Different challenges have been presented to the various Orthodox churches in the 20th century. The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of the Communist Party caused great suffering and confusion in Russia. It also caused a split among Russian Orthodox Christians. In 1920 some Orthodox Russians who were in exile from their homeland instituted an independent church that came to be known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. They elected their own bishop in defiance of the Soviet appointees. In 2007 the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia reunited, to great joy from all sides. Other Orthodox churches have suffered similar divisions based on different views. For example questions have arisen, such as whether the Orthodox churches should engage in
A detail from a mosaic depicting Mary, the mother of God, and Christ, the son of God. This is one of the remaining mosaics in Hagia Sophia, the great church built by Emperor Justinian I in 537 in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).
The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, ceremonially plants a tree as part of an Orthodox gathering to highlight and celebrate Orthodox involvement in environmental issues. The ecumenical patriarch is the leading figure of the Orthodox Church. Although there are other Orthodox patriarchs, he is recognized as the first among equals.
dialogue with other Christian churches (ecumenism), or whether they should base their liturgical year on the old Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar (100-44 b.c.e.) and authoritative for Eastern countries, or on the new "Gregorian" calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) that has been adopted over the years by most modern civil governments.
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