Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fourteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, from that time, the importance of the church there grew, along with the influence of its bishop. With the development of the structure of the Church, the bishop of Constantinople came to be styled as exarch. Constantinople was recognized as the patriarchate at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, after Antioch, Alexandria. The patriarch was usually appointed by Antioch, in turn, the affairs of the Constantinopolitan church were overseen not just by the patriarch, but by synods held including visiting bishops. This pan-Orthodox synod came to be referred to as the ενδημουσα συνοδος, the resident synod not only governed the business of the patriarchate but examined questions pertinent to the whole Church as well as the eastern half of the old empire. As the Roman Empire stabilized and grew, so did the influence of the patriarchate at its capital, the council resulted in a schism with the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
The cathedral church of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia, was the center of life in the eastern Christian world. In history and in literature, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been granted certain prerogatives which other autocephalous Orthodox churches do not have. Not all of these prerogatives are today universally acknowledged, though all do have precedents in history and canonical references. The emperor Leo III issued a decree in 726 against images, and ordered the destruction of an image of Christ over one of the doors of the Chalke, an act which was fiercely resisted by the citizens. Following the death of his son Leo IV in 780, the empress Irene restored the veneration of images through the agency of the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. The iconoclast controversy returned in the early 9th century, only to be resolved once more in 843 during the regency of Empress Theodora and these controversies contributed to the deterioration of relations between the Western and the Eastern Churches. Most of the causes of the Great Schism, are far less grandiose than the famous Filioque.
The relations between the papacy and the Byzantine court were good in the leading up to 1054. The emperor Constantine IX and the Pope Leo IX were allied through the mediation of the Lombard catepan of Italy, who had spent years in Constantinople, originally as a political prisoner. Patriarch Michael I ordered a letter to be written to the bishop of Trani in which he attacked the Judaistic practices of the West, the letter was to be sent by John to all the bishops of the West, including the Pope. Although he was hot-headed, Michael was convinced to cool the debate, however and the pope made no concessions and the former was sent with legatine powers to the imperial capital to solve the questions raised once and for all
Albanian Orthodox Church
The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania is one of the newest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. It declared its autocephaly in 1922 through its Congress of 1922, the church has, seen a revival since religious freedom was restored in 1991, with more than 250 churches rebuilt or restored, and more than 100 clergy being ordained. It has 909 parishes spread all around Albania, and around 500,000 to 550,000 faithful, the number is claimed to be as high as 700,000 by some Orthodox sources – and higher when considering the Albanian diaspora. Saint Paul wrote that he preached in the Roman province of Illyricum, However it was with Constantine the Great, who issued the Edict of Milan and legalized Christianity, that the Christian religion became official in the lands of modern Albania. When Albania came under Ottoman influence in the 15th century the Orthodox people of Albania were members of the Archbishopric of Ohrid which was recognized by the Ottoman Empire. Following the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century, a conversion of Albanians to Islam started.
By mid-19th century, because of the Tanzimat reforms started in 1839, which imposed mandatory military service on non-Muslims, under Ottoman rule, the remaining Eastern Orthodox population of Albania south of the Drin river was integrated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In March 1908, Noli thus led the first time in Albanian the Orthodox liturgy for the Albanian-American community, Noli had prepared his own translation of the liturgy into Albanian, and used it during a tour several major cities of Europe in 1911. Soon after Albanian independence in 1912, traveled to Albania where he would be ordained a bishop, the Church declared its autocephaly in Berat on September 17,1922, at its first Orthodox Congress. At the end of the congress the First Statute of the Church was approved, the Church had a Second Statute that amended the First Statute in a second congress gathered in Korçë on June 29,1929. Also on September 6,1929, the first Regulation of General Administration of the Church was approved, on November 26,1950, the Parliament of Albania approved the Third Statute that abrogated the 1929 Statute.
Such new statute required Albanian citizenship for the primate of the church in its article 4, with the exception of the amendments made in 1993, this statute is still in force for the Church. On January 21,1993, the 1950 statute was amended and 1996 it was approved by the President of the Republic Sali Berisha, in particular article 4 of the 1950 statute that required Albanian citizenship for primate of the church was no longer required. On November 3 and 4,2006, at the new Monastery of St. Vlash in Durrës, there was a special Clergy-Laity Assembly of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, at this Assembly the New Constitution of the Church was analyzed and accept unanimously. On November 6,2006, the Holy Synod approved this Constitution, the agreement was ratified by the Albanian Parliament, and became law nr.10057,01.22.2009 of the Albanian State. The Primate of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania is the Archbishop of Tirana, the current Archbishop of Tirana is Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.
