Marriage rites

One of the significant things regarding the marriage rite of the Coptic Church is that, like the Maronite rite, it once contained an anointing of bride and groom, though this has fallen into disuse in the modern rite. For the rite of betrothal, the bride and family go to the church, and the bride is escorted to a special place on the women's side of the church. The groom arrives and is seated in the men's division of the church. A fairly lengthy Liturgy of the Word prefaces the betrothal rite,...

Biblical saints

The first and foremost category of 'shared saints' goes back to the biblical writings and related literature. Not only the canonical texts but also apocryphal works, such as the Acts of St Thomas, contributed highly to the development of hagiography in general and to Syriac hagiography in particular. Biblical and quasi-biblical figures have been direct models for Syrian Christians of all times, acting as prototypes for hagiographers in their interpretation of holy men or women, combining the...

The Nubian Church

Geographically Nubia is defined as the area between the First Cataract of the Nile at Aswan to beyond the Third Cataract. This comprised the three medieval kingdoms of Nobadia in the north, Makouria and Alwa to the south. Nobadia was taken over by Makouria, the latter's capital being Old Dongola, between the mid-seventh and the early eighth centuries. The extensive archaeological work at Old Dongola suggests its cultural hegemony, but as more work is done to the south this assumption may...

Cult of Saints

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church In addition to almost twenty saints of the Kievan Rus' period (shared with the Orthodox) Ukrainian Catholics venerate St Josaphat Kunt-sevych, Archbishop of Polotsk (12 November), martyred in 1621 by opponents of the Union, and canonized in 1867. His status remains a bone of contention between Catholics and Orthodox. In 2001, John Paul II finally beatified 27 victims of Soviet and Nazi oppression as well as the first superior of the Sisters Servants of Mary...

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

The first parish in the West was founded in Pennsylvania in 1884. The married clergy who followed their flocks to the New World were sometimes suspended by Roman Catholic bishops (triggering movements to Orthodoxy). The first bishop for the USA was assigned in 1907, and upon his death in 1916, the Vatican divided Slav Greek Catholics by creating distinct structures for those from Austrian-controlled Galicia on the one hand, and the Hungarian part of Transcarpathia (the jurisdiction now known as...

The External Exarchate

In 1878, after the liberation of the main Bulgarian lands from Ottoman occupation, the pastoral jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Exarchate covered three distinct political entities the Principality of Bulgaria under the suzerainty of the Sultan, Eastern Rumelia (an autonomous region under direct Ottoman military and political rule until 1885), and Macedonia and the Adrianople region of Thrace that remained within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Exarch Joseph believed that the episcopal seat of...

Patriarch and clergy

The Coptic Church has a long history of concentrating power in the hands of the patriarch of Alexandria. No other bishop or city in Egypt challenged the influence of Alexandria in the early centuries. His see has been located variously in Alexandria, Cairo and Wadi Natrun. The patriarch is elected by the Holy Synod (bishops, heads of monasteries, patriarchal council of clergy), representatives of priests and deacons, and lay people. In 1971, 622 voters chose three final candidates whose names...

The Ethiopian Church

L'Arche thiopienne art chr tien d'Ethiopie (2000) Catalogue of the exhibition, Pavilion des Arts, Paris, 2 7 September 2000 to 7 January 2001 and the Fundacio Caixo de Girona, Girona, 23 January to 31 March 2001 (Commissariat B. Riottot El-Habib, J. Mercier). Paris Paris Mus es Girona Fundacio Caixa de Girona. Chojnacki, S. (1983) Major Themes in Ethiopian Painting Indigenous Developments, the Influence of Foreign Models and their Adaptation from the 13th to the 19th Century. Wiesbaden F....

Struggles and Victories of the Church and the Nation

With the growth of national aspirations during the National Revival in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries the need to cast off the spiritual suzerainty of Constantinople emerged as one of the principal goals of the Bulgarian national revolution. The Bulgarian clergy were helping to preserve the national consciousness, the way of life and the morale of the Bulgarian people, lending them moral support and encouraging them to fight the oppressors. The drive for church independence began...

Two Strategies for the Muscovite Church the Josephites and the Non Possessors

The last three decades of the fifteenth century were a formative period for two alternative strategies in the development of the Muscovite Church. After a period of smouldering they flared up after the Moscow Council of 1503. They were backed by two monastic movements headed by Joseph of Volokolamsk (1440-1515) and Nil of Sora (14331508). Naming the followers of the latter 'Nestyazhateli' ('non-possessors', or 'those who have no possessions') is an over-simplification, because the Josephites,...

