Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. It is the second-oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world; the Serbian Orthodox Church comprises the majority of the population in Serbia and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located in Serbia and Herzegovina, Croatia, but all over the world where Serb diaspora lives; the Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Eastern Orthodox communion. Serbian Patriarch serves as first among equals in his church; the Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archbishopric of Žiča, its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 1346, was known afterwards as the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in 1766; the modern Serbian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci, the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and the Metropolitanate of Montenegro.
Christianity spread to the Balkans beginning in the 1st century. Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century. Constantine the Great, born in Niš, was the first Christian Roman Emperor. Several bishops seated in what is today Serbia participated in the First Council of Nicaea, such as Ursacius of Singidunum. In 380, Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius decreed that his subjects would be Christians according to the Council of Nicea formula. Greek was used in the Byzantine church. With the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river. Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima, established in 535, which had jurisdiction over the whole of present-day Serbia. However, the Archbishopric did not last, as the Slavs and Avars destroyed the region sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it. In 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.
The history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the work De Administrando Imperio, compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The DAI drew information on the Serbs among others, a Serbian source; the Serbs were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius, Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs had always been under Imperial rule. His account on the first Christianization of the Serbs can be dated to 632–638; the establishment of Christianity as state religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir and Byzantine Emperor Basil I. The Christianization was due to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. At least during the rule of Kocel in Pannonia, communications between Serbia and Great Moravia, where Methodius was active, must have been possible; this fact, the pope was aware of, when planning Methodius' diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, in Byzantine hands as far north as Split. There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s even sent by Methodius himself.
Serbia was accounted Christian as of about 870. The first Serbian bishopric was founded at Ras, near modern Novi Pazar on the Ibar river. According to Vlasto, the initial affiliation is uncertain; the early Ras church can be dated to the 9th–10th century, with the rotunda plan characteristic of first court chapels. The bishopric was established shortly after 871, during the rule of Mutimir, was part of the general plan of establishing bishoprics in the Slav lands of the empire, confirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 879–880; the names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir are Slavic dithematic names, per the Old Slavic tradition. With Christianization in the 9th century, Christian names appear; the next generations of Serbian royalty had Christian names, evident of strong Byzantine missions in the 870s. Petar Gojniković was evidently a Christian prince, Christianity was spreading in his time; the Bulgarian annexation of Serbia in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church, by at latest, Serbia must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text familiar but not yet preferred to Greek.
In 1018–19, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established after the Byzantines conquered Bulgaria. Greek replaced Bulgarian Slavic as the liturgical language. Serbia was ecclesiastically administered into several bishoprics: the bishopric of Ras, mentioned in the first charter of Basil II, became part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raška, Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II. In the chrysobulls of Basil II d
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
Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is an autocephalous patriarchate, part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its seat is in Alexandria and it has canonical responsibility for the entire African continent, it is called the Greek or Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, part of Oriental Orthodoxy. Members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were once referred to as "Melkites" by non-Chalcedonian Christians because they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Mark the Evangelist is considered the founder of the See, the Patriarchate's emblem is the Lion of Saint Mark; the head bishop of the Patriarchate of Alexandria is the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Theodore II of Alexandria. His full title is "His Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Pentapolis, all the land of Egypt, all Africa, Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Prelate of Prelates, thirteenth of the Apostles, Judge of the Œcumene".
