Nicaea II. Those churches consider the Quinisext Council "shar[es] the ecumenical authority of Constantinople III. "By an agreement that appears to be in place in the [Eastern] Orthodox world, possibly the council held in 879 to vindicate the Patriarch Photius will at some future date be recognized as the eighth [ecumenical] council" by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Eastern Orthodox authorities such as 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".
Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow published in the 19th century is titled: The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church (Russian
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, and 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" (in contrast to the "Roman" or "Latin" church, which used a Latin translation of the Bible), even 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 the Catholic Church. In Hungarian, the church is still commonly called "Eastern Greek" (Hungarian: Görögkeleti). This identification with Greek, however, became increasingly confusing with time. Missionaries brought Eastern 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 the Catholic Church, which then also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a very large number of Eastern Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, and do not use Greek as the language of worship.
"Eastern", then, 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.
Oriental Orthodox". While the Eastern Orthodox Church continues officially to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality
, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Catholic Church.
The first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" (he katholike ekklesia) occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another (Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans). The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church." Thus, almost from the beginning, Christians referred to the Christian Church as the "one, holy, catholic (from the Greek καθολική, 'according to the whole, universal') 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 also make a similar claim: the Roman
Oriental Orthodox. In the Eastern Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the years following the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) and the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451), respectively, in their refusal to accept those councils' Christological definitions. Similarly, the churches in Rome and Constantinople separated in an event known as the East–West Schism
, traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more a gradual process than a sudden break.
To all these churches, the claim to catholicity (universality, oneness with the ancient Church) is important for multiple doctrinal reasons that have more bearing internally in each church than in their relation to the others, now separated in faith. The meaning of holding to a faith that is true is the primary reason why anyone's statement of which church split off from which other has any significance at all; the issues go as deep as the schisms. The depth of this meaning in the Eastern Orthodox Church is registered first in its use of the word "Orthodox" itself, a union of Greekorthos ("straight", "correct", "true", "right") and doxa ("common belief", from the ancient verb δοκέω-δοκῶ which is translated "to believe", "to think", "to consider", "to imagine", "to assume").
The dual meanings of doxa, with "glory" or "glorification" (of God by the church and of the church by God), especially in worship, yield the pair "correct belief" and "true worship". Together, these express the core of a fundamental teaching about the inseparability of belief and worship and their role in drawing the church together with Christ. The Bulgarian and all the Slavic churches use the title Pravoslavie (Cyrillic: Православие), meaning "correctness of glorification", to denote what is in English Orthodoxy, while the Georgians use the title Martlmadidebeli.
The term "Eastern Church" (the geographic east in the East–West Schism) has been used to distinguish it from western Christendom (the geographic West, which at first came to designate the Catholic communion, later also the various Protestant and Anglican branches). "Eastern" is used to indicate that the highest concentrations of the Eastern Orthodox Church presence remain in the eastern part of the Christian world, although it is growing worldwide. Orthodox Christians throughout the world use various ethnic or national jurisdictional titles, or more inclusively, the title "Eastern Orthodox", "Orthodox Catholic", or simply "Orthodox".
What unites Orthodox Christians is the catholic faith as carried through
holy tradition. That faith is expressed most fundamentally in scripture and worship, and the latter most essentially through baptism and in the Divine Liturgy.
The lines of even this test can blur, however, when differences that arise are not due to doctrine, but to recognition of jurisdiction. As the Eastern Orthodox Church has spread into the west and over the world, the church as a whole has yet to sort out all the inter-jurisdictional issues that have arisen in the expansion, leaving some areas of doubt about what is proper church governance. Moreover, as in the ancient church persecutions, the aftermath of persecutions of Christians in communist nations has left behind some issues of governance and lapse piety that have yet to be completely resolved.
All members of the Eastern Orthodox Church profess the same faith, regardless of race or nationality, jurisdiction or local custom, or century of birth. Holy tradition encompasses the understandings and means by which that unity of faith is transmitted across boundaries of time, geography, and culture. It is a continuity that exists only inasmuch as it lives within Christians themselves. It is not static, nor an observation of rules, but rather a sharing of observations that spring both from within and also in keeping with others, even others who lived lives long past. The church proclaims the Holy Spirit maintains the unity and consistency of holy tradition to preserve the integrity of the faith within the church, as given in the scriptural promises.
The shared beliefs of Orthodoxy, and its theology, exist within holy tradition and cannot be separated from it, for their meaning is not expressed in mere words alone. Doctrine cannot be understood unless it is prayed. Doctrine must also be lived in order to be prayed, for without action, the prayer is idle and empty, a mere vanity, and therefore the theology of demons.
The Eastern Orthodox Church considers itself to be both orthodox and catholic. The doctrine of the Catholicity of the Church, as derived from the Nicene Creed, is essential to Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology. The term Catholicity of the Church (GreekΚαθολικότης τῆς Ἐκκλησίας) is used in its original sense, as a designation for the universality of the Christian Church, centered around Christ. Therefore, the Eastern Orthodox notion of catholicity is not centered around any singular see, unlike the Catholic Church which has one earthly center.
Due to the influence of the Catholic Church in the west, where the
patristic usage wherein the church usually refers to itself as the "Catholic Church", whose faith is the "Orthodox faith". It is also the sense within the phrase "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church", found in the Nicene Creed
, and referred to in Orthodox worship, e.g. in the litany of the catechumens in the Divine Liturgy.