The Patriarchate of Moscow Establishment Fall and Reconstruction 15891633

Establishment of the Patriarchate of Moscow the Third Rome without autonomy The period from 1585 to 1605 was a time of revival for the Muscovite Church, after its illegal autocephaly had been abolished through the act of establishing the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1589. Officially, as was said in the Charter of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias II (1572-95), given that same year in Moscow, the patriarchate was established in response to an address by the tsar to the Patriarch of...

Introduction

Byzantine Christianity is articulated primarily by the practical expression of its theological and spiritual life but may also be delineated by certain geographical and chronological boundaries. Christianity was the dominant, but not the sole, religion practised in the Byzantine Empire, the precise boundaries of which fluctuated according to imperial fortunes. The empire spread originally around the entire Mediterranean Sea, with the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor economically dominant. In 560...

Eucharistic rites

In the accounts of the Eucharist in the Acts of Thomas it appears that wine was not always used sometimes there is reference to bread only. However, when examples of prayer over the elements is given, several take the form of an invocation of the Spirit to come upon the element(s), rather like the invocation on the oil in the baptismal accounts. On the other hand, in Apostolic Constitutions VIII, the Eucharist is outlined as having readings from the Law, Prophets, Letters and Gospels a sermon...

Rites of initiation

The rite of baptism begins with prayers over the catechumens, and a prayer for oil of the catechumens, which is exorcistic in theme. Exorcisms follow, together with anointing with the oil of exorcism. The rite then replicates much of the eucharistic rite, with four lections, psalmody, intercessions, sursum corda, blessing of water (modelled on the eucharistic prayer) into which chrism (myron) is poured. The blessing of the water asks God to Show forth yourself and look upon this your creature,...

The Late 1970s and After

Upon his enthronement as catholicos-patriarch of all-Georgia in late 19 77, Ilia II embarked on a programme to rejuvenate the Georgian Church. Vacant ecclesiastical positions were filled, church buildings were refurbished, and some new ones constructed. Serving as a president of the WCC from 19 79 to 1983, he drew global attention once again to Georgian Christianity and strengthened his Church's commitment to the ecumenical movement. Ilia also engaged the national movement, especially in the...

The New Martyrs

Antonopoulos, N. (1999) Archiepiskopos Loukas (Archbishop Luke of Simferopol). Athens Akritas. Cavarnos, C. (1992) The Significance of the New Martyrs. Etna, Calif. Centre for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies. Stefan Decani (2005) Monk Hariton, the New Martyr of Kosovo. The Orthodox Word 241 (Platina, Calif.). Dionysiou, G. (1989) Martyres tes Katoches (Martyrs of the Second World War). Athens Tinos. Hackel, S. (1981) Pearl of Great Price The Life of Mother Maria Skobtsova. Crestwood, NY St...

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Without doubt, the most difficult and challenging period in the history of the Ethiopian Church was the sixteenth century. The Christian kingdom itself was nearly destroyed by the Muslim invasion led by Ah. mad ibn-Ibrahim al-Ghazi, known in Ethiopian tradition as Gran, 'the left-handed', whose predominantly Somali and Afar armies with some Yemeni and Ottoman help swept through the Ethiopian highlands from the south-east between 1525 and 1543. Gran's troops destroyed and looted churches,...

Martyrdom as a continuing challenge

Another important point in this and other stories collected in John of Ephesus' Lives of the Eastern Saints is full commitment to the truth. From the perspective of John, who wrote during the Christological controversies of the sixth century, this meant resistance to the Chalcedonian Creed, which the imperial authorities in Byzantium tried to impose upon all Christians. Owing to political and geographical circumstances, becoming a confessor or martyr was a true challenge for the Syrian...

Funeral rites

The burial rite consists of a service of psalmody, readings and prayers in church or in the house the funeral procession to the place of burial a short office committal sealing of the grave and return to the house of the deceased. For lay burial the rite begins with three psalms (Gobola), a prayer concerned with creation of humanity and asking that this person be ranked with the saints of the kingdom, and the Lord's Prayer with paraphrase. This is followed by a psalm, Epistle and Gospel...

Monasticism and Spirituality

The Orthodox Church is well known for its long-standing tradition of monasticism. The uninterrupted monastic tradition of Orthodox Christianity can be traced to the Egyptian desert communities of the fourth and fifth centuries. In medieval Serbian society monasteries and monks played an especially significant and unique role. The monasteries of Studenica, Zica, Pec, Mileseva, Sopocani, Decani, Ravanica, and many others, all founded by royal patrons, outlived the state and centuries of...