Like the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, he claims to have succeeded the Apostle Mark the Evangelist in the office of Bishop of Alexandria, who founded the Church in the 1st century, therefore marked the beginning of Christianity in Africa. It is one of the five ancient patriarchates of the early church, called the Pentarchy; the seat of the Patriarchate is the Cathedral of the Annunciation known as the Cathedral of Evangelismos, in Alexandria. The history of the Patriarchate of Alexandria includes some of the greatest and most renowned fathers of the Church the histories of Athanasius and Cyril, who were Patriarchs of Alexandria at the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Ephesus respectively. In the schism, created by the political and Christological controversies at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Church of Alexandria split in two; the majority of the native population did not accede to the Council of Chalcedon, adhering instead to the Miaphysite Christology of the Oriental Orthodox communion, became known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
A small portion of the Church of Alexandria followed Chalcedonian Christology, this became known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, since it used Greek as its liturgical language. Politically, the Greek Orthodox believers were loyal to the Eastern Roman emperor, they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. After the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 7th century - which permanently separated the region from the Byzantine Empire - the Greek Orthodox became an isolated minority in the region among Christians, the church has remained small for centuries. In the 19th century Orthodoxy in Africa began to grow again. One thing that changed this in the 19th century was the Orthodox diaspora. People from Greece and Lebanon, in particular, went to different parts of Africa, some established Orthodox Churches. Many Greeks settled in Alexandria from the 1840s and Orthodoxy began to flourish there again, schools and printing presses were established. For a while there was some confusion outside Egypt.
As happened in other places, Orthodox immigrants would establish an ethnic "community", which would try to provide a church, school and cultural associations. They would try to get a priest for the community in the place they had emigrated from, there was some confusion about which bishops were responsible for these priests. In the 1920s it was agreed that all Orthodox churches in Africa would be under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, so Africa has managed to avoid the jurisdictional confusion that has prevailed in places like America and Australia. In Africa south of the Sahara most of the growth in Christianity began as a result of mission initiatives by Western Christians; these Western-initiated churches were, however often tied to Western culture. The Greek missions to African outposts followed Greek-speaking settlers, as with the missions to America and Australia, still provide cultural links to Greece and the Greek patriarchy in Egypt. African-initiated churches interested in the various forms of Orthodoxy, but finding it difficult to make contact with historic Orthodoxy in the parts of Africa where they lived sought further afield.
In the 1920s some of them made contact with the so-called African Orthodox Church in the USA, notably Daniel William Alexander in South Africa, Ruben Spartas Mukasa in Uganda. In the 1930s, Daniel William Alexander visited first Uganda, Kenya. Spartas, however made contact with Fr Nikodemos Sarikas, a missionary priest in Tanganyika, through him made contact with the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria. In 1946 the African Orthodox groups in Kenya and Uganda were received into the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. In the 1950s, the Orthodox Church in Kenya suffered severe oppression at the hands of the British colonial authorities during the Mau Mau Uprising. Most of the clergy were put in concentration camps, churches and schools were closed. Only the Cathedral in Nairobi (which had a la
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church considers itself an inseparable member of the one, holy and apostolic church and is organized as a self-governing body under the name of Patriarchate. It is divided into thirteen dioceses within the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria and has jurisdiction over additional two dioceses for Bulgarians in Western and Central Europe, the Americas and Australia; the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are divided into 58 church counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into some 2,600 parishes. The supreme clerical and administrative power for the whole domain of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is exercised by the Holy Synod, which includes the Patriarch and the diocesan prelates, who are called metropolitans.
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. Eparchies in Bulgaria: Eparchy of Vidin Eparchy of Vratsa Eparchy of Lovech Eparchy of Veliko Tarnovo Eparchy of Dorostol Eparchy of Varna and Veliki Preslav Eparchy of Sliven Eparchy of Stara Zagora Eparchy of Plovdiv Eparchy of Sofia Eparchy of Nevrokop Eparchy of Pleven Eparchy of Ruse Eparchies abroad: Eparchy of Central and Western Europe. Christianity was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, when the first organised Christian communities were formed. 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; the barbarian raids and incursions in the 4th and the 5th and the settlement of Slavs and Bulgars in the 6th and the 7th centuries wrought considerable damage to the ecclesiastical organisation of the Christian Church in the Bulgarian lands, yet they were far from destroying it.
Kubrat and Organa were both baptized together in Constantinople and Christianity started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Bulgar-Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs those living in Thrace and Macedonia, were Christianised; the process of conversion enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility. It was not until the official adoption of Christianity by Khan 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. To this end, he manoeuvred between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Roman Pope for a period of five years until in 870 AD, the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians an autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric; the archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state.
