principality of Bulgaria was divided into the following dioceses Sofia, Samokov, Kyustendil, Vratsa, Vidin, Lovech, Turnovo, Dorostol and Cherven, and Varna and Preslav. After the union of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia in 1885 another two dioceses were added Plovdiv and Sliven. The diocese of Stara Zagora was created a little later (1896) and after the First Balkan War Nevrokop also joined the other Bulgarian dioceses. According to the Statutes of the Exarchate...

Arab Christianity in the Classical Islamic World

In 750 the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown and was replaced by the 'Abbasid dynasty. With its original power base in Khurasan in the east of Persia, this was different in character from the Umayyads, owing more to Persian influence, though asserting its claim to be more Muslim. Within a few years the caliph al-Mansur (r. 754-75) had built a new capital on the river Tigris at Baghdad and inaugurated a dynasty that lasted, at least in name, until the coming of the Mongols in the thirteenth...

Arabization of the Coptic Church

The Arab conquest of Egypt in 642 did not receive much comment in Christian writings of the time. Compared to accounts of persecution by Chalcedonians both before and after the Persian occupation (616-28), the Arab conquest seems a fairly innocuous event in Christian sources. As non-Muslims, the Christian population was liable to the poll tax, along with taxes on land and other obligations, so the rulers had no incentive to promote large-scale conversion. Many sources indicate that the...

The Early Period

The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the several 'national' churches of Eastern Christianity and officially traces its foundation to the alleged evangelization of western Georgia by the apostle Andrew and his companion Simon 'the Canaanite'. But this is a late tradition. The Andrew legend began to take root in Byzantium only in the ninth century, largely in response to the special apostolic authority claimed by the papacy. Embellished stories about Andrew's travels quickly spread throughout...

Macedonian and Komnenian Dynasties

Byzantine art from the end of iconoclasm in 843 to the fall of Constantinople to the armies of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 is frequently termed Middle Byzantine. The whole period is dominated by two imperial dynasties, the Macedonian dynasty, which dominated the imperial throne between 867 and 1056, and the Komnenian dynasty, between 1081 and 1185. The cross-in-square church which entered metropolitan use in the ninth century became the norm in Byzantine architecture and in the tenth century...

The Modern Revival

The strong revival of Coptic monasteries in the twentieth century is surprising. The leadership of Cyril VI patriarch 1959-71 was crucial, but even before Cyril's term of office, there is evidence that greater numbers of more educated people were joining monasteries perhaps stimulated by the Sunday school movement . Monasteries that had operated continuously e.g., St Macarius increased their membership others e.g., the White Monastery were re-founded. Under Shenouda III 19 71- , the trend has...

Recent Developments and Social Involvement

Ukrainian Catholic Church The Church has taken advantage of the resources provided by Caritas International to establish a network of social services - even in eastern Ukraine. However, only one hospital is entirely operated by the Church. Zenia Kushpeta, a Canadian, has brought the Faith and Light movement of Jean Vanier to Ukraine, and the indigenous Fund of St Volodymyr, concentrated in western Ukraine, provides social services. Ukrainian Catholics are pivotal in efforts such as Children of...

References and further reading

Athanasius 1994 Life of Antony, ed. and trans. G. Bartelink. Sources chr tiennes 100. Paris ditions du Cerf. Atiya, A. ed. 1991 Coptic Encyclopedia, 8 vols. New York Macmillan. Bolman, E. ed. 2001 Monastic Visions. Cairo ARCE. Burmester, O. H. E. 1967 The Egyptian or Coptic Church. Cairo Soci t d'arch ologie copte. Cannuyer, C. 1996 Les Coptes, 2nd edn. Turnhout Brepols. Charles, R. ed. 1916 , Chronicle of John of Nikiu. Oxford Clarendon Press. Doorn-Harder, P. van 1995 Contemporary Coptic...

Dacian Roman Christianity First to Sixth Centuries

In the territory between the Danube and the Black Sea the future Scythia Minor province , the new teaching of Jesus Christ was propagated by St Andrew. This was mentioned by Hippolytus of Rome d. 236 , by Origen of Alexandria d. 254 , by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, and by several later Byzantine writers. Some local place names and folklore traditions attest to the statements of these writers regarding St Andrew's preaching. According to recent findings, St Philip might have...