The twelve and the twenty Anargyroi

From the early Byzantine period Panteleimon was also given the title Anargyros owing to the obvious parallels between his Life and the Kosmas and Damianos group. He was credited with healing and reviving a number of people, many of whom accompanied him to martyrdom. Kyros and John were also promoted as equal in stature to Kosmas and Damianos. It is evident from the stories of their posthumous miracles that this was done specifically to counter and eclipse the cult of the goddess Isis. From the...

Homeland and Diaspora Politics

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church As a 'Church of the people', usually devoid of state sponsorship, the UGCC became very much identified with the Ukrainian national cause, especially as centuries of devastation (and a veritable 'brain drain' to the north and west) left the clergy as the only social elite. While on the one hand this enabled the Church to stand with the people in their daily struggles, it also engendered a deleterious ethno-centrism, from which the Church is emerging only now,...

The nineteenth century

From the second quarter of the eighteenth century onwards, the political structure of the Ethiopian kingdom fractured, and actual government rested in the hands of an array of local warlords and petty kings. It was not until one of these, Kasa of Qwara, took the throne as Tewodros II in 1855 that political unity was restored. The succession of bishops sent from the See of Alexandria had always been precarious, but after a period of thirteen years without an abuna, or bishop, in 1841 the...

Doctrine

The label 'Monophysite' is rejected by the Ethiopian Church as an inaccurate reflection of the unionist Christology that they follow (hence the title of the official doctrine as Tawahado, literally 'union'), which is supported by the teaching of Cyril of Alexandria. Historically, because of its linkage with the See of Alexandria, and also the strong Syrian influence in the early Ethiopian Church, Ethiopia joined the Copts, Jacobite Syrians and the Armenians in rejecting the Council of Chalcedon...

Patriarch Maxim

Patriarch Cyril died on 7 March 1971 and in accordance with his dying wish was buried at the Monastery of Bachkovo. The Metropolitan of Lovech, Maxim, was elected vicegerent chairman of the Holy Synod. On 25 June 1971 the full Synod elected three candidates for the patriarchal throne the Metropolitans Maxim of Lovech, Paisiy of Vratsa and Sofroniy of Dorostol and Cherven. On 4 July 1971 a council for the election of a patriarch composed of 101 electors was convened in Sofia and the Metropolitan...

Further reading The Anargyroi

Antonopoulos, N. (1999) Loukas Simpheroupoleos (Luke of Simferopol). Athens Akritas. Asmatike Akolouthia (1988) Ton en Kypro Agion, Moni Stavrovouniou (Offices to the Saints of Cyprus, Monastery of Stavrovouni). Nicosia Leucosia. Baring-Gould, S. (1882) The Lives of the Saints. London J. Hodges. Butler, A. (193 7) The Lives of the Saints. London Burns, Oates and Washbourne. Constantelos, D. (1984) Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare. Athens Phos. Cowie, L. W. and Selwyn Gummer, J. (1974)...

The Coptic Church

Architectural and iconographic traditions in the Coptic Church developed as a result of several stimuli, internal and external, past and contemporary. The pharaonic past remained a potent force in the Coptic psyche. The Coptic language itself, retained as a liturgical if not a spoken language, was a continuation of the pharaonic language. In the fourth century, churches were built into pharaonic temples, such as Luxor and Deir el Bahari. Throughout the medieval period links were retained with...

Marginal Anargyroi

On the other hand, many saints who were never reputed to be doctors, nurses or folk healers by profession have been given the title Anargyroi because they have been associated with faith healing or miraculous cures. Indeed, all the recognized Orthodox saints are portrayed not only as prayerful intercessors but as healers quite simply they are like Christ and their prayers ought to be potentially curative. A few examples should suffice Paraskevi the Roman is thought to cure eye diseases, Antipas...

History

Present-day discussions on a shared identity among the members of the Syriac churches reflect a long common history in which these churches at some points (theological and sometimes political) were on opposite sides, but on many others (such as language, literature, spirituality and social position) share a common heritage. This shared heritage was never completely lost sight of, despite fierce polemical debates and opposing political interests. The Syriac churches of today all trace back their...

Info

On 23 August 1944 Romania severed the links with Germany and joined the Allied Forces until the end of the war. By the truce with the Soviet Union, Romania lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (which was also certified by the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947). Owing to influence from Moscow and the presence of Soviet troops on its territory, Romania was to be turned into a 'popular republic' (in 1947), which was later to become 'socialist'. Dramatic changes occurred in the political, social and...

Syro Malabar Church

The designation 'Syro-Malabar', created by Rome, has been used consistently only from the end of the nineteenth century. It derives from the original liturgical tradition of this Church, that is, the East Syrian while 'Malabar' (probably of Arabic derivation) is the name that came to be applied to its original territory, the western coast of South India, properly called Kerala. Today, there is a movement to restore the Church's original name, 'Saint Thomas Christians'. In Kerala, a territory...

