The Orthodox churches are the major churches in Greece, Russia, eastern Europe, western Asia, and much of the Middle East. Individually they are usually called by their national names, such as the Greek Orthodox Church or the Russian Orthodox Church, but they are united by common beliefs and traditions. Most of the Orthodox churches in the United States are governed by the hierarchy of the country in which the particular church originated. For example, the Antiochian Orthodox Church is ultimately governed by the Antiochian Church in Syria, although it does have bishops in the United States. The three main religious orders within Orthodox churches are bishops, priests, and deacons although laity participate in the administration of their churches and the election of their clergy. Bishops are heads of major areas of a country, priests look after a specific parish, and deacons are assistants to the priests.
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