The Romanian Orthodox Church since 1918 19181944

In 1918, the union of Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania and Banat with Romania led to the creation of the unitary national Romanian state, initially ruled by King Ferdinand I 1914-27 . The entire confessional organization underwent significant changes, as in the former provinces there were people of religious confessions who had not been acknowledged in former Romania the General Cult Law was passed in 1928 . The 1930 census found that 72.6 per cent of the population were Romanian-Orthodox,...

Women in the Coptic Church

The role of women is in some ways a microcosm of the history and current situation of the Coptic Church. Women were present in the Egyptian monastic movement from the earliest period. With the Arabization of Egypt, their activities became more restricted. As in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox traditions, women cannot be ordained, and ordained clergy have taken greater control of church life. Yet women in the modern era have sought to contribute more to the Church, either as laywomen,...

The sacraments

Like the other Oriental Orthodox Churches the Ethiopian Church recognizes seven sacraments baptism, confirmation, communion, confession, matrimony, unction of the sick and holy orders. Baptism or rTamqat normally takes the form of infant baptism, 40 days after birth for boys and 80 days for girls, until which time the mother is considered to be in a state of ritual impurity. Adult baptism may also occur for converts, usually after a period of three years as a catechumen. Baptism takes the form...

The Evening Office of Vespers Greek Hesperinos Slavonic Vechernya

NB The psalms are numbered according to the Septuagint. This important office begins the daily liturgical round and comes in a number of forms. Little Vespers is celebrated with the Ninth Hour in the afternoon before an All-Night Vigil. If there is no vigil, the Ninth Hour immediately precedes festal Vespers. The Vespers that comprises the first part of a Vigil is called Great Vespers, and is more or less the same as any Sunday or festal Vespers. Vespers from Sunday to Friday evenings...

Jeremias Norman

The earliest evidence for Eastern Christianity in China is the famous stele dated 781, which records in Chinese characters and Syriac script the arrival and settlement of so-called 'Nestorian' Church of the East Christians in Xian in 635. The first contacts between Byzantine Christianity and China may have occurred as early as the Northern Wei dynasty 386-534 , when merchants from the Eastern Roman Empire were apparently living in the capital of Luoyang. Byzantine coins dating from the time of...

Monastic life monasteries and hermitages

An impressive number of monasteries were built in Moldavia and Vallachia after the metropolitan sees of these countries were acknowledged. Some of them were built by the rulers voivods , in the ancient Byzantine tradition of church building others were built by landowners boyars or monks. Parish churches in towns and villages were built by the religious communities, or even by rulers, landowners, merchants and guild members. The most renowned monasteries were built by Prince Matei Basarab, in...

The Night to Morning Service of Matins Orthros Utrenya

When Matins is not preceded by any other office, it begins with a short additional service of Psalms 19 and 20, some troparia, and a short litany. This so-called 'Royal Office' may be derived from the preliminary rites of the sung cathedral office Larina 2006 . The main service begins with the blessing 'Glory to the Holy . . .' see above and after introductory verses come the Six Psalms, 3, 37, 62, 87, 102 and 142. During the second set of three psalms the priest says twelve dawn prayers, which...

The Maronite Tradition

The forebears of the Maronite Church seem to have shared liturgical roots with both the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox, but their acceptance of Chalcedon separated them from both. Over the course of time the Maronite rites have been transformed by successive waves of Syrian Orthodox influence, and then, after the crusades, when the Maronites established communion with Rome, Latin influences. Thus, for example, the Roman rite of penance was introduced, and the Roman marriage vow was...

Rites of initiation

The baptismal rite of the Maronites is attributed to Jacob of Sarug, though there is a shorter form named after St Basil. A thorough study of the manuscript tradition was undertaken by Mouhanna, and certainly there were considerable variations in the manuscripts. The present text of the rite was published in 1942. The structure of the rite is very similar to that of the Syrian Orthodox. There is provision for a rite of admission with a prayer over the mother, and a prayer over the candidate....

The Modern Period

The fact that Catholic monks reported K'et'evan's murder reflects the renewed influence of Catholicism in the seventeenth century. This influence was made possible largely through French relations with the Ottomans and Iranians. In 1626 Theatine missionaries first visited western Georgia. One of their number, Cristoforo Castelli, produced many detailed drawings of the region and its leaders, which remain a valuable and unique source of information. From 1661 until their expulsion by the...

Relationship between Church and Secular Authority

From the time of Emperor Nero 54-68 , there was conflict between the allegiance of Christians to the one God and the allegiance demanded of them by the state it was a major reason for systematic persecution of Christians in the first few centuries of the Common Era. Whilst Christians might see their 'abiding city' as heaven, they lived in an increasingly complex world on earth, and the tensions between these two were acted out by those with any power, be it secular or sacred. The mimicking of...