The Sixth Century

If the earliest period in Christian art is characterized by its diversity and by the metamorphosis of various pagan traditions into a Christian iconography, the sixth century may be viewed as a period of synthesis and consolidation. By the sixth century Constantinople had become the undisputed capital of the Roman Empire, while old Rome and the western provinces were increasingly subjected to periods of disorder and constant pillage. Emperor Justinian (r. 527-65), who did much to militarily...

Introduction Statistics and Languages

Eastern Catholicism consists of some twenty churches (before Vatican II (1965), 'Rites') united by communion with the See of Rome. Most Eastern Catholic Churches have Orthodox counterparts, that is, churches not in union with the pope. Each of them has the status of a 'particular church', or, more technically, a church sui iuris ('of its own law'), which in some instances corresponds to Eastern Orthodoxy's 'autonomous churches'. The exact number of sui iuris churches is subject to debate (see...

The Liturgy of the Faithful

This begins with the singing of the Cherubic Hymn and the Great Entrance. The bread and wine prepared in the outside skeuophylakion used to be brought in a solemn procession to the altar, which came to be seen as a burial procession of Christ whose resurrection would be celebrated in the anaphora. The hymn, 'Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim' may have replaced a psalm sung at this point. When a bishop celebrates nowadays he receives the gifts at the holy doors, but a celebrating...

The laity

The role of the laity has been contentious in the modern era. The Majlis Milli (Community Council) originated in 1874 as the voice of lay opposition to the church hierarchy. Since 1955, its power has been curtailed, but members continue to be important advisers to the patriarch, who is now president of the Majlis. Former members of the Majlis are part of the electoral body that chooses the patriarch, as are other lay notables. But tension between clergy and laity continues as a certain...

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahado Church

Ethiopian Christianity, exceptionally, straddles the African and Semitic worlds. But Christianity in Ethiopia, adopted in the fourth century by the Aksumite king Ezana, also retained links with other Eastern Christian areas as well as with western Europe. Christianity purportedly came to Ethiopia with two brothers from Syria, with its first and subsequent bishops appointed by Coptic patriarchs from the Coptic church of Alexandria. The first bishop, Frumentius, one of the brothers, was a...

Bryan D Spinks

The non-Chalcedonian Churches divide into two distinct theological groupings. On the one hand are the so-called Miaphysite Churches Syrian Orthodox and their Indian subbranches Armenian Coptic and Ethiopic. On the other is the so-called Diophysite Church, the Church of the East or Assyrian Church. However, in terms of liturgical traditions and their interrelationship, the alignments are rather different. The Syriac-speaking churches - Syrian Orthodox, Church of the East, and the Chalcedonian...

The Non Possessors Programme as the Political Opposition Prince Andrew Kurbskij

Seen through the eyes of the Non-Possessors, Russia under Ivan the Terrible was in a situation worse than under the Mongols. Then, at the time of the Battle of Kulikovo Field (1380), the Hesychast leaders put forward a programme called by one modern scholar (G. M. Prokhorov) 'political Hesychasm', which forced Grand Prince Dimitrij to start a war against the Tartars. The second half of the sixteenth century saw another 'political Hesychast' initiative, which was a plan of a war against Moscow...

Structure and Organization

The structure and internal organization of Byzantine Christianity is complex and at times unwieldy. It combines a degree of autocephaly with an adherence to the concept of Ecumenical Councils which, in theory at least, drew on all parties within Christendom in deciding on agreed doctrine and practice within the Church. The councils were instrumental in agreeing the Christian creeds, but sometimes through the negative process of anathematizing perceived heretics rather than by a positive...

References and further reading

Abuladze, I. (1944) K'art'uli da somxuri literaturuli urt'iert'oba IX-Xss-shi gamokvleva da tek'stebi (Georgian-Armenian Literary Relations, 9th-10th Centuries Study and Texts). T'bilisi Mec'niereba. Alek'sidze, Z. (1968) Epistlet'a cigni (The Book of Letters). T'bilisi Mec'niereba. Blake, R. P. (1924) Georgian theological literature. Journal of Theological Studies (October) 50-64. Church, K. (2001) From dynastic principality to imperial district the incorporation of Guria into the Russian...

Tendencies towards Acculturation

Particularization of medieval Syriac hagiography was combined with a gradual process of 'Byzantinization' of the West Syrian heritage. The so-called 'Melkite' communities which followed the Chalcedonian Creed in particular show signs of alienation from indigenous traditions. As already mentioned, Greek influence loomed large from the very beginning. During the fifth and sixth centuries, some writings show cultural syncretism at its best. But in the wake of the Christological controversies, the...

