The Oriental Orthodox Churches

The appellation Oriental Orthodox refers to the group of churches that have preserved the faith of the first three ecumenical councils: Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus. This is the official name of the communion, upon which all of the member churches agree. However, they are also referred to as Old Oriental Orthodox Churches, Ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches, Non-Chalcedonians, Pre-Chalcedonians and Miaphysites.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches came to a parting of ways with the rest of Christendom in the Fifth Century, when the Roman and Byzantine Churches accepted Chalcedon as the Fourth Ecumenical Council. The reason for this schism was the Orientals’ strict adherence to what is called the Christological formula of St. Cyril of Alexandria: “the one incarnate nature of God the Word”, in opposition to the Symbol of Chalcedon’s “in two natures”. Nevertheless, the Twentieth Century witnessed several efforts made towards reconciliation, with regard to Chalcedon (see Pan-Orthodox Unity Documents).

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are erroneously referred to as Monophysites. Monophysitism, a Christological heresy associated with Eutyches of Constantinople, is rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Fathers. Those who continue to use this pejorative misnomer promote polemics and forsake their better judgement.


The Oriental Orthodox Churches                                                                                                             

The Armenian Apostolic Church

Catholicosates                                                                                                                                       Mother See of Holy Etchmaidzin                                                                                                          Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia

Regional Patriarchates                                                                                                                            Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem                                                                               __________________________________

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Dependent Church
The French Coptic Orthodox Church                                                                     __________________________________

The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church                                                          __________________________________

The Indian Orthodox Malankara Church

Dependent Church
Brahmavar (Goan) Orthodox Church

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East

Dependent Church
Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in India