Eusebius of Caesarea known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an learned Christian of his time, he wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. During the Council of Antiochia he was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius, thus withdrawn during the First Council of Nicaea where he accepted that the Homoousion referred to the Logos. Never recognized as a saint, he became counselor of Constantine the Great, with the bishop of Nicomedia he continued to polemicize against Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, Church Fathers, since he was condemned in the First Council of Tyre in 335. Little is known about the life of Eusebius.
His successor at the See of Caesarea, wrote a Life of Eusebius, a work that has since been lost. Eusebius' own surviving works only represent a small portion of his total output. Beyond notices in his extant writings, the major sources are the 5th-century ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Theodoret, the 4th-century Christian author Jerome. There are assorted notices of his activities in the writings of his contemporaries Athanasius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius' pupil, Eusebius of Emesa, provides some incidental information. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius writes of Dionysius of Alexandria as his contemporary. If this is true, Eusebius' birth must have been before Dionysius' death in autumn 264, he was born in the town in which he lived for most of his adult life, Caesarea Maritima. He was baptized and instructed in the city, lived in Syria Palaestina in 296, when Diocletian's army passed through the region. Eusebius was made presbyter by Agapius of Caesarea.
Some, like theologian and ecclesiastical historian John Henry Newman, understand Eusebius' statement that he had heard Dorotheus of Tyre "expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church" to indicate that Eusebius was Dorotheus' pupil while the priest was resident in Antioch. By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000, it had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city for the three centuries to follow, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Gentile government was strengthened by the city's refoundation under Herod the Great, when it had taken on the name of Augustus Caesar. In addition to the gentile settlers, Caesarea had large Samaritan minorities. Eusebius was born into the Christian contingent of the city. Caesarea's Christian community had a history reaching back to apostolic times, but it is a common claim that no bishops are attested for the town before about 190 though the Apostolic Constitutions 7.46 states that Zacchaeus was the first bishop.
Through the activities of the theologian Origen and the school of his follower Pamphilus, Caesarea became a center of Christian learning. Origen was responsible for the collection of usage information, or which churches were using which gospels, regarding the texts which became the New Testament; the information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was based on the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen's list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen. On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Together with the books of his patron Ambrosius, Origen's library formed the core of the collection that Pamphilus established.
Pamphilus managed a school, similar to that of Origen. Pamphilus was compared to Demetrius of Phalerum and Pisistratus, for he had gathered Bibles "from all parts of the world". Like his model Origen, Pamphilus maintained close contact with his students. Eusebius, in his history of the persecutions, alludes to the fact that many of the Caesarean martyrs lived together under Pamphilus. Soon after Pamphilus settled in Caesarea, he began teaching Eusebius, somewhere between twenty and twenty-five; because of his close relationship with his schoolmaster, Eusebius was sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili: "Eusebius, son of Pamphilus". The name may indicate that Eusebius was made Pamphilus' heir. Pamphilus gave Eusebius a strong admiration for the thought of Origen. Neither Pamphilus nor Eusebius knew Origen personally.
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology is an encyclopedia/biographical dictionary. Edited by William Smith, the dictionary spans 3,700 pages, it is a classic work of 19th-century lexicography. The work is a companion to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography; the work lists thirty-five authors in addition to the editor, an author for some definitions and articles. The authors were classical scholars from Oxford, Rugby School, the University of Bonn, but some were from other institutions. Many of the mythological entries were the work of the German expatriate Leonhard Schmitz, who helped to popularise German classical scholarship in Britain. With respect to biographies, Smith intended to be comprehensive. In the preface, he writes:The biographical articles in this work include the names of all persons of any importance which occur in the Greek and Roman writers, from the earliest times down to the extinction of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era, to the extinction of the Eastern Empire by the capture of Constantinople by the turks in the year 1453.
Samuel Sharpe thought Edward Bunbury had plagiarised his work, as he wrote of in his diary entry on 3 September 1850: I felt mortified on reading the articles on the Ptolemies in Dr. Smith's "Dictionary of Classical Biography." They were all written by E. H. Bunbury with the help of my "History of Egypt," and with-out any acknowledgment, though he borrowed the volume from my brother Dan for the purpose. Many of the Dictionary's definitions and articles have been referred to in more recent works, Robert Graves has been accused of "lifting his impressive-looking source references straight, unchecked" from it when writing The Greek Myths; the work is now in the public domain, is available in several places on the Internet. While still accurate, much is missing more recent discoveries and epigraphic material. More the context in which ancient evidence is viewed has changed in the intervening century and a half. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Vol. I online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. II online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. III online at University of Michigan Library; the Internet Archive has a derivative work: Smith, William. A new classical dictionary of biography and geography based on the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology.". London: Murray. Anthon, Charles. A new classical dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and geography: based upon the Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology by William Smith. New York: Harper and Brothers
Paphnutius of Thebes
Paphnutius of Thebes known as Paphnutius the Confessor, was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great and a bishop of a city in the Upper Thebaid in the early fourth century. He is accounted by some as a prominent member of the First Council of Nicaea which took place in 325. Neither the name of his see. Paphnutius, an Egyptian, was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great and a bishop of a city in the Upper Thebaid in the early fourth century, he had been persecuted for his Christian beliefs, had been hamstrung on the left side and suffered the loss of his right eye for the Faith under the Emperor Maximinus, was subsequently condemned to the mines. According to some reports, at the First Council of Nicaea he was honoured by Constantine the Great. Paphnutius was present at the First Ecumenical Council, which took up the subject of clerical celibacy, it seems that most of the bishops present were disposed to follow the precedent of the Council of Elvira prohibiting conjugal relations to those bishops, priests and sub-deacons who were married before ordination.