Literalization of symbols and bodily representation of biblical models

The phenomenon of stylites has to be interpreted in the larger framework of Syrian spirituality. It seems that the general tendency in early Christianity to literalize symbols, and to represent biblical models bodily, is prevalent in the Syrian tradition. Symeon and his successors standing on a pillar, that is to say, standing midway between heaven and earth, symbolically fulfilled the call to imitate Christ in a radical sense. Standing with their arms outstretched in prayer, they were living...

Arab Christianity under Islam

As what can be thought in many ways to be a response to the religious and social milieu in which it came into being, the Our'an contains numerous comments on Christians and their beliefs. It addresses them directly as Nasara, a term that is usually understood as a reference to the followers of 'the Nazarite', and is also accepted as referring to them indirectly in the term Ahl al-kitab, 'People of the Book', which refers to communities in pre-Islamic times that had been given a revealed...

The Golden Age of Syriac Hagiography

The Golden Age of Syriac hagiography was late antiquity, so this period will be emphasized in this survey. Some vitae of that period, which are of Syrian origin, won international popularity for their heroes for example, the story of St Alexis of Edessa (Mar Resha), the 'Man of God' (the core of the Life from the fifth century) and the vita of St Pelagia, a converted courtesan (pseudonym of the fifth-century 'deacon Jacob'). The last-mentioned life became even the model for a particular type of...

The Romanian Church in the Seventh to Fourteenth Centuries

This long period in the history of the Romanian people and Church is rather obscure, as the historical and archaeological sources are scarce. From the third to the end of the thirteenth century, a series of migrating peoples, of Germanic, Slavic and Asian descent, heading for western Europe, invaded this territory Goths, Vandals, Gepids, Huns, Avars, Slavs, Hungarians, Pechenegs, Cumans and Mongols. Even when they were warrior minorities, they dominated, if temporarily, parts of Romanian...

Dominant Figures

It is inimical to any form of Eastern Christianity to impose modern, scholastic or systematic divisions into the rich and complex entirety of its thought, but it is worth noting that among the dominant figures in Byzantine Christianity are monks, priests and bishops and theologians (in the Evagrian sense) were noted for their preaching, poetry, pastoral care or political acumen. All of these modes of expression serve to articulate doctrine and thus the faith of the Byzantine Christian none had...

The Exodus

We have followed the 'double language' of the Orthodox Church during the last seven centuries in an attempt to critically appreciate its position in history. The Greek Orthodox Church was early taken captive by secular authority first by Constantine, then by Justinian and his court, by other Byzantine emperors, by the Ottoman sultan and finally by the nation-state of Greece. It has always functioned as a court institution and then as one of the many state apparatuses. Its very structure is that...

The Anargyroi in the church calendars

Even a brief survey of the Menaia and Heortologia currently in use would provide us with a list of over forty commemorations associated with the Anargyroi saints and other holy physicians. This clearly demonstrates the significance of the Anargyroi in the cycle of the Orthodox Church year and, by implication, the relevance of this group to the faithful and the centrality of this model of sanctity in traditional teaching. Of course, not all the feasts listed are widely celebrated today but those...

The Cult of Saints

Canonization in the Eastern Orthodox Church is a solemn proclamation rather than a process. Spontaneous devotion toward an individual by the faithful establishes the usual basis for sainthood. The bishop accepts the petition, examines it, and delivers it to a commission that will render a final decision. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, relics of saints appear less frequently, although the antimension (the cloth upon which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated) always contains a relic, but icons of...

The Kosmas and Damianos triangle

The main Anargyroi are surely the three pairs of 'Kosmas and Damianos' who are distinguished by being termed the Syrians, the Romans and the Arabs. An amount of confusion has always been engendered by them all bearing the same names. Unsurprisingly, scholars have argued that this triplication of pairs simply represents conflicting traditions about one pair - almost certainly the Syrians entombed in Kyrros Hagiopolis. The Roman Catholics now appear to hold an approximation of this view and the...

The twentieth century

At the beginning of the twentieth century a new wave of independence arose in the Ethiopian Church. Ever since Frumentius had been ordained the first Bishop of Ethiopia by Athanasius in the fourth century, the head of the Church had been an Egyptian appointed by the See of Alexandria. The anomaly of this situation, supported by a spurious addition to the Canon of Nicaea, was acutely felt by Ethiopians. It was also felt that reform and modernization of the Church could not be led by a foreign...

Modern Period Bonaparte to the Present

Egypt remained a province of the Ottoman Empire into the twentieth century, but the struggle between colonial powers in the nineteenth century influenced missionary activity and promoted the growth of national consciousness among Coptic Christians. Napoleon invaded Egypt and defeated the local rulers in 1798, yet the lasting effect of his expedition was scientific, not political, as modern Egyptology began with the experts accompanying Napoleon. The British soon defeated the French and helped...