The tug-of-war between Rome and Constantinople was resolved by putting the Bulgarian archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Although the archbishopric enjoyed full internal autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. A Greek liturgy offered by a Byzantine clergy furthered neither the cultural development of the Bulgarians, nor the consolidation of the Bulgarian Empire. Following the Byzantine theory of "Imperium sine Patriarcha non staret", which predominated that a close relation should exist between an Empire and Patriarchate, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the deceased Saints Cyril and Methodius in 886 as an opportunity. 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 Bulgarian 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.
Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos and Katasyrtai, the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate at an ecclesiastical and national council held in 919. After Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded th
Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is a self-governing body of the Eastern Orthodox Church that territorially covers the countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov was elected by the Extraordinary Synod held on January 11, 2014, as the new primate. On December 9, 2013, the Synod removed Archbishop Simeon of Olomouc and Brno from his position as Locum Tenens, appointed Archbishop Rastislav in his place, an action against which Archbishop Simeon protested and, deplored by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople; the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia presents both an ancient history as well as a modern history. The present day church occupies the land of Great Moravia, where the brothers Ss. Cyril and Methodius began their mission to the Slavs, introducing the liturgical and canonical order of the Orthodox Church, translated into the Church Slavonic language, using Greek calques to explain concepts for which no Slavic term existed. In doing this they developed the first Slavic alphabet, a mixture of Greek and Hebrew-based characters with a few invented characters of their own to represent unique Slavic sounds.
This was done at the express invitation of the powerful ruler Rastislav of Moravia. Yet within the Moravian state there was a Frankish party among the nobility who desired closer ties with the Kingdom of Francia, whose ruler, Louis the German, was Ratislav's nominal suzerain, a Frankish bishop had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over a small part of Ratislav's domain that had earlier converted to Christianity. Despite the Photian Schism, the churches of Rome and Constantinople still preserved some semblance of unity, Pope Nicholas I did not want to see the formation of a large independent Frankish church in Central Europe; when an appeal of the ecclesiastical issue was made to Rome, Nicholas summoned both Cyril and Methodius and the complaining Frankish parties to his court to hear them out. Nicholas died before their arrival, but the new Pope Adrian II reached a compromise after hearing both sides: Old Church Slavonic was confirmed as a liturgical language alongside Greek and Latin, Methodius was confirmed as bishop with a Frankish co-adjutor, Wiching.
Adrian was convinced by Cyril's impassioned defence of the Slavic liturgy in which he cited 1 Corinthians 14:19 "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." Cyril fell ill while the brothers were still at Rome, on his deathbed he asked Methodius to swear to return to Moravia and complete the mission to the Slavs instead of returning to the monastic life on Mount Olympus as he had intended to do. Methodius kept his word and returned, but his mission was interrupted by the death of Ratislav, as the new ruler, Svatopluk I of Moravia sided with the pro-Frankish party and had Methodius imprisoned for three years, until he was freed through the intercession of Pope John VIII. For the next ten years, Methodius continued his work, but the death of John VIII in 882 removed his papal protection, Methodius died in 885. After this, Pope Stephen V of Rome confirmed his Swabian co-adjutor Wiching as bishop.
Methodius's disciples were imprisoned, expelled to Bulgaria, like Gorazd and many others, or enslaved. The expelled, led by Clement of Ohrid and Naum of Preslav, were of great importance to the Orthodox faith in the Christian from year 864 Bulgaria, after they were released from prison and escorted to the Danube. In AD 870 the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians the right to have the oldest organized autocephalous Slavic Orthodox Church that little from autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric, became Patriarchate. Major event that strengthens the process of Christianization was the developement of the Cyrillic script in Bulgaria at the founded by Naum and Clement Preslav Literary School in the 9th century; the Cyrillic script and the liturgy in Old Church Slavonic called Old Bulgarian, were declared official in Bulgaria in 893. The Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical order survived in present-day eastern Slovakia and neighboring regions due to its nearness and influence to Kievan Rus among the population of Rusyn people, until the middle of 17th century when the Union of Uzhhorod was brought about in the Kingdom of Hungary.
