Abkhazian Orthodox Church
The Abkhazian Orthodox Church is an Eastern Orthodox church outside the official Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy. It came into existence when the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy declared on 15 September 2009 that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church and that it was "re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia disbanded in 1795"; the Abkhazian Orthodox church is organised into one in Pitsunda and one in Sukhumi. The Pitsunda Cathedral is the church's chief cathedral; the church is led by priest Vissarion Aplaa. It has one monastery, at Kaman; the Abkhazian Orthodox Church considers itself to be the continuation of the Catholicate of Abkhazia. The Catholicate of Abkhazia was disbanded in 1814, when all local dioceses were taken over by the Russian Orthodox Church, they became part of the Georgian Orthodox Church following the fall of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. The Abkhazian orthodox dioceses fall under the canonically recognized territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church as Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy.
After the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, ethnically Georgian priests had to flee Abkhazia and the Georgian Orthodox church lost control of Abkhazian church affairs. The last Georgian monks and nuns, based in the upper Kodori Valley, were expelled early in 2009 after they resisted pressure from the Abkhaz authorities to sever allegiance to the Georgian church; the ethnically Abkhaz Vissarion Aplaa was the only remaining priest after the early 1990s war and he became acting head of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy. In the following years consecrated clerics from the neighbouring Russian Maykop Eparchy arrived in Abkhazia; the new priests came into conflict with Vissarion, but through the mediation of Russian church officials, the two sides managed to reach a power-sharing agreement in Maikop in 2005. Under the agreement, the Eparchy would thenceforth have co-chairs and be named the Abkhazian Eparchy with undefined canonical status, to stress its separation from the Georgian Orthodox Church; the agreement did not hold however, when Priest Vissarion refused to share the leadership and continued to sign documents using the old name of the Eparchy.
On 15 September 2009 the leadership of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy declared that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church, that it was re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia, that it would henceforth be known as the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. Its leader Aplia asked the Russian and Georgian churches to recognize the "Abkhazian Orthodox Church". A spokesman for the Georgian patriarchate said the decision to separate from the Georgian Orthodox Church was taken by a "group of impostors", while the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed that it continued to view Abkhazia as the canonical territory of the Georgian Church. On 9 February 2011, the Abkhazian government transferred 38 churches and monasteries perpetually into the care of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. Montenegrin Orthodox Church Macedonian Orthodox Church Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate – Prior to official canonization by Ecumenical Patriarchate in October 2018 Orthodox Church in Italy Minutes of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy council meeting establishing the Abkhazian Orthodox Church
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops. This series was seen as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. According to historian Justo L. González, apostolic succession is understood today as meaning a series of bishops, regardless of see, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated in a succession going back to the apostles. According to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, "apostolic succession" means more than a mere transmission of powers, it is succession in a Church which witnesses to the apostolic faith, in communion with the other Churches, witnesses of the same apostolic faith. The "see plays an important role in inserting the bishop into the heart of ecclesial apostolicity", once ordained, the bishop becomes in his Church the guarantor of apostolicity and becomes a successor of the apostles.
Those who hold for the importance of apostolic succession via episcopal laying on of hands appeal to the New Testament, they say, implies a personal apostolic succession. They appeal as well to other documents of the early Church the Epistle of Clement. In this context, Clement explicitly states that the apostles appointed bishops as successors and directed that these bishops should in turn appoint their own successors. Further, proponents of the necessity of the personal apostolic succession of bishops within the Church point to the universal practice of the undivided early Church, before being divided into the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Christians of the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Anglican and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession." Each of these groups does not consider consecration of the other groups as valid.
