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
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
Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, called the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Church within the wider communion of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It is headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the incumbent being Theophilos III since 2005. Christians believe that it was in Jerusalem that the Church was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ and that the Gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem; the Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine Rite, whose original language is Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, follows its own calendar of feasts, preserving the Julian calendar. It is often called "Σιωνίτις Εκκλησία"; the number of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land is estimated at about 500,000. A majority of Church members are Palestinians and Jordanians, there are many Russians and Georgians; the Church's hierarchy is dominated by Greek clergy, which in effect excludes the Arab majority from the Church's upper ranks.
This has been a point of endless contention between Greeks in the patriarchate, who are backed in this regard by the Greek government and the Turkey-based Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the native Palestinian clergy- some of whom seek to nationalize their Church's leadership.. The headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On the importance of Jerusalem, the Catholic Encyclopedia reads: During the first Christian centuries the church at this place was the centre of Christianity in Jerusalem, "Holy and glorious Sion, mother of all churches." No spot in Christendom can be more venerable than the place of the Last Supper, which became the first Christian church. In the Apostolic Age, Christianity consisted of an indefinite number of local Churches that in the initial years looked to Jerusalem as its main centre and point of reference; some found their way to Antioch, where they undertook evangelical efforts, to whom the term "Christians" was first used.
Before the outbreak of the First Jewish–Roman War and the destruction of Herod's Temple in 70 by Titus, Christians led by Simeon fled to Pella in Decapolis, where they remained until 135. The Jews of Judea again revolted against Rome in the Bar Kokhba revolt. By or during that time, the Christians had returned to Jerusalem. However, to punish the Jews for their revolt and to prevent further unrest, Jerusalem was made a Roman colony and renamed Aelia Capitolina by Hadrian. In 135, the Metropolitan of Caesarea appointed Marcus as the first bishop of the renamed Church of Aelia Capitolina, he was the first gentile bishop of the Church of Jerusalem, all the previous ones having been Jewish. The persecution of Jews by Roman authorities in Judea increased, with most of the Jewish and Christian population of Judea being enslaved and dispersed throughout the Roman Empire; the importance and place of Jerusalem in the life of the Christian Church diminished, though a Jewish and Christian remnant always remained in the city and the land.
Despite the strife and meager population, bishops continued to be elected or named. Eusebius of Caesarea provides the names of an unbroken succession of thirty-six Bishops of Jerusalem up to the year 324; the first sixteen of these bishops were Jewish—from James the Just to Judas —and the remainder were Gentiles. The Metropolitans of Caesarea continued to appoint the bishops of Aelia Capitolina until 325. At the First Council of Nicaea in 325, though the bishop of Aelia Capitolina was still subordinate to the Metropolitan of Caesarea, the Council accorded the bishop a certain undefined precedence in its seventh canon. In a decree issued from the seventh session of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451 the Bishop of Jerusalem was elevated to the rank of Patriarch, ranked fifth after the Sees of Rome, Constantinople and Antioch. Since the Church of Jerusalem has remained an autocephalous Church. Jerusalem was established as a patriarchate because of the holiness of the place; the Persians occupied Jerusalem in 614 and took Patriarch Zachariah prisoner, along with the palladium of Christianity, the Precious Cross.
Chrysostomos Papadopoulos writes in his history of the Patriarchate: "The Churches and the monasteries and outside Jerusalem, were destroyed. Anything good that existed was plundered by the invaders; the monks were slaughtered mercilessly those of St Savvas Monastery." In 637, after a long siege of Jerusalem, Patriarch Sophronius surrendered Jerusalem to Caliph Umar, but secured the Covenant of Umar I, which recognised Christian rig
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East and Lutheran churches or denominations, other churches founded independently from these lineages. Churches with an episcopal polity are governed by bishops, practicing their authorities in the dioceses and conferences or synods, their leadership is both constitutional. 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 historic episcopate. Churches with this type of government believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament. In some systems, bishops may be subject to bishops holding a higher office, they meet in councils or synods.
These gatherings, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops make important decisions, though the synod or council may be purely advisory. For much of the written history of institutional Christianity, episcopal government was the only known form of church organization; this changed at the Reformation. Many Protestant churches are now organized by either congregational or presbyterian church polities, both descended from the writings of John Calvin, a Protestant reformer working and writing independently following the break with the Roman Catholic Church precipitated by The Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther; 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, that is, their theological understanding of church and church governance. 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 commonly used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of denominations. For instance, "Presbyterian" is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected elders, referred to as Presbyterian polity. "episcopal" is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are described as "congregational". More the capitalized appellation "Episcopal" is applied to several churches based within Anglicanism, including those still in communion with the Church of England. Using these definitions, examples of specific episcopal churches include: The Catholic Church The Eastern Orthodox Church The Oriental Orthodox churches The Assyrian Church of the East The Churches of the Anglican Communion The Old Catholic churches Numerous smaller "catholic" churches Certain national churches of the Lutheran confession The African Methodist Episcopal Church The United Methodist ChurchSome Lutheran churches practice congregational polity or a form of presbyterian polity.