In 1952 Archbishop Kristofor was discovered dead, most believed he had been killed, in 1967 Hoxha closed down all churches and mosques in the country, and declared Albania the worlds first atheist country. All expression of religion, public or private, was outlawed, hundreds of priests and imams were killed or imprisoned
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. The ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity, in the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, and in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. Within the five sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th holder of the title, in his role as head of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, he holds the title Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome. The see of Byzantium, whose foundation was ascribed to Andrew the Apostle, was originally a common bishopric. It gained importance when Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to a second capital alongside Rome, the sees ecclesiastical status as the second of five Patriarchates were developed by the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople in 381 and Chalcedon in 451.
The Turkish government recognizes him as the leader of the Greek minority in Turkey. The Patriarch was subject to the authority of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to Turkish law, he is subject to the authority of the state of Turkey and is required to be a citizen of Turkey to be Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been dubbed the Ecumenical Patriarch since the 6th century, the monastic communities of Mount Athos are stauropegic and are directly under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch, who is the only bishop with jurisdiction thereover. The Ecumenical Patriarch has a role among Orthodox bishops, though it is not without its controversy. He is primus inter pares, as he is senior among all Orthodox bishops and this primacy, expressed in canonical literature as presbeia, grants to the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to preside at pan-Orthodox synods. Additionally, the literature of the Orthodox Church grants to the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to hear appeals in cases of dispute between bishops.
Historically, the Ecumenical Patriarch has heard such appeals and sometimes was invited to intervene in other disputes and difficulties. Even as early as the 4th century, Constantinople was instrumental in the deposition of multiple bishops outside its traditional jurisdiction. This still occurs today, as when in 2006 the patriarchate was invited to assist in declaring the archbishop of the Church of Cyprus incompetent due to his having Alzheimers disease. Additionally, in 2005, the Ecumenical Patriarchate convoked a synod to express the Orthodox worlds confirmation of the deposition of Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem. That is, his role is one of promoting and sustaining Church unity. Such a title is acceptable if it refers to this unique role, the five patriarchs of the ancient Pentarchy are to be given seniority of honour, but have no actual power over other bishops other than the power of the synod they are chairing
Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have changed the history of architecture. It remained the worlds largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years and it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The church contained a collection of relics and featured, among other things. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, by that point, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made an impression on the new Ottoman rulers. Islamic features—such as the mihrab and four minarets—were added and it remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years.
It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, from its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed, both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, a tradition which is not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great.
Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, and Constantine died in 337, the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with galleries and a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium and it was claimed to be one of the worlds most outstanding monuments at the time. The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostom came into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Arcadius, during the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down. Nothing remains of the first church today, a second church on the site was ordered by Theodosius II, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
It was recognized as independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 927 AD. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church considers itself a member of the one, synodal. The dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are divided into 58 church counties, Church life in the parishes is guided by the parish priests, numbering some 1,500. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has some 120 monasteries in Bulgaria, with about 2,000 monks and nearly as many nuns. Christianity was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, by the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the region. Towns such as Serdica, Philipopolis and Adrianople were significant centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire, Christianity started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs, especially those living in Thrace, the process of conversion enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility.
It was not until the adoption of Christianity by Prince Boris I in 865 that an independent Bulgarian ecclesiastical entity was established. Boris I believed that cultural advancement and the sovereignty and prestige of a Christian Bulgaria could be achieved through an enlightened clergy governed by an autocephalous church, the archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state. Although the archbishopric enjoyed full autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. Thus, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the recently deceased Saints Cyril, Boris I gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril. The liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki, in 893, Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacement of the Greek language with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.
It was the sixth Patriarchate after Rome, Jerusalem, the seat of the Patriarchate was the new Bulgarian capital of Preslav. The Patriarch was likely to have resided in the town of Drastar, on April 5,972, Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimisces conquered and burned down Preslav, and captured Bulgarian Tsar Boris II. Patriarch Damyan managed to escape, initially to Sredetz in western Bulgaria, Patriarch German resided consecutively in Medieval Bulgarian cities of Maglen and Voden, and Prespa. Around 990, the patriarch, moved to Ohrid. After the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine domination in 1018, Emperor Basil II Bulgaroktonos acknowledged the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, by special charters, his government set up its boundaries, dioceses and other privileges. The church was deprived of its Patriarchal title and reduced to the rank of an archbishopric, although the first appointed archbishop was a Bulgarian, his successors, as well as the whole higher clergy, were invariably Byzantine
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognised as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites, many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Sacraments signify Gods grace in a way that is observable to the participant. The Catholic Church recognises seven sacraments, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, many Protestant denominations, such as those within the Reformed tradition, identify two sacraments instituted by Christ, the Eucharist and Baptism. The Lutheran sacraments include these two, often adding Confession as a third sacrament, the English word sacrament is derived indirectly from the Ecclesiastical Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrō, from sacer. This in turn is derived from the Greek New Testament word mysterion and these seven sacraments were codified in the documents of the Council of Trent, which stated, CANON I.
