Orthodox Christianity maintained and developed its own distinctive approach to Christian life. An important development of Orthodox Christianity in the Middle Ages was the movement of "quietness." This practice began with Orthodox monks who engaged in continual efforts at placing themselves in the presence of Jesus. Often they would do this by praying the "Jesus prayer": "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Many of these monks claimed that they had attained a certain union with God through these exercises, purging themselves of other concerns. Others criticized them, insisting that God could not be directly experienced.
One of the great figures of the Orthodox Christian tradition, Saint Gregory Pal-amas (1296-1359), resolved the issue by explaining that although we cannot participate in God's being, people can experience God's energies, or grace, operating in them. Orthodox Christians to this day place a great value on meditating on the Jesus prayer. They often use a prayer rope, which looks much like a rosary, to assist them in this practice.
From the early centuries of Christianity to the 15th century the center of Orthodox Christianity was Constantinople. However, in 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Muslim Turks. The Greek Constantinople became the Turkish Istanbul. Orthodox Christians continued to live and practice their faith under the Turkish rule of the Ottoman Empire but they were made to pay special taxes, and the spread of their faith was curtailed since any form of missionary activity was forbidden.
major eastern catholic churches
The following is a list of some major Eastern Catholic churches and the dates of their reunion with the Church of Rome:
Ukrainian Catholic Church: 1595 Ruthenian Catholic Church: 1646 Syrian Catholic Church: 1656 Melkite Catholic Church: 1724 Armenian Catholic Church: 1742 Chaldean Catholic Church (present-day
Iraq): 1834 Coptic (Egyptian) Catholic Church: 1899
All of the above Catholic churches have Orthodox counterparts. Among the other Eastern Catholic churches are the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, both in India; the Romanian Catholic Church; the Bulgarian Catholic Church; the Slovak Catholic Church; and the Hungarian Catholic Church.
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