Others, including the Church of Sweden, practice episcopal polity. Many Methodist churches retain the form and function of episcopal polity, although in a modified form, called connexionalism. Since all trace their ordinations to an Anglican priest, John Wesley, it is considered that their bishops do not share in apostolic succession, though United Methodists still affirm that their bishops share in the historic episcopate. All orthodox Christians were in churches with an episcopal government, that is, one Church under local bishops and regional Patriarchs. 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 and Alexandria. Rome was the leading Patriarchate of the ancient four by virtue of its founding by Saints Peter and Paul and their martyrdom there, not to mention being the political center of the Roman empire at the time.
Some organizations, though aloof from the political wranglings of imperial Christianity also practiced episcopal polity. Shortly after the Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity in 321, he constructed an elaborate second capital of the Roman Empire located at Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople, in 324; the single Roman Empire was divided between these two autonomous administrative centers and Constantinopolitan, West and East, Latin speaking and Greek speaking. This
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'; the ROC, as well as the primate thereof ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019; the Christianization of Kievan Rus' seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia and Ukraine and parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China; the ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy. The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, another autocephalous Orthodox church, that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century; the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in the United States.
The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city; the spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Southern Russia.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. 866–867. By the mid-10th century, there was a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Bulgarian and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′, born a Christian, her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus' a Christian state. The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' is believed to have occurred in 988 AD, when Prince Vladimir was baptised himself and ordered his people to be baptised by the priests from the Eastern Roman Empire; the Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed the metropolitan, a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'. The Kiev Metropolitan's residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state; as Kiev was losing its political and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299.
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were tolerant and granted tax exemption to the church; such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Mongol rule, to expand both economically and spiritually. The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others; the followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1439, at t
Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric
The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, or the Macedonian Orthodox Church, is the largest body of Christians in the Republic of North Macedonia. It claims ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Republic of North Macedonia and is represented in the Macedonian diaspora. In 1959, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the then-Socialist Republic of Macedonia as the restoration of the historic Archbishopric of Ohrid, it remained in canonical unity with the Serbian Church under their Patriarch. In 1967, on the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the Macedonian Holy Synod unilaterally announced its autocephaly and independence from the Serbian Orthodox Church; the Serbian Holy Synod condemned the clergy as schismatic. Thenceforth, the Macedonian Church has remained unrecognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and all the other canonical Orthodox churches in defense of Serbian opposition.
Since May 2018 however, the Church′s status has been under examination by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The primate of the Macedonian Orthodox Church is the Metropolitan of Skopje and Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia and of Justiniana Prima. After the fall of the First Bulgarian Empire, Byzantine Emperor Basil II acknowledged the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and by virtue of special imperial decrees set up its boundaries, dioceses and other privileges; the Archibishopric was seated in Ohrid in the Byzantine theme of Bulgaria and was established in AD 1019 by lowering the rank of the autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate and its subjugation to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 1767 the Archbishopric was abolished by the Ottoman authorities and annexed to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Efforts were made throughout the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth centuries to restore the Archdiocese, in 1874 it became part of the newly established Bulgarian Exarchate.
The Christian population of the bishoprics of Skopje and Ohrid voted in 1874 overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Exarchate, the Bulgarian Exarchate became in control of most of the Macedonian region. Following Vardar Macedonia's incorporation into Serbia in 1913, several of the Bulgarian Exarchate's dioceses were forcefully taken over by the Serbian Orthodox Church. While the region was occupied by Bulgaria during World War I and World War II, the local dioceses temporarily came under the control of the Bulgarian Exarchate; the first modern assembly of Macedonian clergy was held near Ohrid in 1943. In 1944, an Initiative Board for the organization of the Macedonian Orthodox Church was formed. In 1945, the First Clergy and People's Synod met and adopted a Resolution for the restoration of the Ohrid Archbishopric as a Macedonian Orthodox Church, it was submitted to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which since 1919 had been the sole church in Vardar Macedonia. The resolution was rejected, but a one, submitted in 1958 at the Second Clergy and People's Synod, was accepted on June 17, 1959 by the Serbian Orthodox Church under pressure from the Socialist authorities.