During the Middle Ages, sacraments were recorded in Latin, even after the Reformation, many ecclesiastical leaders continued using this practice into the 20th century. On occasion, Protestant ministers followed the same practice, since W was not part of the Latin alphabet, scribes only used it when dealing with names or places. In addition, names were modified to fit a Latin mold, for instance, the name Joseph would be rendered as Iosephus or Josephus. The Catholic Church indicates that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, the Church applies this teaching even to the sacrament of baptism, the gateway to the other sacraments. It states that Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can be saved without Baptism. The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God, in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.
The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions, the Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, strengthen, through each of them, Christ bestows that sacraments particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service. The Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, however it recognizes these seven as the major sacraments, which are completed by many other blessings and special services. Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the consecration of a church, monastic tonsure, more specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox the term sacrament is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify.
According to Orthodox thinking God touches mankind through material means such as water, bread, incense, altars, how God does this is a mystery
Romanian Orthodox Church
The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches and ranked seventh in order of precedence. Since 1925, the Churchs Primate bears the title of Patriarch, currently it is the only self-governing Church within Orthodoxy to have a Romance language for its principal and native tongue. The majority of Romanias population, as well as some 720,000 Moldovans, the Romanian Orthodox Church is the second-largest in size behind the Russian Orthodox Church. Members of the Romanian Orthodox Church sometimes refer to Orthodox Christian doctrine as Dreapta credință, in 1859, the political union of the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia resulted in the formation of the modern state of Romania. The 1866 Constitution of Romania declared the Orthodox Church to be independent of any hierarchy. Restricted access to ecclesiastical and relevant state archives makes an accurate assessment of the Romanian Orthodox Churchs attitude towards the Communist regime a difficult proposition.
The Romanian Communist Party, which assumed power at the end of 1947. Three archbishops died suddenly after expressing opposition to government policies, 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, the evangelical wing of the Romanian Orthodox Church, known as the Army of the Lord, was suppressed by communist authorities in 1948. As a result of measures passed in 1947-48, the took over the 2,300 elementary schools and 24 high schools operated by the Orthodox Church. The Romanian Orthodox Church, a national body that had made significant contributions to Romanian culture from the 14th century on. As a result of this second co-optation, this time as an ally, by 1975, its diocesan clergy was numbering about 12,000, and the church was already publishing by eight high-quality theological reviews, including Ortodoxia and Studii Teologice.
As of 1989, two metropolitan bishops even sat in the Great National Assembly, the members of the churchs hierarchy and clergy remained mostly silent as some two dozen historic Bucharest churches were demolished in the 1980s, and as plans for systematization were announced. In an attempt to adapt to the newly created circumstances, the Orthodox Church proposed a new ecclesiology designed to justify its subservience to the state in supposedly theological terms. This so-called Social Apostolate doctrine, developed by Patriarch Justinian, asserted that the church owed allegiance to the secular government and this notion inflamed conservatives, who were consequently purged by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Ceaușescus predecessor and a friend of Justinians. The Social Apostolate called on clerics to become active in the Peoples Republic, thus laying the foundation for the submission to. Based on this alleged grounding in tradition, Vasilescu concluded that Christians owed submission to their rulers as if it were the will of God.
Widespread dissent from religious groups in Romania did not appear until revolution was sweeping across Eastern Europe in 1989 and it was not until the day before Ceaușescus execution on December 24,1989 that the Patriarch condemned him as a new child-murdering Herod
Georgian Orthodox Church
The Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in full communion with the other churches of Eastern Orthodoxy. It is Georgias dominant religious institution, and a majority of Georgian people are members and it asserts apostolic foundation, and its historical roots can be traced to the Christianization of Iberia by Saint Nino in the 4th century AD. As in similar autocephalous Orthodox churches, the Churchs highest governing body is the Holy Synod of bishops, the church is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, currently Ilia II, who was elected in 1977. The current Constitution of Georgia recognizes the role of the Georgian Orthodox Church in the countrys history. Government relations are defined and regulated by the Concordat of 2002. The church is the most trusted institution in Georgia, according to a 2013 survey 95% respondents had a favorable opinion of its work. It is highly influential in the sphere and is considered Georgias most influential institution.