With the mutual excommunications of the East–West Schism in 1054, the churches in Rome and Constantinople each viewed the other as having departed from the true church, leaving a smaller but still-catholic church in place. Each retained the "Catholic" part of its title, the "Roman Catholic Church" (or Catholic Church) on the one hand, and the "Orthodox Catholic Church" on the other, each of which was defined in terms of inter-communion with either Rome or Constantinople. While the Eastern Orthodox Church recognizes what it shares in common with other churches, including the Catholic Church, it sees catholicity in terms of complete union in communion and faith, with the Church throughout all time, and the sharing remains incomplete when not shared fully.
Several doctrinal disputes from the fourth century onwards led to the calling of ecumenical councils. In the Orthodox Church, an ecumenical council is the supreme authority that can be invoked to resolve contested issues of the faith. As such, these councils have been held to resolve the most important theological matters that came to be disputed within the Christian Church. Many lesser disagreements were resolved through local councils in the areas where they arose, before they grew significant enough to require an ecumenical council.
There are seven councils authoritatively recognised as ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church:
The Second Ecumenical Council was held at Constantinople in 381, presided over by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, with 150 bishops, defining the nature of the Holy Spirit against those asserting His inequality with the other persons of the Trinity.
Third Ecumenical Council is that of Ephesus in 431, presided over by the Patriarch of Alexandria, with 250 bishops, which affirmed that Mary is truly "Birthgiver" or "Mother" of God (Theotokos), contrary to the teachings of Nestorius.
The Fifth Ecumenical Council is the second of Constantinople in 553, interpreting the decrees of Chalcedon and further explaining the relationship of the two natures of Jesus; it also condemned the alleged teachings of Origen on the pre-existence of the soul, etc.
In addition to these councils, there have been a number of other significant councils meant to further define the Eastern Orthodox position. They are the Synods of Constantinople, in
Synod of Iași in 1642, and the Pan-Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem in 1672. Another council convened in June 2016 to discuss many modern phenomena, other Christian confessions, Eastern Orthodoxy's relation with other religions and fasting disciplines.
Those who disagreed with the Council of Chalcedon are sometimes called "
miaphysite", to denote the "united" nature of Jesus (two natures united into one) consistent with Cyril's theology: "The term union ... signifies the concurrence in one reality of those things which are understood to be united" and "the Word who is ineffably united with it in a manner beyond all description" (Cyril of Alexandria, On the Unity of Christ). This is also defined in the Coptic liturgy, where it is mentioned "He made it [his humanity] one with his divinity without mingling, without confusion and without alteration", and "His divinity parted not from his humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye." They do not accept the teachings of Eutyches, or Eutychianism.
Both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches formally believe themselves to be the continuation of the true church.
Conversion of South and East Slavs
Christianization of Kievan Rus'
In the ninth and tenth centuries, Christianity made great inroads into pagan Europe, including
Frankish missionaries from the Roman diocese; their disciples were driven out of Great Moravia in AD 886 and emigrated to Bulgaria.
The work of Cyril and Methodius and their disciples had a major impact on the
Slava (patron saint) in a special way to honor the saint on whose day they received the sacrament of baptism. It is the most solemn day of the year for all Serbs of the Orthodox faith and has played a role of vital importance in the history of the Serbian people. Slava remains a celebration of the conversion of the Serbian people, which the church blessed and proclaimed a church institution.
The missionaries to the East and South Slavs had great success in part because they used the people's native language rather than Greek, the predominant language of the Byzantine Empire, or Latin, as the Roman priests did. Perhaps the greatest legacy of their efforts is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the largest of the Orthodox churches.
In the 11th century, what was recognised as the Great Schism took place between Rome and Constantinople, which led to separation between the Church of the West, the Catholic Church, and the Eastern Byzantine churches, now the Orthodox. There were doctrinal issues like the filioque clause and the authority of the Roman Pope involved in the split, but these were greatly exacerbated by political factors of both Church and state, and by cultural and linguistic differences between Latins and Greeks. Regarding papal supremacy, the Eastern half grew disillusioned with the Pope's centralisation of power, as well as his blatant attempts of excluding the Eastern half in regard to papal approvals. It used to be that the emperor would at least have say when a new Pope would be elected, but towards the high Middle Ages, the Christians in Rome were slowly consolidating power and removing Byzantine influence. However, even before this exclusionary tendency from the West, well before 1054, the Eastern and Western halves of the Church were in perpetual conflict, particularly during the periods of Eastern iconoclasm and the Photian schism.
sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Orthodox controlled Byzantine Empire
, in 1204.
The final breach is often considered to have arisen after the capture and sacking of Constantinople by the
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. However, many items stolen during this time, such as holy relics and riches, are still held in various European cities, particularly Venice.
Reunion was attempted twice, at the 1274 Second Council of Lyon and the 1439 Council of Florence. The Council of Florence briefly reestablished communion between East and West, which lasted until after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In each case, however, the councils were rejected by the Orthodox people as a whole, and the union of Florence also became very politically difficult after Constantinople came under Ottoman rule. However, in the time since, several local Orthodox Christian churches have renewed union with Rome, known as the Eastern Catholic Churches. Recent decades have seen a renewal of ecumenical spirit and dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
The Byzantine Empire never fully recovered from the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Over the next two centuries, it entered a precipitous decline in both territory and influence. In 1453, a much-diminished Byzantine Empire fell to the
across southeastern Europe
gradually came under Ottoman rule by the 16th century.
