The term Greek Orthodox Church (Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía, IPA: [elinorˈθoðoksi ekliˈsia]) has two meanings. The broader meaning designates "the entire body of Orthodox (Chalcedonian) Christianity, sometimes also called 'Eastern Orthodox,' 'Greek Catholic,' or generally 'the Greek Church'". The narrower meaning designates "any of several independent churches within the worldwide communion of [Eastern] Orthodox Christianity that retain the use of the Greek language in formal ecclesiastical settings".
Historically, the term "Greek Orthodox" has been used to describe all Eastern Orthodox churches, since the term "Greek" can refer to the heritage of the Byzantine Empire. During the first eight centuries of Christian history, most major intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian Church took place in the Byzantine Empire or its sphere of influence, where the Greek language was widely spoken and used for most theological writings. The empire's capital, Constantinople, was an early important center of Christianity, and its liturgical practices, traditions, and doctrines were gradually adopted throughout Eastern Orthodoxy, still providing the basic patterns of contemporary Orthodoxy. Thus, Eastern Orthodox came to be called "Greek" Orthodox in the same way that Western Christians came to be called "Roman" Catholic. However, the appellation "Greek" was abandoned by the Slavic and other Eastern Orthodox churches as part of their peoples' national awakenings, beginning as early as the 10th century A.D. Thus, by the early 21st century, generally only those churches most closely tied to Greek or Byzantine culture and ethnicity were called "Greek Orthodox" in common parlance.
Greek Orthodoxy has also been defined as a religious tradition rooted in preserving the Greek identity.
The Greek Orthodox churches are descended from churches which the Apostles founded in the Balkans and the Middle East during the first century A.D., as well as maintenance of many ancient church traditions.
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- The four ancient patriarchates:
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also the "first among equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Church
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
- The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
- The autonomous Church of Sinai
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The distinctive characteristics of the Greek Orthodox Church are its sense of continuity with the ancient Church of Christ and the Apostles and its changelessness. The Orthodox church traces its existence, through the ordination of Bishops, directly back to the Apostles and through them to Jesus.
- Sally Bruyneel; Alan G. Padgett (2003). Introducing Christianity. Orbis Books. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-60833-134-5. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
The Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches are the oldest with roots going back to the earliest Christian groups.
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The Orthodox Church traces its origins to the churches founded by the apostles in the Middle East and the Balkans in the first century.
- Robert L. Plummer (6 March 2012). Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Anglicanism. Zondervan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-310-41671-5. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
Catholicism holds that if a Church claims to be Christian, then it must be able to show that its leaders-its bishops and its presbyters (or priests)- are successors of the apostles. That is why the Catholic Church accepts Eastern Orthodox ordinations and sacraments as valid, even though Eastern Orthodoxy is not in full communion with Rome.
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This connection is apparent through the historical succession of bishops of churches in a particular geographic locale and by fidelity to the teachings of the apostles (cf. Acts 2:42) and life as it developed in the patristic tradition and was articulated by the seven ecumenical councils.
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There are three branches within Christianity: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. ... The Christian church draws its lineage and roots from the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles in CE 25–30 and the birth of the Church at Pentecost in ...
- Wendy Doniger (January 1999). Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-87779-044-0. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
EASTERN ORTHODOXY, one of the major branches of CHRISTIANITY, characterized by its continuity with the apostolic church, its liturgy, and its territorial churches.
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the only remaining issues between the two sides concern the extent to which minority members should have equal rights with the rest of the Albanian citizens as well as issues of property and ecclesiastical autonomy for the Greek Orthodox Church of Albania.
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- Media related to Greek Orthodox Church at Wikimedia Commons