According to Georgian Orthodox Church tradition, the first preacher of the Gospel in Colchis and Iberia was the apostle Andrew, the First-called. However, modern historiography considers this account mythical, and the fruit of a late tradition, similar traditions regarding Saint Andrew exist in Ukraine and Romania. The Church claims the presence in Georgia of the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, the propagation of Christianity in present-day Georgia before the 4th century is still poorly known. The first documented event in this process is the preaching of Saint Nino and its consequences, Saint Nino, honored as Equal to the Apostles, was according to tradition the daughter of a Roman general from Cappadocia. She preached in the kingdom of Iberia in the first half of the 4th century, cyril Toumanoff dates the conversion of Mirian to 334, his official baptism and subsequent adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Iberia to 337. From the first centuries C. E. the cult of Mithras, pagan beliefs, the royal baptism and organization of the Church were accomplished by priests sent from Constantinople by Constantine the Great.
Conversion of the people of Kartli proceeded quickly in the plains, the conversion of Kartli marked only the beginnings of the formation of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In the next centuries, different processes took place that shaped the Church, and gave it, by the beginning of the 11th century, the main characteristics that it has retained until now. In the 4th and 5th centuries, the Church of Kartli was strictly subordinate to the Apostolic See of Antioch, in 1010, the Catholicos of Kartli was elevated to the honor of Patriarch. From on, the hierarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church carried the official title of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. At the beginnings of the Church history, what is now Georgia was not unified yet politically, such division was reflected in major differences in the development of Christianity
Eastern Christian monasticism
Eastern Christian Monasticism is the life followed by monks and nuns of Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East and Eastern Catholicism. Monasticism began in the East, and it is in the East that it continues to this day to have the strongest influence on the life of the local Christian communities. The mystical and other-worldly nature of the Christian message very early laid the groundwork for the ascetical life. The example of the Old Testament Prophets, of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself, going into the wilderness to pray and we read of communities of virgins living a common life committed to celibacy and virtue. The accounts of some of these virgins are preserved in the martyrologies of the day, the beginning of monasticism per-se comes right at the end of the Great Persecution of Diocletian, and the founder is Saint Anthony the Great. St. Anthony was among the Desert Fathers - those who left the world to seek God in the silence, around him gathered many disciples, whom he guided in the spiritual life.
These first monks were hermits, solitaries who battled temptation alone in the wilderness, as time went on, monks began to congregate into closer communities. Saint Pachomius is regarded as the founder of monasticism, wherein all live the common life together in a single place under the direction of a single Abbot. The first such monastery was in Tabennisi, Saint Theodore of Egypt, the principle disciple of St. Pachomius, succeeded him as head of the monastic community at Tabennisi. He would go on to found a type of monastic institution. A skete is composed of individual monastic dwellings surrounding a common church, each monk lives by himself, or with one or two others, coming together only on Sundays and feast days. The rest of the time they spend working and praying alone, on this threefold foundation all subsequent Christian monasticism was built. As the birthplace of monasticism, Egypt has continued the monastic tradition unbroken until the present day, like the Byzantines, monasticism has continued to play a crucial role in the life of the church, and bishops are always chosen from among the ranks of monks.
After the Islamic invasion in 639, the Egyptian Christians found themselves dispossessed in their own land, a number of Coptic monasteries have been established in the New World. Ethiopia was one of the first nations to accept Christianity, officially converting in 341, king Abreha became the first sovereign in the world to engrave the Sign of the Cross on his coins. From the year 341 it was subject to the Patriarch of Alexandria, the church is officially known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. In 480 the Nine Saints came from the Mediterranean world to establish Ethiopian monasticism which has continued to flourish despite wars and inaccessible monasteries are still occupied to this day throughout the Christian regions of the country. The Ethiopian Church maintains monasteries in the Holy Land, most notably Deir Es-Sultan, Monasticism was very popular in early Syrian and Mesopotamian Christianity, and originally all monks and nuns there were hermits
Eastern Orthodox theology
Eastern Orthodox Christian theology is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians believe in a single God who is three and one, the Father and Holy Spirit, one in essence. The Holy Trinity is three unconfused and distinct divine persons, who share one divine essence, uncreated and eternal, the Father is the eternal source of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally. The essence of God being that which is beyond human comprehension, Orthodox Christians believe the incarnate Word of God is one person in two natures, both fully divine and fully human, perfectly God and perfectly man. Throughout the ages this has been a point of contention between schismatic Christian theological factions and the body of Christian believers. Christ had a divine will, or set of desires and spiritual incentives, and he had a human body, human mind, and human spirit able to be tempted with sin and to suffer the same way as we would.