, the Orthodox community was generally tolerated and left to govern its own internal affairs, both religiously and legally. Until the empire's dissolution in the early 20th century, Orthodox Christians would remain the largest non-Muslim minority, and at times among the wealthiest and most politically influential.
in Smyrna in 1922.
During the period 1914-1923 in Asia Minor (Anatolia) the
By the time most Orthodox communities came under Muslim rule in the mid 15th century, Orthodoxy was very strong in Russia, which had maintained close cultural and political ties with the Byzantine Empire; roughly two decades after the fall of Constantinople,
the cultural and religious heir of Constantinople.
Until 1666, when Patriarch Nikon was deposed by the
Peter I, abolished completely the patriarchate and effectively made the church a department of the government, ruled by a most holy synod composed of senior bishops and lay bureaucrats appointed by the Emperor himself. Over time, Imperial Russia would style itself a protector and patron of all Orthodox Christians, especially those within the Ottoman Empire.
For nearly 200 years, until the
Bolsheviks' October Revolution of 1917, the Russian Orthodox Church remained, in effect, a governmental agency and an instrument of tsarist rule. It was used to varying degrees in imperial campaigns of Russification, and was even allowed to levy taxes on peasants. The church's close ties with the state came to a head under Nicholas I (1825-1855), who explicitly made Orthodoxy a core doctrine of imperial unity and legitimacy. The Orthodox faith became further tied to Russian identity and nationalism, while the church was further subordinated to the interests of the state. Consequently, Russian Orthodox Church, along with the imperial regime to which it belonged, came to be presented as an enemy of the people by the Bolsheviks and other Russian revolutionaries.
After Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support for the war effort. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. However, in 1959, Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12,000 churches. It is estimated that 50,000 clergy had been executed between the revolution and the end of the Khrushchev era. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB. By 1985 fewer than 7,000 churches remained active.
mind control experimentation in order to force them give up their religious convictions. However, this was only supported by one faction within the regime, and lasted only three years. The Communist authorities closed down the prison in 1952, and punished many of those responsible for abuses (twenty of them were sentenced to death).
Post-Communism to 21st century
Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project, between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31 percent to 72 percent, based on analysis of three waves of data (1991, 1998 and 2008) from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), a collaborative effort involving social scientists in about 50 countries.
Pew research conducted in 2017 found a doubling in the global Orthodox population since the early 20th century, with the greatest resurgence in Russia. In the former Soviet Union—where the largest Orthodox communities live—self-identified Orthodox Christians generally report low levels of observance and piety: In Russia, only 6% of Orthodox Christian adults reported attending church at least weekly, 15% say religion is "very important" in their lives, and 18% say they pray daily; other former Soviet republics display similarly low levels of religious observance.
1996 and 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schisms
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(August 2021)
Timeline showing the main autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, from an Eastern Orthodox point of view, up to 2022
of the main autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions as of 2020
The Eastern Orthodox Church is a fellowship of
ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople recognized as having the primus inter pares status. The patriarch of Constantinople has the honor of primacy, but his title is only first among equals and has no real authority over churches other than the Constantinopolitan and set out prerogatives interpreted by the ecumenical patriarch, though at times the office of the ecumenical patriarch has been accused of Constantinopolitan or Eastern papism. The Eastern Orthodox Church considers Jesus Christ to be the head of the church and the church to be his body. It is believed that authority and the grace of God is directly passed down to Orthodox bishops and clergy through the laying on of hands—a practice started by the apostles, and that this unbroken historical and physical link is an essential element of the true church (Acts 8:17, 1 Tim 4:14, Heb 6:2). The Eastern Orthodox assert that apostolic succession requires apostolic faith, and bishops without apostolic faith, who are in heresy, forfeit their claim to apostolic succession.
The Eastern Orthodox communion is organised into several regional churches, which are either autocephalous ("self-headed") or lower-ranking
Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, granted autocephaly by Serbian Orthodox Church in 2022; as well as a number of autonomous churches. Each church has a ruling bishop and a holy synod to administer its jurisdiction and to lead the Eastern Orthodox Church in the preservation and teaching of the apostolic and patristic
traditions and church practices.
Each bishop has a territory (see) over which he governs. His main duty is to make sure the traditions and practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church are preserved. Bishops are equal in authority and cannot interfere in the jurisdiction of another bishop. Administratively, these bishops and their territories are organised into various autocephalous groups or synods of bishops who gather together at least twice a year to discuss the state of affairs within their respective sees. While bishops and their autocephalous synods have the ability to administer guidance in individual cases, their actions do not usually set precedents that affect the entire Eastern Orthodox Church. Bishops are almost always chosen from the monastic ranks and must remain unmarried.
The ecumenical councils followed a democratic form, with each bishop having one vote. Though present and allowed to speak before the council, members of the Imperial Roman/Byzantine court, abbots, priests, deacons, monks and laymen were not allowed to vote. The primary goal of these great synods was to verify and confirm the fundamental beliefs of the Great Christian Church as truth, and to remove as heresy any false teachings that would threaten the Christian Church. The pope of Rome at that time held the position of primus inter pares ("first among equals") and, while he was not present at any of the councils, he continued to hold this title until the East–West Schism of 1054.
Other councils have helped to define the Eastern Orthodox position, specifically the
, held in Greece in 2016, was the only such Eastern Orthodox council in modern times.
According to Eastern Orthodox teaching the position of "first among equals" gives no additional power or authority to the bishop that holds it, but rather that this person sits as organisational head of a council of equals (like a president).
