Church of Greece
The Church of Greece, part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. However, most of its dioceses are de facto administered as part of the Church of Greece for practical reasons, the primate of the Church of Greece is the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. Mainstream Orthodox clergys salaries and pensions are paid for by the State at rates comparable to those of teachers, the Church had previously compensated the State by a tax of 35% on ordinary revenues of the Church, but Law 3220/2004 in 2004 abolished this tax. By virtue of its status as the religion, the canon law of the Church is recognized by the Greek government in matters pertaining to church administration. This is governed by the Constitution of the Church of Greece, Religious marriages and baptisms are legally equivalent to their civil counterparts and the relevant certificates are issued by officiating clergy. All Greek Orthodox students in primary and secondary schools in Greece attend religious instruction, liaisons between church and state are handled by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
Supreme authority is vested in the synod of all the bishops who have metropolitan status under the de jure presidency of the Archbishop of Athens. This synod deals with general church questions, the Standing Synod is under the same presidency, and consists of the Primate and 12 bishops, each serving for one term on a rotating basis and deals with details of administration. They are called the New Lands as they part of the modern Greek state only after the Balkan Wars. A bishop elected to one of the Sees of the New Lands has to be confirmed by the Patriarch of Constantinople before assuming his duties and these dioceses are administered by the Church of Greece in stewardship and their bishops retain their right of appeal to the Patriarch. As in other Eastern Orthodox Churches, male graduates of seminaries run by the church, may be ordained as deacons and they are allowed to marry before their ordination as deacons, but not afterwards. The vast majority of clergy in Greece are married. Alternatively, they may enter monasteries and/or take monastic vows, monastics who are ordained as priests, and possess a university degree in theology, are eligible as candidates for the episcopate.
Women may take vows and become nuns, but they are not ordained. Monasteries are either affiliated to their diocese, or directly to one of the Orthodox Patriarchates. Those who refused to adopt this change are known as Old Calendarists and they themselves have suffered several schisms, and not all Old Calendarists comprise one Church. They refer to themselves as Genuine Orthodox Christians, and the largest group associating itself with the Old Calendarists is the Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II Kioussis. This Synod has obtained government recognition as a valid Orthodox Church, Greece was an early center of Christianity
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
Since 2005, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III. The Patriarch is styled Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion. The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, the Patriarchate traces its line of succession to the first Christian bishops of Jerusalem, the first being James the Just in the 1st century AD. Jerusalem was granted autocephaly in 451 by the Council of Chalcedon, certainly no spot in Christendom can be more venerable than the place of the Last Supper, which became the first Christian church. James the Just, who was martyred around 62, is described as the first Bishop of Jerusalem and this led to Jerusalem becoming a patriarchate, one of the five patriarchates known as the pentarchy, when the title of patriarch was created in 531 by Justinian. After the Saracen conquest in the 7th century, Muslims recognized Jerusalem as the seat of Christianity, in 1099 the Crusaders appointed a Latin Patriarch.
As a result, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs lived in exile in Constantinople until 1187, the headquarters of the patriarchate is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The number of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land is estimated to be about 200,000, a majority of Church members are Palestinian Arabs, and there are a small number of Assyrians and Georgians. The patriarchate was recently involved in a significant controversy, Patriarch Irenaios, elected in 2001, was deposed, on decisions of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem, in the aftermath of a scandal involving the sale of church land in East Jerusalem to Israeli investors. The move enraged many Eastern Orthodox Palestinian members, since the land was in an area that most Palestinians hoped would become part of a Palestinian state. On May 24,2005 a special Pan-Orthodox Synod was convened in Constantinople to review the decisions of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem. On August 22,2005, the Holy Synod of the Church of Jerusalem unanimously elected Theophilos, the early Christian community of Jerusalem was led by a Council of Elders, and considered itself part of the wider Israelite community.