Paphnutius, so certain ancient authors tell us, earnestly entreated his fellow-bishops not to impose this obligation on the orders of the clergy concerned. He proposed, in accordance "with the ancient tradition of the Church", that only those who were celibates at the time of ordination should continue to observe continence, but, on the other hand, that "none should be separated from her, to whom, while yet unordained, he had been united"; the great veneration in which he was held, the well-known fact that he had himself observed the strictest chastity all his life, gave weight to his proposal, unanimously adopted. The council left it to the discretion of the married clergy to continue or discontinue their marital relations. In addition, Paphnutius was a zealous defender of orthodoxy in the face of the Arian heresy. Paphnutius, Potomon of Heraclea, 47 other Egyptian bishops accompanied Saint Athanasius to the First Synod of Tyre in 335 A. D. Most Christians celebrate his feast on September 11.
Byzantine Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate it on April 19. The existence of Paphnutius is contested by the historian Friedrich Winkelmann, because he is never mentioned by Athanasius, who battled against arianism; the Church History of Socrates Scholasticus, our earliest source on Paphnutius, is one of the few references for him in general. His participation in the First Ecumenical Council was disputed several times, among others by such a respected canon law historian as Alfons Maria Cardinal Stickler. Stickler's objection is that Paphutius' presence at the council was never mentioned by the council's historian Eusebius of Caesarea, he disproves Socrates' statement that he spoke to a participant of the council as Socrates was born too late to know anyone who had taken part in it. Stickler's main argument against Paphnutius' story is that the Synod of Trullo failed to mention the Paphnutius story when they allowed matrimony for priests, done, as Stickler claims, under the emperor's pressure.
The Council of Trullo, rather erroneously, referred only to the decrees of the Council of Carthage. However, Eusebius does not mention many things that did happen, we are not sure when Socrates of Constantinople was born, the Council of Trullo might have invoked several other canons from the past, though it did not. On the other hand, there have been several prominent scholars who defended the veracity of the Paphnutius story; the main arguments were laid down by Karl Josef von Hefele in his Conciliengeschichte, were taken up by his successor at the Tübingen Catholic faculty of theology Franz Xaver von Funk, as well as by some other eminent historians as Elphège Vacandard in the article on celibacy in the prestigious Dictionnaire de théologie catholique and Henri Leclercq in an article in the Histoire des conciles. Vacandard's position found wide acceptance among the scholars; the original argument by Hefele is available below. Alban Butler says, "On account of the silence of other writers, on the testimonies of Saint Jerome, Saint Epiphanius, others and Orsi suspect that Socrates and Sozomen were misinformed in this story.
There is, nothing repugnant in the narration. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Paphnutius". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is God. Arian teachings were first attributed to a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt; the teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father. There was a dispute between two interpretations of Jesus' divinity based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, one trinitarian and the other non-trinitarian, both of them attempted to solve its respective theological dilemmas. So there were two orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.
The two interpretations initiated a broader conflict as to which belief was the successor of Christian theology from its inception. The former was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils, in the past several centuries, Arianism has continued to be viewed as "the heresy or sect of Arius"; as such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The trinitarianism, or homoousianism viewpoint, was promulgated by Athanasius of Alexandria, who insisted that Homoousianism theology was both the true nature of God and the teaching of Jesus. Arius stated: "If the Father begat the Son he, begotten had a beginning in existence, from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not." Nonetheless, the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, convened by Emperor Constantine to ensure Church unity, deemed Arianism to be a heresy." According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had no clear views about the nature of the Trinity and they did not understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it."Ten years however, Constantine the Great, himself baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, convened another gathering of Church leaders at the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, to address various charges mounted against Athanasius by his pro-Arius detractors, such as "murder, illegal taxation and treason", following his refusal to readmit Arius into fellowship.