One of the decisions made by the First Council of Constantinople (the second ecumenical council, meeting in 381) and supported by later such councils was that the Patriarch of Constantinople should be given equal honor to the Pope of Rome since Constantinople was considered to be the "New Rome". According to the third canon of the second ecumenical council: "Because [Constantinople] is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honor after the bishop of Rome."
The 28th canon of the fourth ecumenical council clarified this point by stating: "For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of Old Rome because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops (i.e. the second ecumenical council in 381) actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is."
Because of the schism, the Eastern Orthodox no longer recognise the primacy of the pope of Rome. The patriarch of Constantinople therefore, like the Pope before him, now enjoys the title of "first among equals".
Percentage distribution of Eastern Orthodox Christians by country
The most reliable estimates currently available number Eastern Orthodox adherents at around 220 million worldwide, making Eastern Orthodoxy the second largest Christian communion in the world after the Catholic Church.[b]
According to the 2015 Yearbook of International Religious Demography, as of 2010, the Eastern Orthodox population was 4% of the global population, declining from 7.1% in 1910. The study also found a decrease in proportional terms, with Eastern Orthodox Christians making up 12.2% of the world's total Christian population in 2015 compared to 20.4% a century earlier. A 2017 report by the Pew Research Center reached similar figures, noting that Eastern Orthodoxy has seen slower growth and less geographic spread than Catholicism and Protestantism, which were driven by colonialism and missionary activity across the world.
Over two-thirds of all Eastern Orthodox members are concentrated in
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the fastest growing religion in certain Western countries, primarily through labor migration from Eastern Europe, and to a lesser degree conversion. Ireland saw a doubling of its Eastern Orthodox population between 2006 and 2011. Spain and Germany have the largest communities in Western Europe, at roughly 1.5 million each, followed by Italy with around 900,000 and France with between 500,000 and 700,000.
In the Americas, four countries have over 100,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States; all but the latter had fewer than 20,000 at the turn of the 20th century. The U.S. has seen its community more than quadruple since 1910, from 460,000 to 1.8 million as of 2017; consequently, the number of Eastern Orthodox parishes has been growing, with a 16% increase between 2000 and 2010.[f][g]
Turkey, which for centuries once had one of the largest Eastern Orthodox communities, saw its overall Christian population fall from roughly one-fifth in 1914 to 2.5% in 1927.
Holy Spirit is eternal and proceeds from the Father. Orthodox doctrine regarding the Trinity is summarised in the Nicene Creed.
Orthodox Christians believe in a
distinguishes between God's eternal essence, which is totally transcendent, and his uncreated energies, which is how he reaches humanity. The God who is transcendent and the God who touches mankind are one and the same. That is, these energies are not something that proceed from God or that God produces, but rather they are God himself: distinct, yet inseparable from God's inner being. This view is often called Palamism
In understanding the Trinity as "one God in three persons", "three persons" is not to be emphasised more than "one God", and vice versa. While the three persons are distinct, they are united in one divine essence, and their oneness is expressed in community and action so completely that they cannot be considered separately. For example, their salvation of mankind is an activity engaged in common: "Christ became man by the good will of the Father and by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Christ sends the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Spirit forms Christ in our hearts, and thus God the Father is glorified." Their "communion of essence" is "indivisible". Trinitarian terminology—essence, hypostasis, etc.—are used "philosophically", "to answer the ideas of the heretics", and "to place the terms where they separate error and truth." The words do what they can do, but the nature of the Trinity in its fullness is believed to remain beyond man's comprehension and expression, a holy mystery that can only be experienced.
When Eastern Orthodox Christians refer to fallen nature they are not saying that human nature has become evil in itself. Human nature is still formed in the image of God; humans are still God's creation, and God has never created anything evil, but fallen nature remains open to evil intents and actions. It is sometimes said among Orthodox that humans are "inclined to sin"; that is, people find some sinful things attractive. It is the nature of temptation to make sinful things seem the more attractive, and it is the fallen nature of humans that seeks or succumbs to the attraction. Orthodox Christians reject the Augustinian position that the descendants of Adam and Eve are actually guilty of the original sin of their ancestors.
Since the fall of man, then, it has been mankind's dilemma that no human can restore his nature to union with God's grace; it was necessary for God to effect another change in human nature. Orthodox Christians believe that Christ Jesus was both God and Man absolutely and completely, having two natures indivisibly: eternally begotten of the Father in his divinity, he was born in his humanity of a woman, Mary, by her consent, through descent of the Holy Spirit. He lived on earth, in time and history, as a man. As a man he also died, and went to the place of the dead, which is Hades. But being God, neither death nor Hades could contain him, and he rose to life again, in his humanity, by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus destroying the power of Hades and of death itself.
Through Christ's destruction of Hades' power to hold humanity hostage, he made the path to salvation effective for all the righteous who had died from the beginning of time—saving many, including Adam and Eve, who are remembered in the church as saints.
The Eastern Orthodox Church understands the death and resurrection of Jesus to be real historical events, as described in the gospels of the New Testament.