This collegiate system of government in Jerusalem is seen in Acts 11,30 and 15,22, eusebius of Caesarea provides the names of an unbroken succession of thirty-six Bishops of Jerusalem up to the year 324. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision. The province was renamed Syria Palaestina, Jerusalem was left in total ruin, and a new city built nearby called Aelia Capitolina. These gentile bishops, were appointed under the authority of the Metropolitans of Caesarea, until the setting up of the Patriarchates in 325, Metropolitan was the highest episcopal rank in the Christian church. Also, the Council for the first time established the Patriarchates, the Bishops of Jerusalem were appointed by the Patriarchs of Antioch. Macarius I Maximus III Cyril I John II Praulius Juvenal, since 451 Patriarch The Council of Chalcedon in 451 raised the bishop of Jerusalem to the rank of patriarch
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission to the apostles. It practices what it understands to be the original Christian faith, the Eastern Orthodox Church is a communion of autocephalous churches, each typically governed by a Holy Synod. It teaches that all bishops are equal by virtue of their ordination, prior to the Council of Chalcedon in AD451, the Eastern Orthodox had shared communion with the Oriental Orthodox churches, separating primarily over differences in Christology. Eastern Orthodoxy spread throughout the Roman and Eastern Roman Empires and beyond, playing a prominent role in European, Near Eastern and some African cultures. As a result, the term Greek Orthodox has sometimes used to describe all of Eastern Orthodoxy in general. However, the appellation Greek was never in use and was gradually abandoned by the non-Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox churches. Its most prominent episcopal see is Constantinople, there are many in other parts of the world, formed through immigration and missionary activity.
The official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the Orthodox Catholic Church and it is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, and in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the Church as Catholic and this name and longer variants containing Catholic are recognized and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use, for this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as Greek, even before the great schism. After 1054, Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople and this identification with Greek, became increasingly confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. Today, many of those same Roman churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin.
Eastern, indicates the element in the Churchs origin and development, while Orthodox indicates the faith. While the Church continues officially to call itself Catholic, for reasons of universality, the first known use of the phrase the catholic church occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. Quote of St Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, almost from the very beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the One, Holy and Apostolic Church. The Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same Church, a number of other Christian churches make a similar claim, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church, not directly from the Orthodox Church, the depth of this meaning in the Orthodox Church is registered first in its use of the word Orthodox itself, a union of Greek orthos and doxa
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. It is the worlds largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Apostles Creed and his incarnation, earthly ministry and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning good news. The term gospel refers to accounts of Jesuss life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Luke. Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century, following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization, throughout its history, Christianity has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations.
Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the denominations of Protestantism. There are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible, concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. They began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another. Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church, the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, the Apostles Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists and this particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries.
Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator, each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Most Christians accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the mentioned above. The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God, Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin
This series was seen originally as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. Those who hold for the importance of apostolic succession via episcopal laying on of hands appeal to the New Testament and they appeal as well to other documents of the early Church, especially the Epistle of Clement. Each of these groups does not necessarily consider consecration of the groups as valid. However, some Protestants deny the need for this type of continuity, and these denominations, hold that apostolic succession is understood as a continuity in doctrinal teaching from the time of the apostles to the present. 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. Some Anglicans, in addition to other Protestants, held that apostolic succession may be understood as a continuity in teaching from the time of the apostles to the present.
To fulfil this mission, Christ. Promised the Holy Spirit to the apostles, enriched by Christ the Lord with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual gift has been transmitted down to us by episcopal consecration, how the development of apostolic government is difficult to say accurately because of the absence of certain documents. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop and he uses both bishop and presbyter to refer to these men. That this succession depended on the fact of ordination to a vacant see, on the contrary, other sources clearly state that Mark the Evangelist is the first bishop of Alexandria, he ordained Annianus as his successor bishop as told by Eusebius. He warns that this is open to the objection that it makes grace a material commodity. He adds that the idea cannot be squeezed out of Irenaeus words, cyprian laid great emphasis on the fact that any minister who broke with the Church lost ipso facto the gift of the Spirit which had validated his orders.