The Alaskan Mission

Two significant events led to the establishment of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the United States. Firstly, monastic missionaries from the Church of Russia established missions in Alaska, beginning in 1794. At that time, the Alaskan coastland and the numerous islands between North America and Siberia, discovered and explored from 1741, was part of imperial Russia. During the first century of the existence of these missions, many thousands of natives became members of the Orthodox Church....

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Martyrs and Saints

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries several riots by Muslims have produced new martyrs for the Coptic Church. Among those of the nineteenth century is Sidhum Bishai (1804-44). He served as clerk at the port of Damietta when a Muslim-instigated revolt broke out and he was accused of insulting Islam. He was killed and his body now reposes in the Church of the Holy Virgin in Damietta. Under the leadership of President Sadat Islamist fundamentalist movements were encouraged in Egypt....

The legacy of the Anargyroi

The Anargyroi are not simply a phenomenon of the early Christian era or the Byzantine centuries. A cursory look at the Orthodox calendars demonstrates that an active witness, represented in this instance by the Anargyroi, has always complemented the contemplative tradition in the Orthodox East. In the twentieth century Elizabeth Feodorovna, guided by the Pskov elder Gabriel of Eleazar (d. 1915), established a hospital in her Moscow convent of Saints Mary and Martha. The very dedication of the...

The calendar

The Ethiopian calendar follows the primitive Alexandrine Computus, though as many month names suggest, this probably came to Ethiopia in pre-Christian times. Today the year, which begins around 11 September, is normally calculated according to the Year of Mercy, or 'Amata Mahrat, calculation of which is seven and eight years behind the Common Era. Other systems are used, especially in ecclesiastical circles, including the Year of the Martyrs, starting from the persecutions of Diocletian in 284...

Steps towards cooperation and greater unity

Confronted with the divisions both within and beyond their flocks, Archbishop Athenagoras and Archbishop Antony (Bashir) (1898-1966) of the Syrian (Antiochian) Orthodox Archdiocese recognized the need for greater jurisdictional cooperation. Antony in particular advocated the greater use of English in liturgical services and envisioned a more united church in the United States. Together with Antony, Athenagoras made a bold proposal for a pan-Orthodox seminary in 1934 and for a pan-Orthodox...

The Contemporary Situation in the Middle East and the Diaspora

Despite significant migration waves, until the early twenty-first century the majority of Syriac Christians (apart from those in India) lived in the Middle East. Of the Syrian Orthodox, about two-thirds live in the Middle East and one third in Europe and the United States. As for the Church of the East, the balance is only slightly tilted in favour of the Middle Eastern communities about 52 per cent in the Middle East, about 10 per cent in Russia, Armenia and Georgia and 38 per cent in North...

The Oriental Orthodox Churches

The formal division between the Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches dates from the fifth century. Differences in the articulation of Christology were compounded by linguistic, cultural and political factors. With the rise of Islam in the seventh century, the divide between these two families became entrenched. While some limited contacts took place in subsequent centuries, the division was not resolved. Each of the Oriental Orthodox Churches has its own particular history and...

Encounter with Other Religions

The Great Schism between the Eastern and the Western Church (1054) was the culmination of a gradual process of estrangement between East and West that began in the early centuries of the Byzantine Empire and continued throughout the Middle Ages. Linguistic and cultural differences, as well as political events, contributed to the estrangement. Theological differences could probably have been settled if there were not two different concepts of church authority. The growth of Roman primacy, based...

Iconoclasm

The destruction of the image of Christ over the Chalke Gate of the Great Palace in Constantinople in 726 on the orders of Emperor Leo III may have marked the official beginnings of iconoclasm, but the roots of the conflict go back much earlier and may reflect the possible clash between the more iconoclastic eastern traditions where the Mosaic ban on graven images prevailed and the Hellenistic heritage. After the death of Justinian the Byzantine Empire sustained a number of serious military...

Pilgrimages and Local Traditions

The main feast days are those of Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints. The Serbian Orthodox Church starts Christmas celebrations forty days ahead of the feast itself. The Serbian Church, like the Churches of Russia and Jerusalem, and most monasteries on Mt Athos, continues to use the Julian calendar. Celebrations begin for Christmas with the forty-day fast, while the last three Sundays of the fast are marked by events popularly called Children's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day. The last two...