Church teaching is that Orthodox Christians, through baptism, enter a new life of salvation through repentance whose purpose is to share in the life of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Eastern Orthodox Christian life is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person, through the imitation of Christ and hesychasm, cultivates the practice of unceasing prayer. Each life occurs within the life of the church as a member of the body of Christ. It is then through the fire of God's love in the action of the Holy Spirit that each member becomes more holy, more wholly unified with Christ, starting in this life and continuing in the next. The church teaches that everyone, being born in God's image, is called to theosis, fulfillment of the image in likeness to God. God the creator, having divinity by nature, offers each person participation in divinity by cooperatively accepting His gift of grace.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, in understanding itself to be the Body of Christ, and similarly in understanding the Christian life to lead to the unification in Christ of all members of his body, views the church as embracing all Christ's members, those now living on earth, and also all those through the ages who have passed on to the heavenly life. The church includes the Christian saints from all times, and also judges, prophets and righteous Jews of the first covenant, Adam and Eve, even the angels and heavenly hosts. In Orthodox services, the earthly members together with the heavenly members worship God as one community in Christ, in a union that transcends time and space and joins heaven to earth. This unity of the church is sometimes called the communion of the saints.
Virgin Mary and other saints
The Eastern Orthodox Church believes death and the separation of body and soul to be unnatural—a result of the
Fall of Man. They also hold that the congregation of the church comprises both the living and the dead. All persons currently in heaven are considered to be saints, whether their names are known or not. There are, however, those saints of distinction whom God has revealed as particularly good examples. When a saint is revealed and ultimately recognised by a large portion of the church a service of official recognition (glorification
) is celebrated.
This does not "make" the person a saint; it merely recognises the fact and announces it to the rest of the church. A day is prescribed for the saint's celebration, hymns composed and icons created. Numerous saints are celebrated on each day of the year. They are venerated (shown great respect and love) but not worshipped, for worship is due God alone (this view is also held by the
). In showing the saints this love and requesting their prayers, the Eastern Orthodox manifest their belief that the saints thus assist in the process of salvation for others.
Pre-eminent among the saints is the
Mother of God"). In Eastern Orthodox theology, the Mother of God is the fulfillment of the Old Testament archetypes revealed in the Ark of the Covenant (because she carried the New Covenant in the person of Christ) and the burning bush that appeared before Moses (symbolizing the Mother of God's carrying of God without being consumed).
The Eastern Orthodox believe that Christ, from the moment of his conception, was both fully God and fully human. Mary is thus called the Theotokos or Bogoroditsa as an affirmation of the divinity of the one to whom she gave birth. It is also believed that her virginity was not compromised in conceiving God-incarnate, that she was not harmed and that she remained forever a virgin. Scriptural references to "brothers" of Christ are interpreted as kin, given that the word "brother" was used in multiple ways, as was the term "father". Due to her unique place in salvation history, Mary is honoured above all other saints and especially venerated for the great work that God accomplished through her.
The Eastern Orthodox Church regards the bodies of all saints as holy, made such by participation in the holy mysteries, especially the communion of Christ's holy body and blood, and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the church. Indeed, that persons and physical things can be made holy is a cornerstone of the doctrine of the Incarnation, made manifest also directly by God in Old Testament times through his dwelling in the Ark of the Covenant. Thus, physical items connected with saints are also regarded as holy, through their participation in the earthly works of those saints. According to church teaching and tradition, God himself bears witness to this holiness of saints' relics through the many miracles connected with them that have been reported throughout history since biblical times, often including healing from disease and injury.
Orthodox Christians believe that when a person dies the soul is temporarily separated from the body. Though it may linger for a short period on Earth, it is ultimately escorted either to paradise (
Abraham's bosom) or the darkness of Hades, following the Temporary Judgment. Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of Purgatory, which is held by Catholicism. The soul's experience of either of these states is only a "foretaste"—being experienced only by the soul—until the Final Judgment, when the soul and body will be reunited.
The Eastern Orthodox believe that the state of the soul in Hades can be affected by the love and prayers of the righteous up until the Last Judgment. For this reason the Church offers a special prayer for the dead on the third day, ninth day, fortieth day, and the one-year anniversary after the death of an Orthodox Christian. There are also several days throughout the year that are set aside for general commemoration of the departed, sometimes including nonbelievers. These days usually fall on a Saturday, since it was on a Saturday that Christ lay in the Tomb.
The Eastern Orthodox believe that after the Final Judgment:
All souls will be reunited with their
All souls will fully experience their spiritual state.
Having been perfected, the saints will forever progress towards a deeper and fuller love of God, which equates with eternal happiness.
The official Bible of the Eastern Orthodox Church contains the
holy tradition and is essential as the basis for all Orthodox teaching and belief.
Once established as holy scripture, there has never been any question that the Eastern Orthodox Church holds the full list of books to be venerable and beneficial for reading and study,
Protestant canon, but deemed by the Eastern Orthodox worthy to be read in worship services, even though they carry a lesser esteem than the 39 books of the Hebrew canon. The lowest tier contains the remaining books not accepted by either Protestants or Catholics, among them, Psalm 151. Though it is a psalm, and is in the book of psalms, it is not classified as being within the Psalter (the first 150 psalms).
In a very strict sense, it is not entirely orthodox to call the holy scripture the "Word of God". That is a title the Eastern Orthodox Church reserves for Christ, as supported in the scriptures themselves, most explicitly in the first chapter of the gospel of John. God's Word is not hollow, like human words. "God said, 'let there be light'; and there was light."
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not subscribe to the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. The church has defined what Scripture is; it also interprets what its meaning is. Christ promised: "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth".
Scriptures are understood to contain historical fact, poetry, idiom, metaphor, simile, moral fable, parable, prophecy and wisdom literature, and each bears its own consideration in its interpretation. While divinely inspired, the text still consists of words in human languages, arranged in humanly recognisable forms. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not oppose honest critical and historical study of the Bible.