During the times of suppression, remaining Eastern Orthodox Christians from the region kept their ties with neighboring Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Buda of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć and with the Metropolitanate of Karlovci. One of the most northern parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church existed in the Slovak city of Komárno with local church built in 18th century still standing today. After the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, legal restraints to Eastern Orthodoxy were removed. In the new state, Eastern Orthodox communities were located in the eastern parts of the country, including Carpathian Rusynia, incorporated into Czechoslovakia in 1919. In that region, the city of Mukačevo was located with its traditions going back to the old Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Mukačevo, that existed before the Union of Užgorod. In the spirit of Eastern Orthodox revival, many people in the region left the Greek Catholic Church. Since there were no Eastern Orthodox bishops in Czechoslovakia, local leaders looked to the Serbian Orthodox Church because Serbs were and ethnically close to Czechs and Rusyns.
That view was supported by state authorities of Czechoslovakia. In order to regulate the ecclesiastical order, Bishop Dositej Vasić of Niš arrived in Prague and
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
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 Georgia's dominant religious institution, a majority of Georgian people are members; the Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the world. It asserts apostolic foundation, its historical roots must be traced to the early and late Christianization of Iberia and Colchis by Saint Andrew in the 1st century AD and by Saint Nino in the 4th century AD, respectively; as in similar autocephalous Orthodox churches, the Church's highest governing body is the Holy Synod of bishops. The church is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, elected in 1977. Orthodox Christianity was the state religion throughout most of Georgia's history until 1921, when it was conquered by the Russian Red Army during the Russian-Georgian War and became part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; the current Constitution of Georgia recognizes the special role of the Georgian Orthodox Church in the country's history, but stipulates the independence of the church from the state.
Government relations are further 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 influential in the public sphere and is considered Georgia's 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. According to the official church account, Andrew preached across Georgia, carrying with him an acheiropoieta of the Virgin Mary, founded Christian communities believed to be the direct ancestors of the Church. However, modern historiography considers this account mythical, the fruit of a late tradition, derived from 9th-century Byzantine legends about the travels of St. Andrew in eastern Christendom. Similar traditions regarding Saint Andrew exist in Ukraine and Romania. Other apostles claimed by the Church to have preached in Georgia include Simon the Canaanite said to have been buried near Sokhumi, in the village of Anakopia, Saint Matthias, said to have preached in the southwest of Georgia, to have been buried in Gonio, a village not far from Batumi.
The Church claims the presence in Georgia of the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, coming north from Armenia. 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, although exact dates are still debated. 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, her intercession led to the conversion of King Mirian III, his wife Queen Nana and their family. 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, Zoroastrianism were practiced in Georgia. However, they now started to decline despite Zoroastrianism becoming a second established religion of Iberia after the Peace of Acilisene in 378, more by the mid-fifth century.
The royal baptism and organization of the Church were accomplished by priests sent from Constantinople by Constantine the Great. Conversion of the people of Iberia proceeded in the plains, but pagan beliefs long subsisted in mountain regions; the western Kingdom of Lazica was politically and culturally distinct from Iberia at that time, culturally more integrated into the Roman Empire. The conversion of Iberia marked only the beginnings of the formation of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In the next centuries, different processes took place that shaped the Church, gave it, by the beginning of the 11th century, the main characteristics that it has retained until now; those processes concern the institutional status of the Church inside Eastern Christianity, its evolution into a national church with authority over all of Georgia, the dogmatic evolution of the church.. In the 4th and 5th centuries, the Church of Iberia was subordinate to the Apostolic See of Antioch: all bishops were consecrated in Antioch before being sent to Iberia.
Around 480, in a step towards autocephaly, the Patriarch of Antioch Peter the Fuller elevated the Bishop of Mtskheta to the rank of Catholicos of Iberia with the approval, or at the instigation, of the Byzantine emperor Zeno. The Church remained subordinate to the Antioch Church. In 1010, the Catholicos of Iberia was elevated to the honor of Patriarch. From on, the premier 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, would not be until the beginnings of the 11th century; the western half of the count