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Oriental Orthodox Churches

  Oriental Orthodox Churches (Non-Chalcedonian)
share a common theological tradition, and are distinguished by their unique liturgical traditions and practices. They are distinct from the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in that they do not accept the Chalcedonian Definition of 451, which defined the nature of Christ as being both fully human and fully divine. Instead, they adhere to the miaphysite Christological formula, which states that Christ has a single, unified nature that is both human and divine. Although present worldwide, their largest concentrations are in the Middle East, Africa, and India.

 
Armenian Apostolic Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
 Etchmiadzin,
Armenia
Apostolic time; k. of Armenia, 301; church emerged 4th c. King Tiridates III's conversion
6,000,000
Armenian
Dioceses: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Romania , Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, United States
Church communities (CC): Austria, Belgium, Ethiopia, Hungary, India, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden
Independent sees
Head
HQ
Dioceses/CC
Members*
Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
Etchmiadzin, Armenia
Armenia
c. 5,000,000
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Patriarch of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel
Israel, Jordan
c. 250,000
Patriarchate of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople
Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey
c. 82,000
Catholicosate of Cilicia
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia
Antelias, Lebanon
Cyprus, Iran, Lebanon, Syria; CC: Kuwait, United Arab Emirates
c. 800,000
Coptic Orthodox Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa of the See of St Mark
Cairo, Egypt
Apostolic time; separate church emerged after Council of Chalcedon 451
9,000,000
 Alexandrian
Metropolitanates: Egypt, France, Jerusalem, Libya, South Africa,United States
Dioceses: Egypt, Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi), Austria with German Districts of Switzerland, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, East Asia, E. Europe (Hungary, Romania, Czech, Slovenia, Poland), France, French Districts (Switzerland and France), Germany, Greece, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Sudan, United Kingdom, United States
Patriarchal Vicariates: Egypt
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St Tekle
Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum
Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia
 St Frumentius; Emp. Ezana of Aksum makes Christianity state religion c. 330, and church develops
36,000,000
Alexandrian
Dioceses: Eritrea, Greece, Latina America, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Patriarch of Eritrea
Asmara, Eritrea
  Separated from Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church 1993
3,030,000
 Alexandrian
Dioceses: Eritrea, Europe, Middle East, North America
Syrian Orthodox Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the
Universal Syriac Orthodox Church
 Damascus, Syria
 Apostolic time - ancient Church of Antioch; 6th c. split - current church emerged
6,200,000
 Syro-Antiochene
(W. Syriac)
Dioceses of Syria: Patriarchal-vicariate of Damascus; Archdiocese of Jazirah and the Euphrates;Archdiocese of Aleppo; Archdiocese of Homs and Hama
Dioceses of Iraq: Archdiocese of Baghdad and Basra; Archdiocese of Mosul and environs; Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Dayro
Dioceses of Lebanon: Metropolitan of Lebanon, Archdiocese of Zahle and Bekaa, Archbishopric of Beirut, Archdiocese of Patriarchal Institutions
Dioceses of Israel: Patriarchal Vicariate for the Archdiocese of Jerusalem
Dioceses of Turkey: Patriarchal Vicariate of Istanbul, Ankara and Urfa; Archdiocese of Tur ‘Abdin; Archdiocese of Mardin
Dioceses of Europe: Archdiocese of Sweden and Scandinavia; Patriarchal Vicariate for the Archdiocese of Sweden; Archdiocese of the Netherlands; Archdiocese of Central Europe and Benelux; Vicariate of Germany
Dioceses of the Americas: Archdiocese of the United States and Canada; Vicariate of the US East; Vicariate of Los Angeles and environs; Vicariate of Canada, Vicariate of Argentina; Vicariate of Brazil
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan
 Kottayam, India
Apostolic time; St Thomas Christians <4th c. in India; community in communion with Syrian Orthodox Church 1665; split 1912–58 and 1978– present, with, autocephalous church declared
c. 2,500,000
 Syro-Antiochene
(W. Syriac)
Dioceses: India, Canada, United States; Europe and Africa
Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Catholicos of India, Maphrian of the East, Presiding Hierarch of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church in India
 Puthencruz
 Split from Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church 1912–58, and 1975-present
 
c. 1,200,000
 Syro-Antiochene
(W. Syriac)
Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India: Metropolitanates in India, Australia, Europe, Persian Gulf, United States
Knanaya Archdiocese: Metropolitanates for India, and Western diaspora
Simahasana Churches: India
Missions:
Evangelical Association of the East; Honnavar Mission
Independent Churches (without communion)
Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhiyur Church)
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members*
Rite
Valliya Metropolitan of the Malabar independent
Syrian Church and Metropolitan of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church.
Thoziyur, India
Split from Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church 1772
 10,000 to 35,000
  Syro-Antiochene
(W. Syriac)
Kerala Parishes: St. George’s Cathedral Church, Thozhiyur; St. Adhai’s Church, Porkulam, Pazhanji; St. Mary’s Church, Perummannoor; St. Mary’s Church, Pazhanji; St. George’s Church, Peringod; St. Thomas’ Church, Kunnamkulam; St. George Church, Kallumpuram; Mar Koorilose Bava Church, Ernakulam; St. George’s Church, Karikkad; St. Augin’s Church, Chalissery; Mar Koorilose Church, Korattikara
Tamil Nadu Parishes: St. George’s Church, Perambur; St. George’s Church, Coimbatore
British Orthodox Church
Head
Seat
Founded/Est.
Members
Rite
Patriarch of Glastonbury
Glastonbury, Somerset
Est. 1866 by Syrian Orthodox Church as an independent church; united with Coptic Orthodox Church 1994–2014, independence
 5,000 to 10,000
(2012)
Alexandrian/
Latin
Parishes and Churches: St Thomas the Apostle Orthodox Parish, London; St Alban and St Athanasios’ Parish, Chatham; Church of St Mark & St Hubert, Doncaster; Church of St. Mary & St Felix, Kings Lynn; Church of Christ the Saviour, Bournemouth

Notes

*Figures from 2020.

Sources

Allyson Eamer, ed. Border Terrains: World Diasporas in the 21st Century. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Inc. 2023.

Coptic Orthodox Church Official Website, 2023.

Lucian N. Leustean, ed. Eastern Christianity and Politics of the Twenty-First Century. London; New York: Routledge, 2014.

Hierarchy of Churches, 2023.

Malabar Independent Syrian Church, 2023.

The British Orthodox Church, 2019.





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