The Eastern Orthodox Church is the ancient Christian church which is rooted in the Mediterranean region. Several Christian communities were established in the Eastern Mediterranean during the early Christian centuries. This article discusses several of these communities, including the Coptic Orthodoxy and the Ethiopian Orthodoxy. It also discusses the doctrine of the Incarnation.
Early Christian communities in the Eastern Mediterranean
In the first century AD, the Eastern Mediterranean became the home of early Christian communities. These communities spread across the Roman Empire, as well as Egypt and other countries.
Early Christianity had several centers, including Aquileia, Caesarea, and Rome. The city of Edessa is also considered a center of the Church of the East.
Another important place in the eastern Mediterranean was the Greek colony of Pontus, which was situated on the southeast coast of the Black Sea. This area was also the site of one of the first ecumenical councils, which took place in 325.
The city of Dura-Europos was an important trading and military crossroad between the Sassanid Empire and the Roman Empire. The town changed hands many times during the second and third centuries.
Another important early Christian center was the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, which was located in modern Turkey. The city was a major commercial and cultural centre, with a large Jewish population. Several major ecumenical councils were held there.
Theology of the Incarnation
Orthodox Christianity makes a unique claim – the Incarnation. This is the concept that God the Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world, so that the human race could be saved. Ultimately, the goal is to become Christ-like.
The Orthodox Church believes that God the Father created humanity with a direction to follow. It also believes that humans are capable of loving and loving freely. However, as a result of the fall, mankind’s fallen nature was unleashed. Thus, God had to reestablish the divine plan for man and send his only begotten Son to save the world.
As part of the salvific process, God the Father redeemed mankind and reopened the path to union with God. Through His incarnation, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah and restored the lost souls in Hades.
The term “theosis” is commonly used in Orthodox writings. Theosis is a Greek word describing humanity’s initial vocation and the process by which we experience communion with God.
Coptic vs Dyophysitism
The schism between Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox dates back to the Council of Chalcedon. This council dealt with the issue of the nature of Christ. It decided that Christ’s human and divine natures are equally present in one person. Traditionally, Orthodox churches have been highly internally heterogeneous.
Cyril of Alexandria defended a miaphysite Christology during the Nestorian controversy. In ad 433, Cyril successfully deposed the Nestorian Patriarch. However, Cyril’s terminology shifted over time. While Cyril did not fundamentally alter Christology in dialogues with Orientals, his emphasis did change.
Dyophysitism, also known as Hypostatic Union, is a disputed Christological doctrine. It holds that Jesus’s humanity and divinity are held together by a single Hypostatis. Many Orthodox churches, such as Roman Catholicism, practice this position. Non-Chalcedonian churches, such as Eastern Orthodoxy, have not taken this stance.
Monophysitism, on the other hand, believes that Jesus has only one nature. This is the position taken by the Oriental Orthodox Church, including the Coptic Orthodox Church, as well as many Protestant denominations.
Coptic Orthodoxy vs Ethiopian Orthodoxy
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the largest Orthodox groups in the world. It’s also one of the few churches that incorporates English into its services. They have an international body of believers who tolerate a wide range of liturgical practices.
Ethiopian Christianity traces its roots back to the Fourth Century. While the church is mostly known today for its strong ties to the Hebrew Bible, it’s also based on the belief in the Holy Trinity. In addition to the Holy Trinity, Ethiopian Christians believe in the Holy Spirit, and they have their own version of the Eucharist. Their worship is largely a series of songs and dances to traditional gospel music.
Ethiopian Orthodoxy is often described as an “outsider” in the Orthodox world. Bulatovich’s journals provide detailed accounts of his observations of Ethiopian life. He describes a religious society that’s much less exotic than he expected.
Ethiopians have a rich, layered web of feast and fast days, all of which are used to create social hierarchy. As a result, they often exclude non-observant people from the church.