Scriptures and Literature

Ethiopian Christian literature is often said to be essentially a literature of translation. It is true that a good part of this literature, particularly from the earlier centuries of Christianity in Ethiopia, is translated. Thus, aside from the Bible itself, which was translated in the first instance from the Greek over an extended period from the late fifth to the late seventh century, if the traditional completion date of 678 is accepted, other translations were made during the same period....

Immigration and church development

The second significant factor to contribute to the foundation of the Orthodox Church in the United States was the waves of Orthodox immigrants entering the country from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. Arriving from Greece, Asia Minor, Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East, these immigrants established parishes and constructed church buildings. A number of the earliest parishes began as pan-Orthodox communities containing immigrants from various ethnic...

The Standing Conference

The movement towards greater cooperation and unity among the Orthodox jurisdictions found renewed expression in the establishment of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America SCOBA in 1960. Under the leadership of Archbishop Iakovos 1911-2005 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, SCOBA initially brought together the representatives of eleven jurisdictions. Although SCOBA remained a conference and not a formal synod, many came to view SCOBA as a first step towards greater...

Early Christianity in the Balkans

Many historical sources testify that Bulgarian Christianity has its roots in the early Christian communities and churches in the Balkan peninsula, through their influence on the local population and their evangelizing missions among the various groups of settlers. Thus the lands which in 681 became part of the Bulgarian state saw a continuous advance of Christianity between 33 ce and the sixth century. From the fourth to the sixth century the Constantinople Patriarchate stepped up its...

Canon Law for the Third Rome the Reform Programme of the Josephites

Up to the fifteenth century Russia had no canon law except the Byzantine one. This was naturally because the Russian Church was a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was headed by metropolitans mostly Greeks appointed by the patriarch. As to secular law, Russia had two systems existing in different fields the Byzantine law, which was used only for ideological purposes, and the local customary law, which was the actual norm of Russian justice. This system had been broken by the...

Establishing a National Church

Patriarch Gregory V's excommunication of the Greek revolutionaries 1821 was not simply an indication of his conservative and highly autocratic administration it entailed the presumption that the slightest fragmentation in patriarchal jurisdiction would create a domino effect throughout the Balkans and would lead back to the chaos of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In 1766-7 the archbishoprics of Pec and Achris were annexed, with the endorsement of the sultan, to the Patriarchate of...

The Rift in the Church

The date 10 November 1989 marked the beginning of far-reaching democratic changes in Bulgaria. At long last the direct interference of the Bulgarian Communist Party in the affairs of the Church came to an end, but, as if by force of habit, subsequent governments have kept alive the practice of behind-the-scenes meddling. Under the government of the Union of Democratic Forces UDF and Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov a frontal attack designed to tear apart the Church was launched. The executioner of...

The medieval period

The history of the Ethiopian Church in the years following the waning of Aksum's political power in the later sixth century is little known. The rise of Islam, and loss of Ethiopian control of the Red Sea coast, as well as economic factors all led the Christian kingdom to move its focus progressively further south into the Ethiopian highlands. Ethiopia's relations with the nascent power of Islam are supposed by Arab historians to have been excellent. The Ethiopian kingdom was placed in Muslim...

Collapse of the State Church in 1917 and its Consequences

On the eve of the revolution the organization of the Church was controlled mainly by two powers, the secular and the hierarchical. The supreme control belonged to the secular state authorities, that is, the tsar through the Oberprokuror. Because of the personal piety of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II r. 1896-1917 and his family, the state authorities were often influenced by nonconformist individuals who, unlike the members of the Synod, understood the real needs of the Orthodox Church. Thus...

The Reforms of Peter I and the Synodal Period of the State Church 17001917

Interruption of the autocephaly 1700-21 Tsar Peter I 1672-1725 , tsar from 1682, started his church reforms in 1698 and abolished the patriarchate to make the church organization more controllable. At first Stephen Yavorskij had been appointed the locum tenens 1700 the Moscow See was without an incumbent and Peter was looking to maintain this situation. His first solution was to subordinate the Russian Church to the four Eastern Patriarchs. As early as 1701, at the consecration of the first...