In this way God is said to have suffered and died in the flesh of Jesus, although the nature is itself impassible. He is said to have been begotten timelessly as God without a mother, Orthodox Christians believe in the betrayal, execution and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he truly rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. The feast of the resurrection of Christ, which is called Easter in Germanic languages, is known as Pascha in the Orthodox Church and this is the Aramaic variant of the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. The resurrection of Christ is the Christian Passover, Pascha is called the Feast of Feasts and is considered the greatest feast of all the Churchs liturgical feasts, including the feasts of the Nativity and the Annunciation. Energies and essence are both inseparably God, the divine energies are the expressions of divine being in action according to Orthodox doctrine, whereas the persons of the Trinity are divine by nature. Hence, created beings are united to God through participation in the divine energies, Orthodox Christians hold that man was originally created in communion with God, but through acting in a manner contrary to his own nature, he disrupted that communion.
Because of mans refusal to fulfill the image and likeness of God within him, but when Jesus came into the world He Himself was Perfect Man and Perfect God united in the divine Hypostasis of the Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Through his assumption of human nature, human existence was restored, enabling human beings, the Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image. In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death, therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once and for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation Salvation, or being saved, refers to process of being saved from death and corruption. The Orthodox Church believes that its teachings and practices represent the path to participation in the gifts of God. Yet, it should be understood that the Orthodox do not believe that you must be Orthodox to participate in salvation, the Orthodox believe that there is nothing that a person can do to earn salvation
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator refers to a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is, used in context, a translation of one of many names of God in Judaism. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, in the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul. Aside from that one occurrence, John of Patmos is the only New Testament author to use the word Pantokrator, the most common translation of Pantocrator is Almighty or All-powerful. In this understanding, Pantokrator is a word formed from the Greek words πᾶς, pas, i. e. all and κράτος, kratos, i. e. strength, might. This is often understood in terms of power, i. e. ability to do anything. Another, more literal translation is Ruler of All or, less literally, 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 Gods actual power, i. e, the Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants.
In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity. The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most widely used images of Orthodox Christianity. Some scholars consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, 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, 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 gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face. It was only when the overpainting was cleaned in 1962 that the ancient image was revealed to be a high quality icon. The left hand holds a book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross. An icon where Christ has a book is called Christ the Teacher.
Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, and his head is surrounded by a halo, the icon is usually shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors. Often, the name of Christ is written on each side of the halo, as IC, christs fingers are depicted in a pose that represents the letters IC, X and C, thereby making the Christogram ICXC
History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
The history of the Orthodox Church is traced back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The Apostles appointed successors, known as bishops, and they in turn appointed other bishops in a known as Apostolic succession. Over time, five Patriarchates were established to organize the Christian world, in the early Middle Ages, Orthodox missionaries spread Christianity towards the north, to the Bulgarians, Serbs and others. In the Late Middle Ages, the Fall of Constantinople brought a part of the worlds Orthodox Christians under Ottoman Turkish rule. Nevertheless, Orthodoxy continued to flourish in Russia, as well as within the Ottoman Empire among the latters Christian subject peoples, four stages of development can be distinguished in the history of the Orthodox Church. Early Christianity, which represents the first three centuries through the age of Constantine the Great, constitutes the Apostolic and ancient period. The Byzantine period, beginning with the time of the Ecumenical Councils, the last stage is the modern period.
The Orthodox jurisdictions with the largest number of adherents in modern times are the Russian, the Ethiopian, the most ancient of the Orthodox communities existing today are the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Armenia and Ethiopia. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, early growth occurred in the two political centers of Rome and Greece, as well as in Byzantium. Historically the word church did not mean a building or housing structure, the earliest Ecclesiology would posit that the Eucharistic assembly, under the authority and permission of a Bishop, is what constitutes a Church. As St. Ignatius of Antioch said, Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop, Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude be, even as, wherever Jesus Christ is and it is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast.
The church of Rome by tradition was founded by both Saint Peter and Saint Paul, systematic persecution of the early Christian church caused it to become an underground movement. The first above-ground legal churches were built in Armenia, Armenia became the first country to legalize Christianity under King Tiridates III and embrace it as the state religion in 310 AD. However, illegal churches before Christian legalization are mentioned throughout history, for example. Also noteworthy are the Church of St Peter in Antioch and the Cenacle in Jerusalem, much of the official organizing of the ecclesiastical structure, clarifying true from false teachings was done by the bishops of the church. Their works are referred to as Patristics and this tradition of clarification can be seen as established in the saints of the Orthodox Church referred to as the Apostolic Fathers, bishops themselves established by apostolic succession. This continued into the age when the practice of the religion of Christianity became legal, the Biblical canon began with the officially accepted books of the Koine Greek Old Testament