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
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator is a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is, used in this context, derived from of one of many names of God in Judaism; the Pantokrator an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western Catholicism and unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography. Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a stern, all-powerful judge of humanity; when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, Pantokrator was used both for YHWH Sabaoth "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty". In the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul and nine times in the Book of Revelation: 1:8, 4:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 16:14, 19:6, 19:15, 21:22; the references to God and Christ in Revelation are at times interchangeable, Pantokrator appears to be reserved for God except in 1:8.
The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek words πᾶς, pas, i.e. "all" and κράτος, kratos, i.e. "strength", "might", "power". This is understood in terms of potential power. Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something"; this translation speaks more to God's actual power. God does everything; the icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most common religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Speaking, in Medieval eastern roman church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse, or on the nave vault; some scholars consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, such as the great statue of Zeus enthroned at Olympia.
The development of the earliest stages of the icon from Roman Imperial imagery is easier to trace. The image of Christ Pantocrator was one of the first images of Christ developed in the Early Christian Church and remains a central icon of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the half-length image, Christ holds the New Testament in his left hand and makes the gesture of teaching or of blessing with his right; the typical Western Christ in Majesty is a full-length icon. In the early Middle Ages, it presented Christ in a mandorla or other geometric frame, surrounded by the Four Evangelists or their symbols; the oldest known surviving example of the icon of Christ Pantocrator was painted in encaustic on panel in the sixth or seventh century, survived the period of destruction of images during the Iconoclastic disputes that twice racked the Eastern church, 726 to 787 and 814 to 842. It was preserved in the remote desert of the Sinai; the gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a wooden panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face and hands at some time around the thirteenth century.
When the overpainting was cleaned in 1962, the ancient image was revealed to be a high-quality icon produced in Constantinople. The icon, traditionally half-length when in a semi-dome, which became adopted for panel icons depicts Christ frontal with a somewhat melancholy and stern aspect, with the right hand raised in blessing or, in the early encaustic panel at Saint Catherine's Monastery, the conventional rhetorical gesture that represents teaching; the left hand holds a closed book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross, representing the Gospels. An icon where Christ has an open book is called "Christ the Teacher", a variant of the Pantocrator. Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, his head is surrounded by a halo; the icon is shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors. The name of Christ is written on each side of the halo, as IC and XC. Christ's fingers are depicted in a pose that represents the letters IC, X and C, thereby making the Christogram ICXC.
The IC is composed of the Greek characters iota and lunate sigma —the first and last letters of'Jesus' in Greek. In many cases, Christ has a cruciform halo inscribed with the letters Ο Ω Ν, i.e. ὁ ὢν "He Who Is". Christ in Majesty Christ the Redeemer Depiction of Jesus Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo Salvator Mundi Transfiguration of Jesus The Christ Pantocrator Icon at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai The icon Christ Pantocrator at Chilandar Monastery on Holy Mount Athos The Deesis Pantocrator in Hagia Sophia
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
Albanian Orthodox Church
The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania is one of the newest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches. It declared its autocephaly in 1922 through its Congress of 1922, gained recognition from the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1937; the church suffered during the Second World War, in the communist period that followed after 1967 when Albania was declared an atheist state, no public or private expression of religion was allowed. The church has, seen a revival since religious freedom was restored in 1991, with more than 250 churches rebuilt or restored, more than 100 clergy being ordained, it has 909 parishes spread all around Albania, around 500,000 to 550,000 faithful. The number is claimed to be as high as 700,000 by some Orthodox sources – and higher when considering the Albanian diaspora. Ecclesiastically, Christians in Albania being part of the Illyricum province were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. At 732-733 AD the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Illiricum was transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The schism of 1054 formalized the split of Christianity into two branches and Orthodoxy, reflected in Albania with the emergence of a Catholic north and Orthodox south. During the moment of schism Albanians were attached to the Eastern Orthodox Church and were all Orthodox Christians; the official recognition of the Eastern Orthodox Church by the Porte resulted in the Orthodox population being tolerated until the late 18th century. The Orthodox population of Albania was integrated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople, with the population of central and south-eastern Albania being under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid, the population of south-western Albania being under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Ioannina. During the late eighteenth century, the poverty of the Orthodox Church, the illiterate clergy, a lack of clergy in some areas and liturgy in a language other than Albanian, the reliance of the bishoprics of Durrës and southern Albania upon the declining Archbishopric of Ohrid, due in part to simony, weakened the faith among the Church's adherents and reduced the ability of the Orthodox Albanians in resisting conversion to Islam.
By mid-19th century, because of the Tanzimat reforms started in 1839, which imposed mandatory military service on non-Muslims, the Orthodox Church lost adherents as the majority of Albanians had become Muslim. In the 19th century, Orthodox Albanians under the Patriarchate of Constantinople had liturgy and schooling in Greek and toward the late Ottoman period identified with Greek national aspirations. For Orthodox Albanians, Albanianism was associated with Hellenism, linked through the faith of Orthodoxy and only during the Eastern crisis and thereafter was that premise rejected by a few Orthodox Albanianists. In southern Albania during the late Ottoman period being Albanian was associated with Islam, while from the 1880s the emerging Albanian National Movement was viewed as an obstacle to Hellenism within the region; some Orthodox Albanians from Korçë and its regions began to affiliate with the Albanian National movement by working together with Muslim Albanians regarding shared social, geopolitical Albanian interests and aims causing concerns for Greece.
Contribution to the national movement by Orthodox Albanian nationalists was undertaken outside the Ottoman state in the Albanian diaspora with activities focusing on educational issues and propaganda. As Orthodoxy was associated with Greek identity, the rise of the Albanian national movement caused confusion for Orthodox Albanians as it interrupted the formation of a Greek national consciousness. Saint Prokopios Lazaridis became in 1899 metropolitan bishop of Durres until 1906, where he developed significant activity among the local Orthodox communities, he became Metropolitan of Iconium. At the onset of the twentieth century the idea to create an Albanian Orthodoxy or an Albanian expression of Orthodoxy emerged in the diaspora at a time when the Orthodox were being assimilated by the Patriarchate and Greece through the sphere of politics; the Orthodox Albanian community had individuals such as Jani Vreto, Spiro Dine and Fan Noli involved in the national movement and some of them advocated for an Albanian Orthodoxy in order to curtail the Hellenisation process occurring amongst Orthodox Albanians.
In 1905, priest Kristo Negovani who had attained Albanian national sentiments abroad returned to his native village of Negovan and introduced the Albanian language for the first time in Orthodox liturgy. For his efforts Negovani was murdered by a Greek guerilla band on orders from Bishop Karavangelis of Kastoria that aroused a nationalist response with the Albanian guerilla band of Bajo Topulli killing the Metropolitan of Korçë, Photios. In 1907, an Orthodox Albanian immigrant Kristaq Dishnica was refused funeral services in the United States by a local Orthodox Greek priest for being an Albanian nationalist involved in patriotic activities. Known as the Hudson incident, it galvanised the emigre Orthodox Albanian community to form the Albanian Orthodox Church under Fan Noli who hoped to diminish Greek influence in the church and counter Greek irredentism. On March 18, 1908, as a result of the Hudson Incident Fan Noli was ordained as a priest by Russian bishop Platon in the United States. Noli conducted the Orthodox liturgy for the first time among the Albanian-American community in the Albanian language.
Noli devoted his efforts toward translating the liturgy into Albanian and emerging as a leader of the Orthodox Albanian community in the USA visited in 1911 the Orthodox Albania
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
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
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