Territorial expansion and doctrinal integrity
As the church increased in size through the centuries, the logistic dynamics of operating such large entities shifted: patriarchs, metropolitans, archimandrites, abbots and abbesses, all rose up to cover certain points of administration.
Lesser cycles also run in tandem with the annual ones. A weekly cycle of days prescribes a specific focus for each day in addition to others that may be observed.
Each day of the Weekly Cycle is dedicated to certain special memorials. Sunday is dedicated to Christ's Resurrection; Monday honors the holy bodiless powers (angels, archangels, etc.); Tuesday is dedicated to the prophets and especially the greatest of the prophets, John the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord; Wednesday is consecrated to the Cross and recalls Judas' betrayal; Thursday honors the holy apostles and hierarchs, especially Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia; Friday is also consecrated to the Cross and recalls the day of the Crucifixion; Saturday is dedicated to All Saints, especially the Mother of God, and to the memory of all those who have departed this life in the hope of resurrection and eternal life.
The church has developed eight modes or tones (see Octoechos) within which a chant may be set, depending on the time of year, feast day, or other considerations of the Typikon. There are numerous versions and styles that are traditional and acceptable and these vary a great deal between cultures.
Shards of pottery vases on the street, after being thrown from the windows of nearby houses. A Holy Saturday tradition in Corfu
Locality is also expressed in regional terms of churchly jurisdiction, which is often also drawn along national lines. Many Orthodox churches adopt a national title (e.g.
Ukrainian Orthodox, etc.) and this title can identify which language is used in services, which bishops preside, and which of the typica is followed by specific congregations. In the Middle East, Orthodox Christians are usually referred to as Rum ("Roman") Orthodox, because of their historical connection with the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Holy mysteries (sacraments)
Those things which in the West are often termed
matrimony, and ordination. But the term also properly applies to other sacred actions such as monastic tonsure or the blessing of holy water, and involves fasting, almsgiving, or an act as simple as lighting a candle, burning incense, praying or asking God's blessing on food.
An Eastern Orthodox baptism
Baptism is the mystery which transforms the old and sinful person into a new and pure one; the old life, the sins, any mistakes made are gone and a clean slate is given. Through baptism a person is united to the Body of Christ by becoming a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church. During the service, water is blessed. The catechumen is fully immersed in the water three times in the name of the Trinity. This is considered to be a death of the "old man" by participation in the crucifixion and burial of Christ, and a rebirth into new life in Christ by participation in his resurrection.
Chrismation (sometimes called confirmation) is the mystery by which a baptised person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with Holy Chrism. It is normally given immediately after baptism as part of the same service, but is also used to receive lapsed members of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As baptism is a person's participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, so Chrismation is a person's participation in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
A baptised and chrismated Eastern Orthodox Christian is a full member of the church and may receive the Eucharist regardless of age.
The creation of Chrism may be accomplished by any bishop at any time, but usually is done only once a year, often when a synod of bishops convenes for its annual meeting. Some autocephalous churches get their chrism from others. Anointing with it substitutes for the laying-on of hands described in the New Testament, even when an instrument such as a brush is used.
Holy Communion (Eucharist)
Eucharistic elements prepared for the Divine Liturgy
Communion is given only to baptised and chrismated Eastern Orthodox Christians who have prepared by fasting, prayer and confession. The priest will administer the gifts with a spoon, called a "cochlear", directly into the recipient's mouth from the chalice. From baptism young infants and children are carried to the chalice to receive holy communion.
From the Orthodox perspective, marriage is one of the holy mysteries or sacraments. As well as in many other Christian traditions, for example in Catholicism, it serves to unite a woman and a man in eternal union and love before God, with the purpose of following Christ and his Gospel and raising up a faithful, holy family through their holy union. The church understands marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, and certain Orthodox leaders have spoken out strongly in opposition to the civil institution of same-sex marriage.
Greek Orthodox wedding
Jesus said that "when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (Mk 12:25). For the Orthodox Christian this passage should not be understood to imply that Christian marriage will not remain a reality in the Kingdom, but points to the fact that relations will not be "fleshy", but "spiritual". Love between wife and husband, as an icon of relationship between Christ and church, is eternal.
The church does recognise that there are rare occasions when it is better that couples do separate, but there is no official recognition of civil divorces. For the Eastern Orthodox, to say that marriage is indissoluble means that it should not be broken, the violation of such a union, perceived as holy, being an offense resulting from either adultery or the prolonged absence of one of the partners. Thus, permitting remarriage is an act of compassion of the church towards sinful man.
In 1920, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, published an encyclical "addressed 'To all the Churches of Christ, wherever they may be', urging closer co-operation among separated Christians, and suggesting a 'League of Churches', parallel to the newly founded League of Nations". This gesture was instrumental in the foundation of the World Council of Churches (WCC); as such, almost all Eastern Orthodox churches are members of the WCC and "Orthodox ecclesiastics and theologians serve on its committees".Kallistos Ware, a British metropolitan bishop of the Orthodox Church, has stated that ecumenism "is important for Orthodoxy: it has helped to force the various Orthodox churches out of their comparative isolation, making them meet one another and enter into a living contact with non-Orthodox Christians."
communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, despite their similar names. Slow dialogue towards restoring communion between the two churches began in the mid-20th century, and, notably, in the 19th century, when the Greek Patriarch in Egypt had to absent himself from the country for a long period of time; he left his church under the guidance of the Coptic Pope Cyril IV of Alexandria.