Monuments and religious buildings

Kingship was crucially important to Ethiopian Christian society. Early cultural activity, until the tenth century, was based at Aksum in the north of the country. Aksum was a prosperous trading centre linking the Mediterranean with India, as its gold coinage attests. Early stone stelae (obelisks) survive from before 400, carved in storeys or registers, with blind windows. These are believed to mark the burial places of kings. The sacred Solomonic lineage, traced to the house of Solomon and...

Counter Reform Programme of the Non Possessors

At the Council of 1503 the Non-Possessors put forward an antidote to the Josephites. They considered the prime danger to be any rise in the secular power of the Church. So, in accordance with the Byzantine tradition, they were against capital punishment for heretics, although they were not of course against it for civil criminals. But their main aim was the complete dissolution of lands belonging to the monasteries. In the Orthodox Church in general monasticism was the element whose influence...

The Syriac Churches Early Liturgical Traditions

At one time scholars were of the opinion that the Syriac liturgies were branches of a common Antiochene liturgical tradition, with two forks, East and West Syrian. The Maronite rite was seen as a variant of the West Syrian rite. However, more recent scholarship has emphasized that the East Syrian rite was centred on Edessa, not Antioch, and that the Maronite liturgical tradition seems to have blended some elements from the Edessan tradition with elements from the Antiochene tradition. (Macomber...

Particularization from the Seventh Century Onwards

From the seventh century onwards Syriac hagiographic works continued to be produced. However, compared with the older vitae, most of the texts written in honour of medieval indigenous Syrian saints had no more than a local or temporal influence, often a very restricted one. Thus, we have clearly to distinguish between the meaning of such a text in its original historical and ecclesiastical context, and its modern meaning, which may be quite different for Syrian Christians themselves who, in...

The Coptic Orthodox Church

Although something about worship in Egypt may be gleaned from Clement and Origen, the first liturgical compilation of note is the Canons of Hippolytus (c.336) and the eucol-ogy attributed to Bishop Sarapion of Thmuis (c.350). The former is one redaction of the so-called apostolic tradition attributed to Hippolytus, the integrity of which has been seriously challenged in late twentieth-century scholarship. The latter is a collection of prayers, some probably by Serapion, but by no means all from...

The Creation of New Saints

This leads us to the question of the creation of new saints. From the tenth century onwards, in the Latin context, the universal veneration of new saints had to be confirmed by papal processes. In modern times, this procedure was also expanded to the Oriental Catholic Churches. Also, some Orthodox Churches developed more formalized procedures for approving new saints, although none adopted in full the specific Roman procedure. In the twentieth century both Indian jurisdictions of the Syrian...

The Initiation Rites

There are a number of preparatory rites before baptism eight days after the birth, the naming of the child then, forty days after the birth, the 'churching' of the mother and child. Traditionally, the mother would then attend church again, and the child would begin to do so. The first attendance at church by the mother and child together is usually shortly followed by the baptism. The present baptismal rite was intended for adults, and to be spread over a period of time. Most of the rite as we...

Maronite Catholic Church

The first parish in the Americas was founded in the early 1890s. Even without a bishop, the National Association of Maronites worked for the establishment of a seminary in Washington, which occurred in 1961. An American diocese has existed since 19 71 (divided into two - Brooklyn and Los Angeles - in 1994). Others were then founded in Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. While a commitment to the Lebanese cause creates a certain insularity, their western liturgical ethos and...

Priesthood and Hierarchy

Table 15.2 provides the following information (1) location of the primate, and his title and (2) the proportion of married (diocesan) clergy to that of celibate diocesan clergy. Notwithstanding Vatican II's declaration of the equality of all 'Rites', Roman authorities continue to oppose the open ordination of married candidates to the priesthood outside of Eastern Catholic 'homelands.' Thus, in spite of the severe shortage of clergy in the USA, the only married priests usually permitted to...

Vallachia and Moldavia

In the fourteenth century, the territories in the south and east of the Carpathians united. Apart from Transylvania, two other states, Vallachia and Moldavia, appeared. Transylvania remained independent of Hungary until 1541, and for centuries these three states were at war with the expanding Ottoman Empire, attempting to preserve their ethnic uniqueness and their Orthodox faith. In the second half of the fourteenth century, the Ottomans conquered several Greek-Byzantine states in the vicinity...

Sociology of Religion as an Intellectual Practice

To grasp the way Eastern Orthodoxy is understood as it is, it is necessary to look very briefly at the nature of sociology as a discipline, particularly the role played by the sociology of religion within it. True to its Enlightenment origins within the wider discipline of sociology itself, the sociology of religion seems to promise rational understanding of that which the Enlightenment and its heirs deemed the 'irrational'. However, this background in practice produced a set of difficulties...