However, some Protestants deny the need for this type of continuity, the historical claims involved have been questioned by them. Jay comments that the account given of the emergence of the episcopate in chapter III of the encyclical Lumen Gentium "is sketchy, many ambiguities in the early history of the Christian ministry are passed over". Michael Ramsey, an English Anglican bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury, described three meanings of "apostolic succession": One bishop succeeding another in the same see meant that there was a continuity of teaching: "while the Church as a whole is the vessel into which the truth is poured, the Bishops are an important organ in carrying out this task"; the bishops were successors of the apostles in that "the functions they performed of preaching and ordaining were the same as the Apostles had performed". It is used to signify that "grace is transmitted from the Apostles by each generation of bishops through the imposition of hands", he adds that this last has been controversial in that it has been claimed that this aspect of the doctrine is not found before the time of Augustine of Hippo, while others allege that it is implicit in the Church of the second and third centuries.
In its 1982 statement on Baptism and Ministry, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches stated that "the primary manifestation of apostolic succession is to be found in the apostolic tradition of the Church as a whole.... Under the particular historical circumstances of the growing Church in the early centuries, the succession of bishops became one of the ways, together with the transmission of the Gospel and the life of the community, in which the apostolic tradition of the Church was expressed." It spoke of episcopal succession as something that churches that do not have bishops can see "as a sign, though not a guarantee, of the continuity and unity of the Church" and that all churches can see "as a sign of the apostolicity of the life of the whole church". The Porvoo Common Statement, agreed to by the Anglican churches of the British Isles and most of the Lutheran churches of Scandinavia and the Baltic, echoed the Munich and Finland statements of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church by stating that "the continuity signified in the consecration of a bishop to episcopal ministry cannot be divorced from the continuity of life and witness of the diocese to which he is called."Some Anglicans, in addition to other Protestants, held that apostolic succession "may be understood as a continuity in doctrinal teaching from the time of the apostles to the present."
For example, the British Methodist Conference locates the "true continuity" with the Church of past ages in "the continuity of Christian experience, the fellowship in the gift of the one Spirit. "To fulfil this apostolic mission, Christ... promised the Holy Spirit to the apostles...". "enriched by Christ the Lord with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit... This spi
Orthodox Church of Ukraine
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, or Ukrainian Orthodox Church known as the Most Holy Church of Ukraine is a recognized autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. The church was established by a unification council on 15 December 2018, received its Tomos of autocephaly on 5 January 2019; the council voted to unite the existing Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The primate of the church is the Metropolitan of all Ukraine; the unification council elected Epiphanius Dumenko as its primate the Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi and Bila Tserkva. The other Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an autonomous branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, which considers the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to be schismatic. According to the Statute of the OCU adopted at the 2018 unification council, "Orthodox Christians of Ukrainian provenance" shall be forthwith subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
This provision is enshrined in the OCU′s Tomos of autocephaly. In March 2019, Metroplitan Epiphanius said that the transfer of parishes of the dissolved Kiev Patriarchate to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had begun; the official name of the united Ukrainian church is the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" and the name of its primate is "His Beatitude, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine". The Tomos of autocephaly of the OCU refers to the OCU as the "Most Holy Church of Ukraine". On 30 January 2019, the OCU was registered under the name "Kievan Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church"; the head of the Ukrainian Department of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Culture, Andriy Yurash, clarified: "These two terms will be used as synonymous and this is expressly agreed with the Phanar. Therefore, the use of the terms, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, is affixed to the administrative unit, called the Kievan Metropolitanate". Following months of negotiations and preparations, on 15 December 2018, all the bishops of the UOC-KP and the UAOC as well as two metropolitans of the UOC-MP convened in Kiev's Saint Sophia Cathedral, presided over by the Metropolitan of the Ecumenical throne, Emmanuel, to merge into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, elect their primate and adopt the statute of the new independent Church of Ukraine.
Metropolitan Epiphanius of the UOC-KP, chosen on 13 December by the UOC-KP as its only candidate, was believed to be Filaret's right arm and protégé, was elected Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine by the unification council by the second round of voting. In his speech upon the election, Metropolitan Epiphanius thanked President Poroshenko, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Ukrainian Parliament, as well as Filaret. Epiphanius said that the doors of his church were "open to everyone". Epiphanius made clear that no weighty decision would be taken by his church as long as he had not received the church's formal ecclesiastical decree; the Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated and blessed the newly elected Metropolitan on the day of his election and said the newly elected primate was invited to come to Istanbul to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with the Ecumenical Patriarch and receive the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's tomos on 6 January 2019. After the council, Filaret became the "honorary patriarch" of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, serving in the St Volodymyr's Cathedral.