Notwithstanding certain overtures by both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders, the majority of Orthodox Christians, as well as Catholics, are not in favor of communion between their churches, with only a median of 35 percent and 38 percent, respectively, claiming support.
from the 14th century when its status was upgraded into a patriarchate
Each church has defined geographical boundaries of its jurisdiction and is ruled by its council of bishops or synod presided by a senior bishop–its primate (or first hierarch). The primate may carry the honorary title of patriarch, metropolitan (in the Slavic tradition) or archbishop (in the Greek tradition).
Each regional church consists of constituent
eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by a bishop. Some churches have given an eparchy or group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy (self-government). Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church, usually defined in a tomos
or other document of autonomy.
Below is a list of the 15 autocephalous Orthodox churches forming the main body of Orthodox Christianity, all of which are titled equal to each other, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate is titled the first among equals. Based on the definitions, the list is in the order of precedence and alphabetical order where necessary, with some of their constituent autonomous churches and exarchates listed as well. The liturgical title of the primate is in italics.
(Metropolitan of Skopje and Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia and of Justiniana Prima)
Within the main body of Eastern Orthodoxy there are unresolved internal issues as to the autonomous or autocephalous status or legitimacy of the following Orthodox churches, particularly between those stemming from the Russian Orthodox or Constantinopolitan churches:
Orthodox Church in America (Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada) – Not recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Self-governing Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia) – Recognised only by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, opposed only by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Autonomous Bessarabian Orthodox Church in Moldova (Archbishop of Chișinău, Metropolitan of Bessarabia and Exarch of the Territories) of the Romanian Orthodox Church – Territory claimed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Autonomous Moldovan Orthodox Church (Metropolitan of Chișinău and all Moldova) of the Russian Orthodox Church – Jurisdiction disputed by the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine) – Recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Church of Greece, Church of Cyprus, and Patriarchate of Alexandria as of October 2020, opposed by the Russian, Antiochian, Czech and Slovak, Serbian and Polish Orthodox Churches, and the Orthodox Church in America.
Eastern Orthodox Church organization § True Orthodox
True Orthodoxy has been separated from the mainstream communion over issues of ecumenism and calendar reform since the 1920s. The movement rejects the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Moscow Patriarchate, and all churches which are in communion with them, accusing them of heresy and placing themselves under bishops who do the same thing. They adhere to the use of the Julian calendar, claiming that the calendar reform in the 1920s
is in contradiction with the ecumenical councils. There is no official communion of True Orthodox; and they often are local groups and are limited to a specific bishop or locality.
Old Believers are groups which do not accept the liturgical reforms which were carried out within the Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow in the 17th century. Although all of the groups of Old Believers emerged as a result of opposition to the Nikonian reforms, they do not constitute a single monolithic body. Despite their emphasis on invariable adherence to the pre-Nikonian traditions, the Old Believers feature a great diversity of groups which profess different interpretations of church tradition and they are often not in communion with each other (some groups even practise re-baptism before admitting a member of another group into their midst).
Churches with irregular or unresolved canonical status are entities that have carried out
episcopal consecrations outside of the norms of canon law or whose bishops have been excommunicated by one of the 14 autocephalous churches. These include nationalist and other schismatic bodies such as the Abkhazian Orthodox Church
^Protestantism, as a whole, is not a single church, and not a single denomination
^The numerous Protestant groups in the world, if taken all together, substantially outnumber the Eastern Orthodox, but they differ theologically and do not form a single communion.
Russian Federation population is Orthodox. However, only 5% belong to a parish or regularly attend Divine Liturgy. Lunkin said that this was long known by experts but a myth persists that 80–90% of the population is Orthodox. According to The World Factbook 2006 estimate, 15–20% are practicing Russian Orthodox but there is a large populations of non-practicing believers.
^Data are estimated, there are no census figures available, Greece is said to be 98% Orthodox by CIA, but additional studies found only 60–80% believe in God, if true, then no more than 80% may be Orthodox.
^With an absolute majority in the subnational entity of Republika Srpska
^According to Alexei Krindatch, "the total number of Orthodox parishes" increased by 16% from 2000 to 2010 in the United States, from this, he wrote that Orthodox Churches are growing.: 2 Krindatch did not provide figures about any change in the membership over that same period in his 2010 highlight.
^According to Oliver Herbel, in Turning to Tradition, the 2008 US Religious Landscape Survey "suggests that if there is growth, it is statistically insignificant.": 9 The 2014 US Religious Landscape Survey also shows, within the survey's ±9.2% margin of sampling error corresponding to the sample size of the Orthodox Christian category being 186 people, a statistically insignificant decline within the category "Orthodox Christians" as the percentage of population from 2007 to 2014.: 4, 21, 36, 93 But only 53% of people who were Orthodox Christian as children still self identify as Orthodox Christian in 2014.: 39 The Orthodox Christian category "is most heavily made up of immigrants and the children of immigrants.": 53
^The primate of the Polish Orthodox Church is referred to as Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, but the Polish Orthodox Church is officially a Metropolis
^ ab"Eastern Orthodoxy". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Eastern Orthodoxy, official name, used in British English as well, is Orthodox Catholic Church, one of the three major doctrinal and jurisdictional groups of Christianity.
^Peter, Laurence (17 October 2018). "Orthodox Church split: Five reasons why it matters". BBC. The Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church has at least 150 million followers – more than half the total of Orthodox Christians. ... But Mr Shterin, who lectures on trends in ex-Soviet republics, says some Moscow-linked parishes will probably switch to a new Kiev-led church, because many congregations 'don't vary a lot in their political preferences.'
