Orthodox Church

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The Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church (Catholic being the Greek word for 'universal'), was founded at Antioch by St.Paul and is the first but today second-largest, Christian church. Stanley states that the Roman Emperor "controlled, guided and personified The Church at Constantinople; no-one can read Eusebius's description of the Council at Nicaea without understanding that - amongst all who were then assembled none occupied the same pre-eminence." This Council bestowed upon Roman Emperor Constantine the Great his semi-Holy status as "Divine Head of the Church". The Patriarch of Constantinople was considered the senior of all the Bishops and Patriarchs (including Antioch, Alexandria and Rome). However with the conquest of Asia Minor and parts of eastern Europe by the Turks, the Orthodox church no longer has a central doctrinal or governance authority analogous to the Roman Catholic Pope. Today it consists of several self-governing branches (including Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox) which usually recognize each other as valid, although there are, from time to time, conflicts regarding this.

Russian Orthodox Church

Following the fall of Constantinople in 1452 the Russian Orthodox Church claimed the leadership of the Orthodox Church and subsequently Moscow was often referred to as "The Third Rome". The Russians based this claim on the fact that Princess Olga, of the Rurikid House of the Grand Duke of Kiev, and a devotee of St.Andrew (the first appointed apostle) who "received Scythia" (southern Russia), went to Constantinople to be baptised by the Patriarch Polyeutes, when the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus stood as Olga's Godfather. In 1453, Princess Sophia of Achaia, the niece and heiress of the last Byzantine Emperor, married Ivan II, Grand Duke of Moscow, a descendant of the Kiev Grand Dukes. Following this marriage and the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, Ivan subsequently styled himself Tsar, which is Russian for Caesar. He also adopted the Byzantine double-headed eagle for his Arms. Their grandson became Tsar Ivan IV, and he married Anastasia Romanov. In 1613 Michael Romanov, the son of the Patriarch Philaret Romanov, a grand-nephew of Ivan and Sophia, became Tsar, hence the semi-holy status bestowed upon the Tsars.[1] Needless to say this claim by the Russian Orthodox Church is disputed.

The Orthodox Liturgy being the Liturgy of St. John Chrysisom and St. Basil the Great, is the best known in the Russian Orthodox Church.

External links



  1. Lauder-Frost, Gregory, "The Religious Claim of the Tsars" in Hakahuhe, Russian Monarchist League journal, London, Winter 1987.
  • Stanley, D.D., Professor Arthur Penrhyn, The Eastern Church, London, 1861.
  • Adeney, M.A., D.D., Walter, The Greek and Eastern Churches, Edinburgh, 1908.
  • Runciman, Steven, The Eastern Schism, Clarendon Press, Oxford, U.K., 1955.
  • Every, S.S.M., George, The Byzantine Patriarchate 451 - 1204, S.P.C.K., London, 1962.
  • Kelly, D.D., J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, A & C Black, London, Third Edition, 1965.
  • Lauder-Frost, Gregory, "Church and State" an article in Hakahyhe, Russian Monarchist League journal, London, Summer 1990.