On 16 December 2018, Filaret held a Divine Liturgy in which he came wearing the headgear of a patriarch. During this Filaret declared in his sermon, that he was still patriarch: "The Patriarch remains for life and, together with the Primate, governs the Ukrainian Orthodox Church". After the Divine Liturgy, he was acclaimed by the hierarchs of the church as "great vladyka and father Filaret, the holiest patriarch of Kiev and all Ukraine-Rus and sacred archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra". Metropolitan Epiphanius said on 21 December. Advertisements to promote a united Ukrainian Orthodox church had been made months prior to the unification council. Petro Poroshenko declared "not a dime" from the Ukrainian State had been paid for them, that he paid those advertisements with his own money. Poroshenko refused to state. On 5 January 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Epiphanius celebrated a Divine Liturgy in St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul; the Tomos was signed thereafter in St. George's Cathedral.
The Tomos "had come into force from the moment of its signing." The signing of the tomos established the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. After the Tomos was signed, Patriarch Batholomew delivered a speech addressing Metropolitan Epiphanius. President Poroshenko and Metropolitan Epiphanius delivered speeches, Epiphanius addressing Poroshenko by saying this: "Your name, Mr President, will remain forever in the history of the Ukrainian people and the church next to the names of our princes Volodymyr the Great, Yaroslav the Wise, Kostiantyn Ostrozky and Hetman Ivan Mazepa". On 6 January 2019, after a Divine Liturgy concelebrated by Metropolitan Epiphanius and Patriarch Bartholomew, P
Romanian Orthodox Church
The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches, one of the nine Patriarchates in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 1925, the Church's Primate bears the title of Patriarch, its jurisdiction covers the territories of Romania and Moldova, with additional dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Serbia and Hungary, as well as for diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania. It is the only autocephalous Church within Orthodoxy to have a Romance language for liturgical use; the majority of Romania's population, as well as some 720,000 Moldovans, belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Members of the Romanian Orthodox Church sometimes refer to Orthodox Christian doctrine as Dreapta credință; the Orthodox hierarchy in the territory of modern Romania had existed within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until 1865 when the Churches in the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia embarked on the path of ecclesiastical independence by nominating Nifon Rusailă, Metropolitan of Ungro-Wallachia, as the first Romanian primate.
Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who had in 1863 carried out a mass confiscation of monastic estates in the face of stiff opposition from the Greek hierarchy in Constantinople, in 1865 pushed through a legislation that proclaimed complete independence of the Church in the Principalities from the Patriarchate. In 1872, the Orthodox churches in the principalities, the Metropolis of Ungro-Wallachia and the Metropolis of Moldavia, merged to form the Romanian Orthodox Church. Following the international recognition of the independence of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1878, after a long period of negotiations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Patriarch Joachim IV granted recognition to the autocephalous Metropolis of Romania in 1885, raised to the rank of Patriarchate in 1925. Restricted access to ecclesiastical and relevant state archives makes an accurate assessment of the Romanian Orthodox Church's attitude towards the Communist regime a difficult proposition; the activity of the Orthodox Church as an institution was more or less tolerated by the Marxist–Leninist atheist regime, although it was controlled through "special delegates" and its access to the public sphere was limited.