^Cleenewerck 2009, pp. 100–101. The word "Catholic" shows that the church consider itself universal and complete, and not to be confused with Catholicism. "The Church of the East has never from the first been known by any other name than Catholic, nor has she set aside this title in any official document.".
^"About Orthodox". Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Pawtucket, RI. Retrieved 4 May 2014. The official designation of the Orthodox Church is the 'Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church.'
^The monks of Decani Monastery, Kosovo. "The Orthodox Church, An Introduction". Orthodox Christian Information Center. Retrieved 3 May 2014. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is "the Orthodox Catholic Church"
^"What We Believe". The Orthodox Church. The Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 3 May 2014. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is "the Orthodox Catholic Church" (gr. catholicos = universal).
^"About Orthodoxy". The Orthodox Church. Berlin, MD: Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church. Retrieved 3 May 2014. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is "the Orthodox Catholic Church" (gr. catholicos = universal).
^"Orthodox Christianity – Introduction". Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Ras and Prizren. Retrieved 4 May 2014. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is "the Orthodox Catholic Church" (gr. catholicos = universal).
^"About Orthodoxy". Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Frackville, PA. Retrieved 4 May 2014. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is "the Orthodox Catholic Church" (greek catholicos = universal).
^"Eastern Orthodoxy | Definition, Origin, History, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 11 November 2021. The official designation of the church in Eastern Orthodox liturgical or canonical texts is 'the Orthodox Catholic Church.' Because of the historical links of Eastern Orthodoxy with the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium (Constantinople), however, in English usage it is referred to as the 'Eastern' or 'Greek Orthodox' Church.
in American English usage referred to it as the 'Eastern' or 'Greek Orthodox' Church. These terms are sometimes misleading, especially when applied to Russian or Slavic churches and to the Orthodox communities in western Europe and America.".
^"Great Schism". National Geographic Society. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2022. On July 16, 1054, Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was excommunicated, starting the "Great Schism" that created the two largest denominations in Christianity—the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths.
^Dvornik, Francis (1956). The Slavs: Their Early History and Civilization. Boston: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. p. 179. The Psalter and the Book of Prophets were adapted or "modernised" with special regard to their use in Bulgarian churches, and it was in this school that glagolitic writing was replaced by the so-called Cyrillic writing, which was more akin to the Greek uncial, simplified matters considerably and is still used by the Orthodox Slavs.
^Pope Innocent III, Letters, 126 (given 12 July 1205, and addressed to the papal legate, who had absolved the crusaders from their pilgrimage vows). Text taken from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook by Paul Halsall. Modified. Original translation by J. Brundage.
^Adrian Cioroianu, Pe umerii lui Marx. O introducere în istoria comunismului românesc ("On the Shoulders of Marx. An Incursion into the History of Romanian Communism"), Editura Curtea Veche, Bucharest, 2005
"Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her."
^Christopher M. Bellitto, The General Councils: A History of the Twenty-one General Councils from Nicaea to Vatican II, Paulist Press, 2002, p. 41.
^Veronis, Luke (21 March 2011), "Orthodox Missions", Encyclopedia of Christianity Online, Brill, retrieved 8 December 2021
^"Orthodox belonging to Church – 41%". sreda.org. Moscow. 19 October 2012. Based on a survey of 56,900 people interviewed in 2012, responding 41% yes to the statement: "I am Orthodox, and belong to the Russian Orthodox Church."
^ abcPew Research Center (12 May 2015). America's changing religious landscape(PDF). Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Archived(PDF) from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015. Based on 2014 Religious Landscape Survey.
^Ware 1993, p. 322 "From the beginning of the twentieth century the Ecumenical Patriarchate has shown a special concern for Christian reconciliation. At his accession in 1902, Patriarch Joachim III sent an encyclical letter to all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, asking in particular for their opinion on relations with other Christian bodies. In January 1920 the Ecumenical Patriarchate followed this up with a bold and prophetic letter addressed 'To all the Churches of Christ, wherever they may be', urging closer co-operation among separated Christians, and suggesting a 'League of Churches', parallel to the newly founded League of Nations. Many of the ideas in this letter anticipate subsequent developments in the WCC. Constantinople, along with several of the other Orthodox Churches, was represented at the Faith and Order Conferences at Lausanne in 1927 and at Edinburgh in 1937. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also participated in the first Assembly of the WCC at Amsterdam in 1948, and has been a consistent supporter of the work of the WCC ever since."
. Addressed "to all the Churches of Christ, wheresoever they be", the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate opens the words anticipating the spirit of the ecclesial bodies which would later form the World Council of Churches.
^"From Russia, with Love". Christianity Today. Retrieved 31 December 2007. Many evangelicals share conservative positions with us on such issues as abortion, the family, and marriage. Do you want vigorous grassroots engagement between Orthodox and evangelicals? Yes, on problems, for example, like the destruction of the family. Many marriages are split. Many families have either one child or no child.
^"From Russia, with Love". Christianity Today. Retrieved 31 December 2007. If we speak about Islam (and of course if we mean moderate Islam), then I believe there is the possibility of peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity. This is what we have had in Russia for centuries, because Russian Islam has a very long tradition. But we never had religious wars. Nowadays we have a good system of collaboration between Christian denominations and Islam.
^The ROC severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2018, and later severed full communion with the primates of the Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the Church of Cyprus in 2020.
^ abcdefghAutocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.
^UOC-MP was moved to formally cut ties with the ROC as of May 27th 2022.