Pro Oriente
The Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church of the Byzantine rite includes all those Churches that are usually associated with the keyword "Orthodoxy" in Western countries: the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. These are Churches that were originally based in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire or were Christianized from there and which - in contrast to the Oriental Orthodox Churches - have received the Christological decisions of the Council of Chalcedon (451). They are therefore referred to in the presentation of denominations as "Chalcedonian Orthodoxy". These churches were in communion with the Roman Western church well into the 2nd millennium, before the rupture between the churches in East and West occurred, mainly due to jurisdictional and ecclesiastical disputes.

Since the Orthodox Churches agree in faith and belong to the same rite family (the Byzantine rite), they consider themselves basically one church, although in different national forms. It is therefore appropriate to speak of the Orthodox Church (in the singular) from a religious perspective, even if one can also speak of the Orthodox Churches (in the plural) due to the very different historical developments. The basic unity of faith has recently been severely strained by intra-Orthodox conflicts, some of which have led to the disruption of ecclesiastical fellowship between individual churches. In the following, those Orthodox Churches are listed and described in their own articles and are referred as autocephalous, insofar as they regulate their internal church affairs independently and elect their primate themselves from among their bishops.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Orthodox Church of America are (so far) not recognized as autocephalous by all other Orthodox churches. There are also several autonomous Orthodox Churches, which can also regulate their internal church affairs independently, but whose primate is appointed by the patriarch of an autocephalous Orthodox Church. These include the Orthodox Churches of Finland and Estonia (subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with part of the Estonian Church remaining in connection with the Moscow Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian and Japanese Orthodox Churches (subject to the Moscow Patriarchate). The Orthodox Church on Sinai, which today is almost identical to the monastic community of St. Catherine's Monastery and is subordinate to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, also has an autonomous status.

These include: