forms, icons and liturgy enabled the flowering to be swift, apparent and persuasive.
Orthodox often refer to autonomous national churches as local churches to emphasise that they are rooted in a locus or place. The strength of Orthodox spirituality is shown by its ability to locate itself in varying cultures and settings, including traditional Orthodox areas and new mission fields. It also gives new insights and vitality to the spiritual traditions of non-Orthodox churches. The different historical experiences, which have been noted, have prevented the development of a clear unified administrative structure. The Orthodox churches have tended to adapt themselves to the prevailing political order under which they have lived. Under the early Byzantine Empire, the five dioceses in the major administrative urban centres had a recognised priority -Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem - known as the pentarchy. Then under the Ottomans, the patriarch of Constantinople was the head of the Christian millet or nation. As new nations gained independence, so new churches became autonomous, as opposed to autocephalous: that is to say, while the former enjoyed independence in the management of their internal affairs, they continued to recognise the ultimate authority of a mother-church. The latter, in contrast, were bound by no such constraints. However, the tempestuous political changes ofthe twentieth century have left this system of a family of autonomous churches ill equipped to respond to the needs of new Orthodox communities and of new Orthodox countries.
For many Orthodox the most urgent challenge is the organisation of the church in the west.19 Looked at from an eastern perspective, this is the problem ofthe diaspora. Diaspora, a Greek word meaning scattering, describes here the migration from east to west which has been taking place for centuries. So, for example, the first Greek church in London was founded in 1677, in what is still called Greek Street, in Soho. The process has accelerated in the last hundred years as people have fled from communist regimes, from the devastation of world wars, from Cyprus following invasion by Turkish troops in 1974, from an increasingly fundamentalist Islamic Middle East, and then from eastern Europe and Russia with the relaxation of boundary controls since 1990. There are now well over 25 million Orthodox in the west, and in many places it is one of the few religious groups that is growing. Many Orthodox churches have established dioceses in the west to care for their displaced members and as a result there is a confusing plurality of jurisdictions, which not only contradicts the
19 For a good summary, see A. Kyrlezhev, 'Problems of church order in contemporary Orthodoxy', Sourozh 95 (February 2004), 1-21.
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