Architecture and sculpture

The inventiveness of Armenian architecture is apparent in its use of stone cutting, mostly in tufa. Building traditions were derived from the pre-Christian era, as in the kingdom of Urartu, known through excavations. More recently the site of Garni, near modern Erevan, with its Greco-Roman temple and other monuments of the first or second century ce, also provided precedents for monumental building in stone. The late sixth to early seventh centuries ce saw the first phase of Christian...

The Vicissitudes of the Twentieth Century

As was mentioned earlier, the twentieth century began with attacks on the translation of the New Testament into modern Greek and the official, albeit incomprehensible, prescription of the Greek state to be itself in control of the integrity of the text. Even the new and all-powerful star of Greek politics, Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), was unable to introduce any reforms. During the tragic decade 1912-22 Venizelos found himself victim to his indecision and procrastination. Whereas he had...

The enarxis

The deacon incenses the church, and the priest begins with the blessing 'Blessed be the kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit . . .' The deacon says the synapte while the priest says a prayer. Then is sung the first antiphon (in Russian churches usually Psalm 102), and there is a small litany while the priest says another prayer. The second antiphon (Russian usage, Psalm 145) always includes the hymn 'Only-begotten Son and Word of God', and is followed by another short litany and...

Missions and Diaspora

Until Vatican II, Eastern Catholics desiring to work in foreign missions had to transfer to the Roman Rite. This, coupled with the legacy of the Ottoman ban on proselytizing, and similar Communist restrictions, has coloured Eastern Catholic attitudes towards sharing the faith. As for emigration, it has usually resulted from economic and or political strife. The economic crisis in the former Eastern Bloc in the 1990s and later, and turmoil in the Middle East have greatly increased the number of...

Building up the Bulgarian Exarchate

Thanks to the firman the Bulgarian Church regained the independence of which it had been deprived at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The decree of the Ottoman administration was received with hostility by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which declared it uncanonical. In fact the firman issued by the Sultan on 2 7 February 1870 was based on a draft prepared in 1867 by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory VI, and a document drawn up by a joint Bulgarian-Greek committee in 1869...

The Anargyroi in the Orthodox calendar

Below are notes on the main feasts of saints associated with the Anargyroi group as they appear sequentially in the Eastern Orthodox calendars. Variant commemorations indicate western practice. These notes do not attempt to distinguish between historical and legendary materials in traditional sources. It must be assumed that stories regarding early Christian figures in particular are greatly embellished. 4 September Hermione and Eutychia, the daughters of Philip the Deacon. Church tradition...

Ascetic orientation

The strong ascetic orientation of Syrian Christianity may be its most widely known feature. No wonder that asceticism had also a significant impact on Syriac hagiogra-phy. From the very beginning, until the most recent beatifications and canonizations of nineteenth-century Maronites, almost all saints who were not venerated as martyrs have an ascetic element in some way or another. The vitae praise monks and nuns, church officials and hierarchs with an ascetic background, but also a...

Legend and early history

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one the oldest officially adopted and still flourishing national churches in the world. Like most of the other ancient churches it seeks to place its origins in apostolic times, a wish that finds ready support in the confusion of the exact meaning of the name Ethiopia where it occurs in the Greek Bible. There the term is either a general label for Africa south of Egypt, or more specifically refers to ancient Nubia, the Kush of the Hebrew text. Thus it is a...

Apostolicity and Missions

In The Epic Histories of P'awstos Buzand (425-86), and the Armenian version of the Acts of Addai, Christianity was first introduced into Armenia from Edessa by Thaddeus, the apostle who converted the royal princess Sandukht. From the seventh century the name of the apostle Bartholomew is also added to the apostolicity claim in Armenian historiography. These traditions corroborate historical evidence pointing to the influx of Christians from Syria and Adiabene during the second and third...

Modern Theological Figures

From the middle of eighteenth century, the Serbian Orthodox Church used Russian church literature and the Russian language as a model. Later, Russian Slavophiles had their best bastion in the Serbian Church and they helped Serbian schools and churches in Turkish Ottoman regions. Most of the Serbian theologians in the nineteenth century studied at theological faculties in Russia, and religious books from these schools were used in Serbia. Church sermons and works of famous Russian churchmen and...

The Balkans and Romania

The boundaries of the different nation states have been particularly fluid in the Balkans and it may be unwise to attempt to differentiate eastern Serbian and western Bulgarian art or to distinguish the Bulgarian, Serbian and Byzantine strands in the art of Macedonia. The frescoes in St Sophia in Ohrid, c.1040, or in the church of St Pante-leimon in Nerezi of 1164 (plate 18.13), may show evidence of the participation by local artists, but ultimately bear the stamp of Byzantine artists and the...

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...

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...