The attitudes of the church's members, both laity and clergy, towards the communist regime, range broadly from opposition and martyrdom, to silent consent, collaboration or subservience aimed at ensuring survival. Beyond limited access to the Securitate and Party archives as well as the short time elapsed since these events unfolded, such an assessment is complicated by the particularities of each individual and situation, the understanding each had about how their own relationship with the regime could influence others and how it did; the Romanian Workers' Party, which assumed political power at the end of 1947, initiated mass purges that resulted in a decimation of the Orthodox hierarchy. Three archbishops died after expressing opposition to government policies, thirteen more "uncooperative" bishops and archbishops were arrested. A May 1947 decree imposed a mandatory retirement age for clergy, thus providing authorities with a convenient way to pension off old-guard holdouts; the 4 August 1948 Law on Cults institutionalised state control over episcopal elections and packed the Holy Synod with Communist supporters.
The evangelical wing of the Romanian Orthodox Church, known as the Army of the Lord, was suppressed by communist authorities in 1948. In exchange for subservience and enthusiastic support for state policies, the property rights over as many as 2,500 church buildings and other assets belonging to the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church were transferred to the Romanian Orthodox Church. By weeding out the anti-communists from among the Orthodox clergy and setting up a pro-regime, secret police-infiltrated Union of Democratic Priests, the party endeavoured to secure the hierarchy's cooperation. By January 1953 some 300-500 Orthodox priests were being held in concentration camps, following Patriarch Nicodim's death in May 1948, the party succeeded in having the ostensibly docile Justinian Marina elected to succeed him; as a result of measures passed in 1947-48, the state took over the 2,300 elementary schools and 24 high schools operated by the Orthodox Church. A new campaign struck the church in 1958-62 when more than half of its remaining monasteries were closed, more than 2,000 monks were forced to take secular jobs, about 1,500 clergy and lay activists were arrested.
Throughout this period Patriarch Justinian took great care that his public statements met the regime's standards of political correctness and to avoid giving offence to the government. The church's situation began to improve in 1962, when relations with the state thawed, an event that coincided with the beginning of Romania's pursuit of an independent foreign policy course that saw the political elite encourage nationalism as a means to strengthen its position against Sovie
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator is a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is, used in this context, derived from of one of many names of God in Judaism; the Pantokrator an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western Catholicism and unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography. Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a stern, all-powerful judge of humanity; when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, Pantokrator was used both for YHWH Sabaoth "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty". In the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul and nine times in the Book of Revelation: 1:8, 4:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 16:14, 19:6, 19:15, 21:22; the references to God and Christ in Revelation are at times interchangeable, Pantokrator appears to be reserved for God except in 1:8.
The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek words πᾶς, pas, i.e. "all" and κράτος, kratos, i.e. "strength", "might", "power". This is understood in terms of potential power. Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something"; this translation speaks more to God's actual power. God does everything; the icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most common religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Speaking, in Medieval eastern roman church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse, or on the nave vault; some scholars consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, such as the great statue of Zeus enthroned at Olympia.
The development of the earliest stages of the icon from Roman Imperial imagery is easier to trace. The image of Christ Pantocrator was one of the first images of Christ developed in the Early Christian Church and remains a central icon of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the half-length image, Christ holds the New Testament in his left hand and makes the gesture of teaching or of blessing with his right; the typical Western Christ in Majesty is a full-length icon. In the early Middle Ages, it presented Christ in a mandorla or other geometric frame, surrounded by the Four Evangelists or their symbols; the oldest known surviving example of the icon of Christ Pantocrator was painted in encaustic on panel in the sixth or seventh century, survived the period of destruction of images during the Iconoclastic disputes that twice racked the Eastern church, 726 to 787 and 814 to 842. It was preserved in the remote desert of the Sinai; the gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a wooden panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face and hands at some time around the thirteenth century.
When the overpainting was cleaned in 1962, the ancient image was revealed to be a high-quality icon produced in Constantinople. The icon, traditionally half-length when in a semi-dome, which became adopted for panel icons depicts Christ frontal with a somewhat melancholy and stern aspect, with the right hand raised in blessing or, in the early encaustic panel at Saint Catherine's Monastery, the conventional rhetorical gesture that represents teaching; the left hand holds a closed book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross, representing the Gospels. An icon where Christ has an open book is called "Christ the Teacher", a variant of the Pantocrator. Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, his head is surrounded by a halo; the icon is shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors. The name of Christ is written on each side of the halo, as IC and XC. Christ's fingers are depicted in a pose that represents the letters IC, X and C, thereby making the Christogram ICXC.