This meant that the minister would had no power or authority to celebrate an efficacious sacrament and they hold that this lineage of ordination derives from the Twelve Apostles, thus making the Church the continuation of the early Apostolic Christian community. Cyprian asserts that if any one is not with the bishop and we must necessarily consider none to be really ordained who have not thus been ordained. Raymond E. Brown says that in the stage there were plural bishops or overseers in an individual community. Brown asserts that the ministry was not ordained by the Church to act on its own authority, but as an important part to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ and helps to make the Church what it is
Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genetrix or Deipara, are translated as Mother of God or God-bearer, the Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is the Theotokos because her son Jesus is both God and man, one divine person with two natures intimately and hypostatically united. Similar to this is the title of Mother of God, Mother of God is most often used in English, largely due to the lack of a satisfactory equivalent of Greek τόκος / Latin genetrix. The title has been in use since the 3rd century, in the Syriac tradition in the Liturgy of Mari and Addai, Theotokos is an adjectival compound of two the Greek words Θεός God and τόκος childbirth, offspring. A close paraphrase would be whose offspring is God or who gave birth to one who was God, the usual English translation is simply Mother of God, Latin uses Deipara or Dei Genetrix. The Church Slavonic translation is Bogoroditsa, in an abbreviated form, ΜΡ ΘΥ, it often is found on Eastern icons, where it is used to identify Mary.
The Russian term is Матерь Божия, variant forms are the compounds Θεομήτωρ and Μητρόθεος, which are found in patristic and liturgical texts. The theological dispute over the term concerned the term Θεός God vs. Χριστός Christ, and not τόκος vs. μήτηρ, to make it explicit, it is sometimes translated Mother of God Incarnate. This decree created the Nestorian Schism, Cyril of Alexandria wrote, I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave birth, not. But the argument of Nestorius was that divine and human natures of Christ were distinct, at issue is the interpretation of the Incarnation, and the nature of the hypostatic union of Christs human and divine natures between Christs conception and birth. Within the Orthodox doctrinal teaching on the economy of salvation, Marys identity, for this reason, it is formally defined as official dogma. The only other Mariological teaching so defined is that of her virginity, both of these teachings have a bearing on the identity of Jesus Christ.
The term was certainly in use by the 3rd century, athanasius of Alexandria in 330, Gregory the Theologian in 370, John Chrysostom in 400, and Augustine all used theotokos. Origen is often cited as the earliest author to use theotokos for Mary, although this testimony is uncertain, the term was used c.250 by Dionysius of Alexandria, in an epistle to Paul of Samosata. The Greek version of the hymn Sub tuum praesidium contains the term, in the vocative, the oldest record of this hymn is a papyrus found in Egypt, mostly dated to after 450. But according to a suggestion by de Villiers possibly older, dating to the mid-3rd century, the use of Theotokos was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431. Nestorius opponents, led by Cyril of Alexandria, viewed this as dividing Jesus into two persons, the human who was Son of Mary, and the divine who was not
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. Churches with an episcopal polity are governed by bishops, practicing their authorities in the dioceses and conferences or synods, bishops are considered to derive their authority from an unbroken, personal apostolic succession from the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bishops with such authority are said to represent the historical episcopate or historic episcopate, Churches with this type of government usually believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament. In some systems, bishops may be subject to higher-ranking bishops and they meet in councils or synods. These gatherings, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops, usually make important decisions, for much of the written history of institutional Christianity, episcopal government was the only known form of church organization. The definition of the word episcopal has variation among Christian traditions, there are subtle differences in governmental principles among episcopal churches at the present time.
To some extent the separation of episcopal churches can be traced to these differences in ecclesiology, for some, episcopal churches are churches that use a hierarchy of bishops that regard themselves as being in an unbroken, personal apostolic succession. Episcopal is used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of denominations. For instance, the word presbyterian is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected elders, episcopal is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are referred to as Congregational. More specifically, the title Episcopal is applied to several churches historically based within Anglicanism including those still in communion with the Church of England, many Methodist churches retain the form and function of episcopal polity, although in a modified form, called connexionalism. All orthodox Christians were in churches with a government, that is, one Church under local bishops.
Writing between ca.85 and 110, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Patriarch of Antioch, was the earliest of the Church fathers to define the importance of episcopal government. Assuming Ignatius view was the Apostolic teaching and practice, the line of succession was unbroken and passed through the four ancient Patriarchal sees, Jerusalem, some organizations, though aloof from the political wranglings of imperial Christianity, nevertheless practiced episcopal polity. The single Roman Empire was divided between two autonomous administrative centers and Constantinopolitan, West and East, Latin speaking and Greek speaking. This remained the status quo through the fourth century, a deep chasm developed between the East and West, becoming critical around 350, known as the Aryan, or Nicene controversy. The Eastern Christian Churches were thought by Constantine to believe against the Trinity, Bishop of Poitiers, believed that the Eastern Church should be given the opportunity to, at least, be educated on the subject.
