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 Maronite Church - once shared a common theological literature, and liturgical ordos or structures. Their traditions are shared by the ecclesiastical offshoots of the Church of the East, such as the Syro-Malabar Church and the Chaldean Church, and, from the Syrian Orthodox, such churches as the Syrian Catholic, Malankara Orthodox, Syrian Jacobite and Mar Thoma Church. The Armenian Church was influenced first by Cap-padocian Greek-speaking and Syriac-speaking missionaries, then by Byzantium, and also by Rome, and these influences are reflected in its liturgical traditions. The Coptic Church has preserved some liturgical forms which seem to be indigenous, and others which show clear signs of influence from Palestine and Syria. The Ethiopic Church owed its origins - and, until the twentieth century, its patriarch - to the Coptic Church, but its liturgy shows some considerable eclectic independence in its development. In all these churches it is difficult to date the developed mature liturgical forms.

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