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
Polish Orthodox Church
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or Church of Poland is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion. The church was established in 1924, to accommodate Orthodox Christians of Polish descent in the eastern part of the country, when Poland regained its independence after the First World War. In total, it has 500,000 adherents. In Polish census of 2011, 156,000 citizens declared themselves as a members; the establishment of the church was undertaken after the Treaty of Riga left a large amount of territory under the control of the Russian Empire, as part of the Second Polish Republic. Eastern Orthodoxy was widespread in the Belarusian Western Belarus regions and the Ukrainian Volhynia; the loss of ecclesiastical link due to the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union, left the regional clergy in a crisis moment, in 1924, the Ecumenical Patriarchate took over establishing several autonomous churches on territories of the new states that were wholly or part of the Russian Empire.
Earlier, in January 1922, the Polish government had issued an order recognizing the Orthodox church and placing it under the authority of the state. At that time a Ukrainian, Yurii Yaroshevsky, was appointed Metropolitan and exarch by the patriarch of Moscow; when Yaroshevsky began to reject the authority of Moscow Patriarchate, he was assassinated by a Russian monk. Nonetheless, his successor, Dionizy Waledyński, continued to work for the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox church, granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in his Tomos of 13 November 1924. Given that most of the parishioners were Ukrainians and Belarusians living in the Eastern areas of the newly independent Polish Second Republic, the Patriarch of Constantinople had a canonical basis to grant the Tomos to the Polish church as a successor of the Kyiv Metropolia, the former territory of Kyivan Rus' which Constantinople continued to see as its canonical territory; the Russian Orthodox Church at the time did not recognise the Polish autocephaly, as it did not recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
During the interwar period, the Polish authorities imposed severe restrictions on the church and its clergy. The most famous example, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw was destroyed. In Volyhnia a total of 190 Eastern Orthodox churches were destroyed and a further 150 converted to Roman Catholicism. Several court hearings against the Pochayiv Lavra took place. After the Second World War most of the ethnically Ukrainian and Belarusian territories were annexed by the Soviet Union, holding up to 80% of the PAOC's parishes and congregation, which were united with the re-instated Moscow Patriarchate; the remaining parishes that were now on the territory of the Polish People's Republic were kept by the PAOC, including most of the mixed easternmost territories such as around Chełm and Białystok. In 1948, after the Soviet Union established political control over Poland, the Russian Orthodox Church recognised the autocephalous status of the Polish Orthodox Church. Although most of the congregation is centered in the Eastern borderland regions with considerable Belarusian and Ukrainian minorities, there are now many parishes across the country, as a result of Operation Vistula and other diaspora movements.
There are some adherents in Brazil, resulted from the 1989 canonical union between the hierarchy headed by Metropolitan Gabriel of Lisbon under the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, the Polish Orthodox Church. The European bishops, have left the jurisdiction in 2000, which resulted in senior Bishop Chrysostom being raised to archepiscopal dignity. There are now parishes in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Paraíba, plus a monastery in João Pessoa. In 2003, following the decision of the Holy Sobor of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the New Martyrs of Chelm and Podlasie suffering persecution during the 1940s were canonized; the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church was established in 1924. Traditionally the primate of the church has the title Metropolitan of All Poland. Metropolitan Jerzy - Archbishop of Warsaw Metropolitan Dionizy - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Metropolitan Makary - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Metropolitan Tymoteusz - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Metropolitan Stefan - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Metropolitan Bazyli - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland Metropolitan Sawa - Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland The church is headed by the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland: Sawa Hrycuniak.
It is divided into the following dioceses: Archdiocese of Warsaw and Bielsk: Sawa Archdiocese of Białystok and Gdańsk: James Archdiocese of Łódź and Poznań: Simon Archdiocese of Wrocław and Szczecin: George Archdiocese of Lublin and Chełm: Abel Archdiocese of Przemyśl and Gorlice: Paisius Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and Olinda-Recife: Chrysostom Diocese of Recife: Ambrose Titular
In Eastern Orthodox church history within Russian Orthodox Church, the Old Believers or Old Ritualists are Eastern Orthodox Christians who maintain the liturgical and ritual practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church as they existed prior to the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666. Resisting the accommodation of Russian piety to the contemporary forms of Greek Orthodox worship, these Christians were anathematized, together with their ritual, in a Synod of 1666–1667, producing a division in Eastern Europe between the Old Believers and those who followed the state church in its condemnation of the Old Rite. Russian speakers refer to the schism itself as raskol, etymologically indicating a "cleaving-apart". In 1652, Patriarch Nikon introduced a number of ritual and textual revisions with the aim of achieving uniformity between the practices of the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. Nikon, having noticed discrepancies between Russian and Greek rites and texts, ordered an adjustment of the Russian rites to align with the Greek ones of his time.