The IC is composed of the Greek characters iota and lunate sigma —the first and last letters of'Jesus' in Greek. In many cases, Christ has a cruciform halo inscribed with the letters Ο Ω Ν, i.e. ὁ ὢν "He Who Is". Christ in Majesty Christ the Redeemer Depiction of Jesus Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo Salvator Mundi Transfiguration of Jesus The Christ Pantocrator Icon at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai The icon Christ Pantocrator at Chilandar Monastery on Holy Mount Athos The Deesis Pantocrator in Hagia Sophia
A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches, associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; the word deacon is derived from the Greek word diákonos, a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man", "minister", or "messenger". One promulgated speculation as to its etymology is that it means "through the dust", referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger, it is assumed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men by the apostles, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in Acts 6. The title deaconess is not found in the Bible. However, one woman, Phoebe, is mentioned at Romans 16:1–2 as a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. Nothing more specific is said about her duties or authority, although it is assumed she carried Paul's Letter to the Romans.
The exact relationship between male and female deacons varies. In some traditions a female deacon is a member of the order of deacons, while in others, deaconesses constitute a separate order. In some traditions, the title "deaconess" was sometimes given to the wife of a deacon. Female deacons are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter to the emperor Trajan dated c. 112. “I believed it was necessary to find out from two female slaves who were called deacons, what was true—and to find out through torture ”This is the earliest Latin text that appears to refer to female deacons as a distinct category of Christian minister. A biblical description of the qualities required of a deacon, of his household, can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1–13. Among the more prominent deacons in history are Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Prominent historical figures who played major roles as deacons and went on to higher office include Athanasius of Alexandria, Thomas Becket, Reginald Pole. On June 8, 536, a serving Roman deacon was raised to Silverius.
The title is used for the president, chairperson, or head of a trades guild in Scotland. The diaconate is one of the major orders in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches; the other major orders are those of bishop and presbyter and sub-deacon. While the diaconate as a vocation was maintained from earliest Apostolic times to the present in the Eastern churches, it disappeared in the Western church during the first millennium, with Western churches retaining deacons attached to diocesan cathedrals; the diaconate continued in a vestigial form as a temporary, final step along the course toward ordination to priesthood. In the 20th century, the diaconate was restored as a vocational order in many Western churches, most notably in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the United Methodist Church. In Catholic and Anglican churches, deacons assist priests in their pastoral and administrative duties, but report directly to the bishops of their diocese, they have a distinctive role in the liturgy of the Western Churches.
In the Eastern Church, deacons have a profound liturgical presence in the Divine Liturgy. In the Western Church, Pope St. Gregory the Great reduced the liturgical role of the deacon in the Roman Rite, limiting them to serving the bishop, the proclamation of the Gospel, assisting the celebrant at the altar aside from the deacon's calling of charity. Today, deacons are granted permission to preach. Beginning around the fifth century, there was a gradual decline in the permanent diaconate in the Latin church, it has however remained a vital part of the Eastern Catholic Churches. From that time until the years just prior to the Second Vatican Council, the only men ordained as deacons were seminarians who were completing the last year or so of graduate theological training, so-called "transitional deacons", who received the order after they complete their third year at the theological seminary, several months before priestly ordination. Following the recommendations of the council, in 1967 Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, restoring the ancient practice of ordaining to the diaconate men who were not candidates for priestly ordination.
