Orthodoxy’s declining share of the global Christian population has a lot to do with demographic trends in Europe. As Europe’s population grows older, it also experiences lower fertility rates. As a result, its population has been shrinking as a percentage of the world’s total population, and the trend is expected to continue in coming decades.
Patriarchate of Rome
Pope Benedict emphasized the need to restore Orthodox unity, without dogmas defined after the 1054 split. However, when speaking of unity with the Patriarch of Constantinople, he omitted the Latin phrase Filioque. The Western Church could learn a lot from the Eastern tradition. Its encounter with the Enlightenment and Reformation may serve as a model for the Eastern Church.
The Byzantines did not consider the break with the West to be a final schism. They believed that the break occurred when the German barbarians temporarily took the Roman see, and that the Christian world would eventually unite under one legitimate emperor. Later, when the Crusaders took control of the Patriarchate of Rome, they replaced the Greek patriarchs in Jerusalem and Antioch with Latin prelates.
Patriarchate of Constantinople
The ecumenical relationship between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Roman Church has flourished in the past few decades. Several dialogues have taken place, joint commissions have met, and declarations have been issued. In addition to this, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has signed the Balamand Agreement, which calls for full communion between the two bodies by the year 2000.
The pope has met with a delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, expressing hope that the two churches can resume their communion. While the Orthodox Church has a different structure than the Roman Catholic Church, it is composed of 15 autocephalous churches, each with its own patriarch, archbishop, and metropolitan.
Patriarchate of Alexandria
The Patriarchate of Alexandria, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox Churches in communion with Rome, was founded in 395. It is the oldest church in Egypt and the largest in the region. It is home to around 300,000 Orthodox Christians. The bylaws of the Patriarchate of Alexandria establish a synodal system of administration. The Patriarch is elected by a Holy Synod made up of seven metropolitans. This body meets every six months.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria was established by St Mark the Evangelist in 395. It is the second-highest ecclesiastical jurisdiction after the Church of Constantinople. Its leadership is recognized by all churches as being a part of the same succession.
Patriarchate of Antioch
The Patriarchate of Antioch is an Eastern Orthodox Church that is in communion with Rome. It is headed by His Beatitude John X. The succession of patriarchs dates back to St. Peter the Apostle. There are currently three candidates for the position of patriarch.
There are many differences between the two Orthodox churches. The Greek-Melkite initiative and document are two of the differences. The Greek-Melkite initiative and the Patriarchate of Antioch’s relationship with the ROCOR have been a long and complex process. Despite the differences between the two, the Antioch Patriarchate continues to hold meetings and work with the international commission. It does not favor intercommunion, but views it as a last step.
In October 2013, the Holy Council gathered in Rome. It referred the matter to a special commission, which was empowered to solve the problem in two months. The Patriarchate of Antioch promised to dissolve Eucharistic communion with Jerusalem if the situation was not resolved by October. The Patriarchate of Antioch also received an invitation to participate in the Phanar assembly of the heads of Local Orthodox Churches.
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the Eastern Orthodox Church is in communion with Rome and the Catholic Church. It is closely associated with the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, a group of Christian monks who are responsible for maintaining many holy sites in the Holy Land. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is in communion with Rome and sometimes collaborates with other Oriental Churches such as the Syrian, Ethiopian, and Armenian Orthodox Churches. Its history and role continues to be complicated by the political situation in the Holy Land.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the dominant church in the Holy Land. It has suffered centuries of turmoil and is the largest church in the Holy City. Today, it is home to approximately 130,000 people from the Holy Land, including churches in the Holy City and the countries of Palestine, Jordan, and the Arabian Peninsula. It is also home to many Arab Christians who are members of other denominations.