In doing so, according to the Old Believers, Nikon acted without adequate consultation with the clergy and without gathering a council. After the implementation of these revisions, the Church anathematized and suppressed—with the support of Muscovite state power—the prior liturgical rite itself, as well as those who were reluctant to pass to the revised rite; those who maintained fidelity to the existing rite endured severe persecutions from the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century as "Schismatics". They became known as "Old Ritualists", a name introduced during the reign of Catherine the Great, they continued to call themselves "Orthodox Christians". The installation of a Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, but resident in Moscow, by a council of Russian bishops in 1448 without consent from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople initiated the effective independence of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Grand Duchy of Moscow. By apart from Muslim and Jewish minorities and pagan subject peoples, the Russian people were Christianised, observing church festivals and marking births and deaths with Orthodox rituals.
However, many popular religious practices were of pagan origin or marked by superstition, disorder or drunkenness. The main objectives of reformers in the 16th century, many from the secular “white” clergy, were to outlaw pagan rituals and beliefs and to standardise the liturgy throughout the Muscovite realm; this resulted in the holding of the Stoglavy Synod, a Russian church council in 1551, whose decrees formed the basis of Orthodox ritual and liturgy in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. This synod condemned many popular religious practices. In addition, while stressing the need for accurate copying of sacred documents, it approved of traditional Russian liturgical practices that differed from contemporary Greek ones. During the reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich, the young tsar and his confessor, Stefan Vonifatiev, sponsored a group composed of “white”, non-monastic clergy and known as the Zealots of Piety; these included the archpriest Avvakum as a founder-member and the future patriarch Nikon, who joined in 1649.
Their original aim was to revitalise the parishes through effective preaching, the orderly celebration of the liturgy, enforcement of the church’s moral teachings. To ensure that the liturgy was celebrated its original and authentic form had to be established, but the way that Nikon did this caused disputes between him and other reformers. In 1646, Nikon first met Tsar Aleksei who appointed him archimandrite of the Novospassky monastery in Moscow. In 1649, Nikon was consecrated as the Metropolitan of Novgorod and, in 1652, he became Patriarch of Moscow. During his time in Novgorod, Nikon began to develop his view that the responsibility for the spiritual health of Russia lay with senior church leaders, not the tsar; when he became patriarch, he started to reorganise the church’s administration so it was wholly under his own control. In 1649, a Greek delegation, headed by Patriarch Paisios of Jerusalem, arrived in Moscow and tried to convince the tsar and Nikon that current Greek liturgical practices were authentically Orthodox and that Russian usages that differed from them were local innovations.
This led to a heated debate between the visiting Greeks and many Russian clerics who believed that, by accepting the decrees of the Council of Florence, the Greek patriarchate had compromised its authority and forfeited any right to dictate to Russia on liturgical matters. Tsar Aleksei and some of the Zealots of Piety decided that best way to revitalise the Russian church was to conform with the usages of the Greek church and accept the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople. By the middle of the 17th century and Russian Church officials, including Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, had noticed discrepancies between contemporary Russian and Greek usages, they reached the conclusion that the Russian Orthodox Church had, as a result of errors of incompetent copyists, developed rites and liturgical books of its own that had deviated from the Greek originals. Thus, the Russian Orthodox Church had become dissonant with the other Orthodox churches; the unrevised Muscovite service-books derived from a different, older, Greek recension than that, used in the current Greek books, revised over the centuries, contained innovations.
Nikon wanted to have the same rite in the Russian tsardom those ethnically Slavic lands now the territories of Ukraine and Belarus tha
Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome, it was an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture"; the Hagia Sophia construction consists of masonry. The structure is composed of mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced evenly throughout the mortar joints; this combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time. From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt, it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".
The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act, considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose; the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, angels were destroyed or plastered over.
Islamic features – such as the mihrab and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015. From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul; the Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex. On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia is to be reverted to a mosque; the first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.
Inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, working on it in 346. A tradition, not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter; the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium, it was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace, instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way, outwardly observable to the participant; the Catholic Church and the Old Catholic Church recognise seven sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church believe that there are seven major sacraments, but apply the corresponding Greek word, μυστήριον to rites that in the Western tradition are called sacramentals and to other realities, such as the Church itself. Many Protestant denominations, such as those within the Reformed tradition, identify two sacraments instituted by Christ, the Eucharist and Baptism.