These men are known as permanent deacons in contrast to those continuing their formation, who were called transitional deacons. There is no sacramental or canonical difference between the two, however, as there is only one order of deacons; the permanent diaconate formation period in the Roman Catholic Church varies from diocese to diocese as it is determined by the local ordinary. But it entails a year of prayerful preparation, a four- or five-year training period that resembles a collegiate course of study, a year of post-ordination formation as well as the need for lifelong continuing education credits. Diaconal candidates receive instruction in philosophy, study of the Holy Scriptures (
Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is an autocephalous patriarchate, part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its seat is in Alexandria and it has canonical responsibility for the entire African continent, it is called the Greek or Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, part of Oriental Orthodoxy. Members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were once referred to as "Melkites" by non-Chalcedonian Christians because they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Mark the Evangelist is considered the founder of the See, the Patriarchate's emblem is the Lion of Saint Mark; the head bishop of the Patriarchate of Alexandria is the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Theodore II of Alexandria. His full title is "His Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Pentapolis, all the land of Egypt, all Africa, Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Prelate of Prelates, thirteenth of the Apostles, Judge of the Œcumene".
Like the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, he claims to have succeeded the Apostle Mark the Evangelist in the office of Bishop of Alexandria, who founded the Church in the 1st century, therefore marked the beginning of Christianity in Africa. It is one of the five ancient patriarchates of the early church, called the Pentarchy; the seat of the Patriarchate is the Cathedral of the Annunciation known as the Cathedral of Evangelismos, in Alexandria. The history of the Patriarchate of Alexandria includes some of the greatest and most renowned fathers of the Church the histories of Athanasius and Cyril, who were Patriarchs of Alexandria at the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Ephesus respectively. In the schism, created by the political and Christological controversies at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Church of Alexandria split in two; the majority of the native population did not accede to the Council of Chalcedon, adhering instead to the Miaphysite Christology of the Oriental Orthodox communion, became known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
A small portion of the Church of Alexandria followed Chalcedonian Christology, this became known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, since it used Greek as its liturgical language. Politically, the Greek Orthodox believers were loyal to the Eastern Roman emperor, they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. After the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 7th century - which permanently separated the region from the Byzantine Empire - the Greek Orthodox became an isolated minority in the region among Christians, the church has remained small for centuries. In the 19th century Orthodoxy in Africa began to grow again. One thing that changed this in the 19th century was the Orthodox diaspora. People from Greece and Lebanon, in particular, went to different parts of Africa, some established Orthodox Churches. Many Greeks settled in Alexandria from the 1840s and Orthodoxy began to flourish there again, schools and printing presses were established. For a while there was some confusion outside Egypt.
As happened in other places, Orthodox immigrants would establish an ethnic "community", which would try to provide a church, school and cultural associations. They would try to get a priest for the community in the place they had emigrated from, there was some confusion about which bishops were responsible for these priests. In the 1920s it was agreed that all Orthodox churches in Africa would be under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, so Africa has managed to avoid the jurisdictional confusion that has prevailed in places like America and Australia. In Africa south of the Sahara most of the growth in Christianity began as a result of mission initiatives by Western Christians; these Western-initiated churches were, however often tied to Western culture. The Greek missions to African outposts followed Greek-speaking settlers, as with the missions to America and Australia, still provide cultural links to Greece and the Greek patriarchy in Egypt. African-initiated churches interested in the various forms of Orthodoxy, but finding it difficult to make contact with historic Orthodoxy in the parts of Africa where they lived sought further afield.
In the 1920s some of them made contact with the so-called African Orthodox Church in the USA, notably Daniel William Alexander in South Africa, Ruben Spartas Mukasa in Uganda. In the 1930s, Daniel William Alexander visited first Uganda, Kenya. Spartas, however made contact with Fr Nikodemos Sarikas, a missionary priest in Tanganyika, through him made contact with the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria. In 1946 the African Orthodox groups in Kenya and Uganda were received into the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. In the 1950s, the Orthodox Church in Kenya suffered severe oppression at the hands of the British colonial authorities during the Mau Mau Uprising. Most of the clergy were put in concentration camps, churches and schools were closed. Only the Cathedral in Nairobi (which had a la