Last things heaven and hell

The statements of the Nicene Creed are the core of Coptic eschatology 1 Christ will come to judge the living and the dead 2 we await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. But Coptic theologians have also implied that there is a preliminary judgement for each soul after death, as in Shenoute's De iudicio Shenoute 1996 . This preliminary judgement leads the righteous to paradise to await the resurrection and the last judgement. Until recently, a special church service took...

Notes on Contributors

David Appleyard is Professor of the Languages of the Horn of Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His research interests focus on the Semitic and Cushitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has published extensively and among his recent articles is 'Definite markers in modern Ethiopian Semitic languages', in G. Khan ed. Semitic Studies in Honour of Edward Ullendorf 2005 . Dimitri Brady teaches in the Department of Adult Education for the City of...

History and its Discontents

The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was the most traumatic event in the history of Eastern Christendom and yet it created possibilities for the Church that had never existed before. The political power given to the patriarch by the Ottoman sultan was instrumental in establishing the operational agenda for the Church for centuries to come. The fall had in itself an element of irrevocability Christian Constantinople would eventually be transformed into Muslim Istanbul and the first patriarch set...

The Romanian Orthodox Church in the Modern Period 18211918

The 1821 revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu in Vallachia led to the overthrow of the Phanariot regime in the principalities of Vallachia and Moldavia. The revolution set in motion the modernization of the Romanian political, economic and social structures. In 1859 Vallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexandru Ioan Cuza 1859-66 . The name Romania was officially adopted in 1862. The country became a constitutional monarchy in 1866, under Prince King from 1881 Charles I of...

The Medieval Bagratid Period

With the definite expansion of the K'art'velian Church beyond lands inhabited primarily by K'art'velians in the tenth and eleventh centuries, we can begin to speak properly of the Georgian Church. The growing prestige of the Church attracted the Bagratids' constant attention. Potentially, the Georgian Church was as much a powerful ally as it was a dangerous rival. When the Catholicos Melk'isedek petitioned for tax immunity around the year 1031, King Bagrat IV r. 1027-72 had little choice but to...

The Earliest Traces of Arab Christianity

In his Letter to the Galatians, St Paul mentions that after his conversion experience he 'did not consult immediately with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but went away to Arabia and returned again to Damascus' 1 16-17 . It is attractive, and not entirely implausible, to imagine that he went to friendly fellow believers in the hinterland east of Damascus, or even went there to preach before any of his great missionary journeys. But this brief...

Theology and Spirituality

According to the Armenian Church the Orthodox faith is that Our Lord Jesus is perfect in his godhead and perfect in his manhood. He is God Incarnate. Catholicos Nerses IV Klayetsi 1102-73 , in his Encyclical Letter says The Son is begotten of the nature of the Father, but outside time. His begetting is not in the manner of the birth of man, subject to passion and transitory . . . Rather he is begotten like light from light, fire from fire, for they do not become foreign to each other in...

The Impact of Arab Conquest

The conquest of Egypt began a long period of change for the monastic movement. Both Chalcedonian and anti-Chalcedonian monasteries existed in the early seventh century. After the conquest, the two main groups continued to compete, now using the Muslim authorities to strike at opponents when this was feasible. As the Christians of Egypt were increasingly pressured by Muslim rulers through taxation and land confiscation, leading to conversion in many instances, the monasteries became even more...

Priesthood and Hierarchy

The basis for the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs is the text called The Laws of the Kings, or Fatha Nagast, a translation of the Arabic Nomocanon by the Coptic scholar al-'Assal, and the highest body of the Church is the Holy Synod, or Qaddus Sinodos. The highest office in the Church is that occupied in the past by the bishop or metropolitan appointed by the See of Alexandria. The office nowadays carries the title of Patriarch. The Ge'ez term abuna, sometimes shortened to abun, literally...

Angels Michael versus Satan

The existence of angels and demons, archangels such as Michael and Satan, the prince of the powers of the air Eph. 2 2 , is affirmed in most Christian traditions. But the meagre biblical statements have been substantially developed in the Coptic tradition. Four archangels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Suriel are honoured and Michael receives particular attention as the angel who takes over the duties of the fallen Satan. The Book of the Investiture of St Michael survives in several Coptic...

Ethiopian Cross

Katholikon Daphni Mosaico Crucifixion

The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity provides readers with an opportunity to gain an overview of the different traditions that make up the vast but somewhat neglected field of Eastern Christian Studies. The chapters in this volume offer a wide range of material relating to the histories, theologies, and cultural expressions of Christian communities still largely unknown to those outside them. It offers a chance to compare and contrast the variety of traditions that constitute what...