The Lutheran sacraments include these two adding Confession as a third sacrament. Anglican and Methodist teaching is that "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, to say and the Supper of the Lord," and that "those five called Sacraments, to say, Penance, Orders and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel."Some traditions do not observe any of the rites, or hold that they are reminders or commendable practices that do not impart actual grace—not sacraments but "ordinances" pertaining to certain aspects of the Christian faith. The English word "sacrament" is derived indirectly from the Ecclesiastical Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrō, from sacer; this in turn is derived from the Greek New Testament word "mysterion". In Ancient Rome, the term meant a soldier's oath of allegiance. Tertullian, a 3rd-century Christian writer, suggested that just as the soldier's oath was a sign of the beginning of a new life, so too was initiation into the Christian community through baptism and Eucharist.
Roman Catholic theology enumerates seven sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. These seven sacraments were codified in the documents of the Council of Trent, which stated: CANON I.- If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord. CANON IV.- If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous. During the Middle Ages, sacraments were recorded in Latin. After the Reformation, many ecclesiastical leaders continued using this practice into the 20th century. On occasion, Protestant ministers followed the same practice. Since W was not part of the Latin alphabet, scribes only used it when dealing with places. In addition, names were modified to fit a "Latin mold". For instance, the name Joseph would be rendered as Josephus; the Catholic Church indicates that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, though not every sacrament is necessary for every individual.
The Church applies this teaching to the sacrament of baptism, the gateway to the other sacraments. It states that "Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament." But it adds: "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments," and accordingly, "since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith. Catechumens and all those who without knowing Christ and the Church, still sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can be saved without Baptism; the Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God."In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, "the sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament.
They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions."The Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato, by the fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, as indicated in this definition of the sacraments given by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block a sacrament's effectiveness in that person; the sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish and give expression to faith. Though not ev
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
Abkhazian Orthodox Church
The Abkhazian Orthodox Church is an Eastern Orthodox church outside the official Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy. It came into existence when the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy declared on 15 September 2009 that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church and that it was "re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia disbanded in 1795"; the Abkhazian Orthodox church is organised into one in Pitsunda and one in Sukhumi. The Pitsunda Cathedral is the church's chief cathedral; the church is led by priest Vissarion Aplaa. It has one monastery, at Kaman; the Abkhazian Orthodox Church considers itself to be the continuation of the Catholicate of Abkhazia. The Catholicate of Abkhazia was disbanded in 1814, when all local dioceses were taken over by the Russian Orthodox Church, they became part of the Georgian Orthodox Church following the fall of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. The Abkhazian orthodox dioceses fall under the canonically recognized territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church as Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy.
After the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, ethnically Georgian priests had to flee Abkhazia and the Georgian Orthodox church lost control of Abkhazian church affairs. The last Georgian monks and nuns, based in the upper Kodori Valley, were expelled early in 2009 after they resisted pressure from the Abkhaz authorities to sever allegiance to the Georgian church; the ethnically Abkhaz Vissarion Aplaa was the only remaining priest after the early 1990s war and he became acting head of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian eparchy. In the following years consecrated clerics from the neighbouring Russian Maykop Eparchy arrived in Abkhazia; the new priests came into conflict with Vissarion, but through the mediation of Russian church officials, the two sides managed to reach a power-sharing agreement in Maikop in 2005. Under the agreement, the Eparchy would thenceforth have co-chairs and be named the Abkhazian Eparchy with undefined canonical status, to stress its separation from the Georgian Orthodox Church; the agreement did not hold however, when Priest Vissarion refused to share the leadership and continued to sign documents using the old name of the Eparchy.
On 15 September 2009 the leadership of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy declared that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church, that it was re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia, that it would henceforth be known as the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. Its leader Aplia asked the Russian and Georgian churches to recognize the "Abkhazian Orthodox Church". A spokesman for the Georgian patriarchate said the decision to separate from the Georgian Orthodox Church was taken by a "group of impostors", while the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed that it continued to view Abkhazia as the canonical territory of the Georgian Church. On 9 February 2011, the Abkhazian government transferred 38 churches and monasteries perpetually into the care of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. Montenegrin Orthodox Church Macedonian Orthodox Church Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate – Prior to official canonization by Ecumenical Patriarchate in October 2018 Orthodox Church in Italy Minutes of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy council meeting establishing the Abkhazian Orthodox Church