Constantine, in his wisdom, and upset by disagreement, banished Hilary to the East and this truth became known in the West, though some differences lingered
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and certain Eastern Catholic churches. The most common subjects include Christ, saints and/or angels, icons may be cast in metal, carved in stone, embroidered on cloth, painted on wood, done in mosaic or fresco work, printed on paper or metal, etc. Comparable images from Western Christianity are generally not described as icons, Eastern Orthodox tradition holds that the creation of Christian images dates back to the very early days of Christianity, and there is has been a continuous tradition since then. The icons of centuries can be linked, often closely, to images from the 5th century onwards, there was enormous destruction of images during the Byzantine Iconoclasm of 726-842, although this did settle for good the question of the appropriateness of images. Since icons have had a continuity of style and subject. At the same time there has been change and development, Christian tradition dating from the 8th century identifies Luke the Evangelist as the first icon painter.
Aside from the legend that Pilate had made an image of Christ and he relates that King Abgar of Edessa sent a letter to Jesus at Jerusalem, asking Jesus to come and heal him of an illness. In this version there is no image, further legends relate that the cloth remained in Edessa until the 10th century, when it was taken to Constantinople. It went missing in 1204 when Crusaders sacked Constantinople, but by numerous copies had firmly established its iconic type. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have other modes of honouring these images, after the manner of the Gentiles. And he called him and said, what do you mean by this matter of the portrait, can it be one of thy gods that is painted here. For I see that you are living in heathen fashion. Later in the passage John says, But this that you have now done is childish and imperfect, at least some of the hierarchy of the Christian churches still strictly opposed icons in the early 4th century.
At the Spanish non-ecumenical Synod of Elvira bishops concluded, Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration. to our religion. After the emperor Constantine I extended official toleration of Christianity within the Roman Empire in 313 and this period of Christianization probably saw the use of Christian images became very widespread among the faithful, though with great differences from pagan habits. Robin Lane Fox states By the early century, we know of the ownership of private icons of saints. 480-500, we can be sure that the inside of a saints shrine would be adorned with images and votive portraits, when Constantine himself apparently converted to Christianity, the majority of his subjects remained pagans
Andrew the Apostle
Andrew the Apostle, known as Saint Andrew and called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos or the First-called, was a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name Andrew, like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, no Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. According to Orthodox tradition, the successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter and he was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he make them fishers of men. At the beginning of Jesus public life, they were said to have occupied the house at Capernaum. In the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Mark Simon Peter and these narratives record that Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, observed Simon and Andrew fishing, and called them to discipleship.
In the parallel incident in the Gospel of Luke Andrew is not named, the narrative indicates that Simon was not the only fisherman in the boat but it is not until the next chapter that Andrew is named as Simons brother. However, it is understood that Andrew was fishing with Simon on the night in question. Matthew Poole, in his Annotations on the Holy Bible, stressed that Luke denies not that Andrew was there. In contrast, the Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother. Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ, on a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and they left all things to follow Jesus. Subsequently, in the gospels, Andrew is referred to as being present on important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus. Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, Andrew was present at the Last Supper.
Andrew was one of the four disciples who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about the signs of Jesus return at the end of the age, Eusebius in his church history 3,1 quoted Origen as saying that Andrew preached in Scythia. The Chronicle of Nestor adds that he preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, hence, he became a patron saint of Ukraine and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium in AD38, according to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew. Basil of Seleucia knew of Apostle Andrews missions in Thrace and this diocese would develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople
Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church
The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Mount Athos, and the Greek Orthodox Churches in the diaspora under the Patriarchate use a black double-headed eagle in a yellow field as their flag or emblem. The eagle is depicted as clutching a sceptre and an orb with a crown above, an earlier variant of the flag, used in the 1980s, combined the double-headed eagle design with the blue-and-white stripes of the flag of Greece. The design is dubbed the Byzantine imperial flag, and is considered—inaccurately—to have been the actual historical banner of the Byzantine Empire. The actual flag of the Palaiologan-era Byzantine Empire was based on the cross in gold on a red background. This design forms the basis for another flag used by the Orthodox Church of Greece, with the added inscription of TOYTῼ NIKA
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
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