Dimitrija Stojkovski, a Macedonian, was appointed the first archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Macedonia under the name Dositheus II. The Macedonian Orthodox Church at that time only held autonomous status. After the Serbian Church agreed with the decisions, the agreement was celebrated in a common liturgy by the Macedonian priests and the Serbian Patriarch German in Skopje, a sign that the Serbian church recognized the autonomy of the Macedonian Church. In 1962, Serbian Patriarch German II and Russian Patriarch Alexy visited the Macedonian republic. At its third synod in 1967, on the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the Macedonian Church proclaimed its autocephaly; the Serbian Church bishops condemned the clergy as schismatic. For all the subsequent efforts to gain recognition, the autocephaly of the Macedonian Church is not recognized by other canonical Orthodox churches in defense of Serbian opposition; the Macedonian Orthodox Church has about 1,200 churches in North Macedonia organized in 10 eparchies, whose bishops make up the "Holy Synod of Bishops", headed by the "Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia".
At its session in 1994, the Holy Synod stated that The autocephalous status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the interest of the Macedonian people and state are holy and inalienable values, which it has no intentions of giving up. After Archbishop Mihail was elected in as head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in 1993, he stated that the church wanted to cooperate with neighboring Greek and Serbian churches, he hoped that: we will find understanding after we give our true information about the restoration and autocephaly of the Ohrid Archbishopric and the activities of our dear Macedonian Orthodox Church... the Macedonians are an ancient nation, we are an ancient church, we did not create a church, we renewed our illegally abolished Ohrid Archbishopric. The church pays special attention in preserving the national identity and cultural traditions among Macedonian expatriates in Western countries. Many Orthodox churches who are recognized with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople admit the faithful of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to holy communion.
The hierarchy of some churches serve with the Macedonian Orthodox priests, but will not
History of Eastern Orthodox theology
The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, the Hesychast controversy; the period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, more Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries; the Orthodox Church considers itself to be the original church started by his apostles. For the early years of the church, much of what was conveyed to its members was in the form of oral teachings. Within a short period of time traditions were established to reinforce these teachings; the Orthodox Church asserts to have been careful in preserving these traditions. When questions of belief or new concepts arise, the Church always refers back to the primitive faith.
They see the Bible as a collection of inspired texts that sprang out of this tradition, not the other way around. The Bible has come to be a important part of "Tradition", but not the only part; the Orthodox Church has always recognized the gradual development in the complexity of the articulation of the Church's teachings. It does not, believe that truth changes and therefore always supports its previous beliefs all the way back to the direct teachings from the Apostles; the Church understands that not everything is clear. It is this contention; the Church sees this as the action of the Holy Spirit on history to manifest truth to man. The Church is unwavering in upholding its dogmatic teachings, but does not insist upon those matters of faith which have not been defined; the Orthodox believe. Individuals are permitted to hold theologoumena so long as they do not contradict traditional Orthodox teaching. Sometimes, various Holy Fathers may have contradictory opinions about a certain question, where no consensus exists, the individual is free to follow his conscience.
Tradition includes the Nicene Creed, the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the writings the Church Fathers, as well as Orthodox laws, liturgical books and icons, etc. In defense of the extra-biblical tradition, the Orthodox Church quotes Paul: "Therefore, stand fast, hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by our spoken word, or by our epistle.". The Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Spirit works through history to manifest truth to the Church, that He weeds out falsehood in order that the Truth may be recognised more fully. Eastern Orthodox Church Orthodoxy interprets truth based on three witnesses: the consensus of the Holy Fathers of the Church; the consensus of the Church over time defines its catholicity—that, believed at all times by the entire Church. Those who disagree with that consensus are not accepted as authentic "Fathers." All theological concepts must be in agreement with that consensus. Those considered to be authentic "Fathers" may have some theological opinions that are not universally shared, but are not thereby considered heretical.
Some Holy Fathers have made statements that were defined as heretical, but their mistakes do not exclude them from position of authority. Thus an Orthodox Christian is not bound to agree with every opinion of every Father, but rather with the consensus of the Fathers, only on those matters about which the church is dogmatic; some of the greatest theologians in the history of the church come from the fourth century, including the Cappadocian Fathers and the Three Hierarchs. However, the Orthodox do not consider the "Patristic era" to be a thing of the past, but that it continues in an unbroken succession of enlightened teachers from the Apostles to the present day. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire; the Apostles traveled extensively throughout the Empire, establishing communities in major cities and regions, see Early centers of Christianity, with the first community appearing in Jerusalem, Antioch and others, the two political centers of Rome and Greece and later Byzantium which became Constantinople.
Orthodoxy believes in the apostolic succession, established by the Apostles in the New Testament. The word "church" did not mean a building, but a community or gathering of like-minded people; the earliest forms of Christianity were Greek as contemporary ecclesiastical historian Henry Ha