Athanasius was exiled to Trier following his conviction at Tyre of conspiracy, Arius was exonerated. Athanasius returned to Alexandria in 346 A. D. two years after the deaths of both Arius and Constantine. The Roman Emperors Constantius II and Valens were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy and the Lombards were Arians or Semi-Arians until the 7th century. Visigothic Spain was Arian until 581. Arianism is used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a begotten creature or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created. Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian's private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata, he taught that the Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father.
A verse from Proverbs was used: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work". Therefore, the Son was rather the first and the most perfect of God's creatures, he was made "God" only by the Father's permission and power. Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century, it involved most church members—from simple believers and monks to bishops and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent Gothic and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; such a deep controversy within the Church during this period of its development could not have materialized without significant historical influences providing a basis for the Arian doctrines. Of the three hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not sign the Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism. Emperor Constantine ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the Arian writings: In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left to remind anyone of him.
And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, not to have brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment.... Reconstructing what Arius taught, why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own w
Pope Sylvester I
Pope Sylvester I, was the 33rd Pope of the Catholic Church from 314 to his death in 335. He succeeded Pope Miltiades, he filled the See of Rome at an important era in the history of the Western Church, yet little is known of him. The accounts of his papacy preserved in the Liber Pontificalis contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the Church by Constantine I, although it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus, his feast is celebrated as Saint Sylvester's Day in Western Christianity on December 31, while Eastern Christianity commemorates it on January 2. During his pontificate, the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine, e.g. the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Old St. Peter's Basilica were built, several cemeterial churches were built over the graves of martyrs. Sylvester did not attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325, where the Nicene Creed was formulated, but he was represented by two legates and Vincentius, he approved the council's decision.
One of the Symmachian forgeries, the Vita beati Silvestri, preserved in Greek and Syriac, is an apocryphal alleged account of a Roman council, including legends of Sylvester's close relationship with the first Christian emperor. These appear in the Donation of Constantine. Long after his death, the figure of Sylvester was embroidered upon in a fictional account of his relationship to Constantine, which seemed to support the Gelasian doctrine of papal supremacy, papal auctoritas guiding imperial potestas, the doctrine, embodied in the forged Donation of Constantine of the eighth century. In the fiction, of which an early version is represented in the early sixth-century Symmachean forgeries emanating from the curia of Pope Symmachus, the Emperor Constantine was cured of leprosy by the virtue of the baptismal water administered by Sylvester; the Emperor, abjectly grateful, not only confirmed the bishop of Rome as the primate above all other bishops, he resigned his imperial insignia and walked before Sylvester's horse holding the Pope's bridle as the papal groom.
The Pope, in return, offered the crown of his own good will to Constantine, who abandoned Rome to the pope and took up residence in Constantinople. "The doctrine behind this charming story is a radical one," Norman F. Cantor observes: "The pope is supreme over all rulers the Roman emperor, who owes his crown to the pope and therefore may be deposed by papal decree"; such a useful legend gained wide circulation. Pope Sylvester II, himself a close associate of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, chose the name Sylvester in imitation of Sylvester I. In the West, the liturgical feast of Saint Sylvester is on 31 December, the day of his burial in the Catacomb of Priscilla; this is the last day in the year and, accordingly, in German-speaking countries and in some others close to them, New Year's Eve is known as Silvester. In some other countries, the day is referred to as Saint Sylvester's Day or the Feast of Saint Sylvester. In São Paulo, Brazil, a long-distance running event called the Saint Silvester Road Race occurs every year on 31 December.
The Donation of Constantine is a document fabricated in the second half of the eighth century, purporting to be a record by the Emperor himself of his conversion, the profession of his new faith, the privileges he conferred on Pope Sylvester I, his clergy, their successors. According to it, Pope Sylvester was offered the imperial crown, however, he refused."Lu Santu Papa Silvestru", a story in Giuseppe Pitrè's collection of Sicilian fables, recounts the legend as follows: Constantine the king wants to take a second wife, asks Sylvester. Sylvester denies calling on heaven as witness. Not long after, Constantine falls ill, he obeys, Sylvester receives Constantine's messengers in his cave and swiftly baptizes them, whereafter he is led back to Constantine, whom he baptizes and cures. In this story and his entourage are not pagans but Jews. Another legend has Sylvester slaying a dragon, he is depicted with the dying beast. List of longest-reigning popes List of Catholic saints List of popes Gisela Schmitt.
"Pope Sylvester I". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon. 10. Herzberg: Bautz. Col. 338–341. ISBN 3-88309-062-X. Pope St. Sylvester I Francesco Scorza Barcellona: SILVESTRO I, santo. In: Enciclopedia dei Papi, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Template:LThK Horst Fuhrmann: Konstantinische Schenkung in: Lexikon des Mittelalters. Vol. 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich/Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0, Col. 1385–1387. Wilhelm Pohlkamp: Silvester I. Papst in: Lexikon des Mittelalters. Vol. 7, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-8907-7, Col. 1905–1908. Media related to Sylvester I at Wikimedia Commons Opera Omnia by Migne Colonnade Statue in St Peter's Square Legenda Aurea
İznik is a town and an administrative district in the Province of Bursa, Turkey. It was known as Nicaea, from which its modern name derives; the town lies in a fertile basin at the eastern end of Lake İznik, bounded by ranges of hills to the north and south. As the crow flies, the town is only 90 kilometres southeast of Istanbul but by road it is 200 km around the Gulf of Izmit, it is 80 km by road from Bursa. The town is situated with its west wall rising from the lake itself, providing both protection from siege from that direction, as well as a source of supplies which would be difficult to cut off; the lake is large enough that it cannot be blockaded from the land and the city was large enough to make any attempt to reach the harbour from shore-based siege weapons difficult. The city was surrounded on all sides by 5 km of walls about 10 m high; these were in turn surrounded by a double ditch on the land portions, included over 100 towers in various locations. Large gates on the three landbound sides of the walls provided the only entrance to the city.
Today the walls are pierced in many places for roads, but much of the early work survives and as a result it is a tourist destination. The town has a population of about 15,000, it has been a district center of Bursa Province since 1930. It was in the district of Kocaeli between 1923 and 1927 and was a township of Yenişehir district between 1927 and 1930; the town was an important producer of decorated fritware vessels and tiles in the 16th and 17th centuries. For the history before the Ottoman conquest, see the article on Nicaea. In 1331, Orhan I captured the city from the Byzantines and for a short period the town became the capital of the expanding Ottoman emirate; the large church of Hagia Sophia in the centre of the town was converted into a mosque and became known as the Orhan Mosque. A madrasa and baths were built nearby. In 1334 Orhan built a mosque and an imaret just outside the Yenisehir gate on the south side of the town; the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta stayed in Iznik at the end of 1331 soon after the capture of the town by Orhan.
According to Ibn Battuta, the town was in ruins and only inhabited by a small number of people who were in the service of the sultan. Within the city walls were cultivated plots with each house surrounded by an orchard; the town produced fruit, walnuts and large sweet grapes. A census in 1520 recorded 379 Muslim and 23 Christian households while a census taken a century in 1624 recorded 351 Muslim and 10 Christian households. Assuming five members for each household, these figures suggest that the population was around 2,000. Various estimates in the 18th and 19th centuries give similar numbers; the town was poor and the population small when the ceramic production was at its peak during the second half of the 16th century. The Byzantine city is estimated to have had a population of 20,000–30,000 but in the Ottoman period the town was never prosperous and occupied only a small fraction of the walled area; the English clergyman John Covel visited Iznik in 1677 and found that only a third of the town was occupied.
In 1745 the English traveller Richard Pococke reported. A succession of visitors described the town in unflattering terms. After his visit in 1779, the Italian archaeologist Domenico Sestini wrote that Iznik was nothing but an abandoned town with no life, no noise and no movement. In 1797 James Dallaway described Iznik as "a wretched village of long lanes and mud walls...". The town was damaged in 1921 during the Greco-Turkish War; the town became more important with the development a pottery and tile making industry during the Ottoman period in the 16th century, known as the İznik Çini. Iznik ceramic tiles were used to decorate many of the mosques in Istanbul designed by Mimar Sinan. However, this industry declined in the 17th century and İznik became a agricultural minor town in the area when a major railway bypassed it in the 19th century. A number of monuments were erected by the Ottomans in the period between the conquest in 1331 and 1402 when the town was sacked by Timur. Among those that have survived are: Hacı Özbek Mosque.
This mosque was built only three years after the conquest. The portico on the west side of the building was demolished in 1940 to widen the road. Yeşil Mosque of Iznik Green Mosque; the mosque was built for Çandarlı Kara Halil Hayreddin Pasha, the first Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. It is located near the Lefke Gate on the east side of the town, it was damaged in 1922 during the Greco-Turkish War and restored between 1956 and 1969. Hagia Sophia known as Aya Sofya is a Byzantine-era former church building, built by Justinian I in the middle of the city in the 6th century. Nilüfer Hatun Soup Kitchen; the building was restored in 1955 and is now a museum. Süleyman Pasa Madrasa; this is one of the two surviving madrasas in the town. It was restored in the 19th century and again in 1968. Mausoleum of Çandarli Hayreddin Pasa; the main room contains fifteen sarcophagi. A lower room contains three more sarcophagi including that of Hayreddin Pasha; the mausoleum is located in a cemetery outside the Lefke gate to the east of the town.
Several monuments were destroyed during the Greco-Turkish War. These include: Church of the Koimesis/Dormition (6th–8th century but rebuilt after the 1065 earthq
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised 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. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early 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.
In the Eastern Orthodox v