Which Orthodox Church Came First?
In an attempt to answer this question, we will look at the Russian Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church, and Egyptian Orthodox Church. While we have a lot of differences among these churches, their core beliefs and liturgical practices are essentially the same. These differences have led many people to wonder which orthodox church came first and what distinguishes them from each other.
Table of Contents
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church has its origins in Kievan Rus’, a forerunner to the modern state of Russia. Prince Vladimir declared Byzantine Christianity to be the official religion of Russia in A.D. 988. Initially, the Russian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the patriarch of Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine Empire. However, power was transferred to Moscow in the fourteenth century. Today, the Russian Orthodox Church is ruled by the Metropolitan of Moscow.
The Russian Orthodox Church has survived centuries of turmoil and has managed to maintain its place in Russian society. Its popularity is reflected in the fact that it seems to be attracting more young people to its church. While this may not be a result of anything special, it is a testament to its conservative past and its relations with other churches abroad.
Perestroika brought about a number of changes for the Russian Orthodox Church. Most restrictions on religious activities were removed, including the ban on televising church services. This allowed people to watch services live. There were 300 clergymen elected to parliament during Perestroika, and many of them have important positions in society.
After the fall of the communist regime, the church regained popularity in Russia. It became a beacon of trust among the people. In the 1990s, after the death of Patriarch Pimen, the new patriarch Aleksiy II was elected to head the church. Since then, political leaders have regularly sought the church’s blessing on government policy.
Greek Orthodox Church
The history of the Orthodox Church begins in the Acts of the Holy Apostles. In this book, we learn that the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and dwelt among the apostles and believers on the day of Pentecost. From this time on, the Church began to differ from the Roman Catholic Church in various ways.
The Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were established by the apostles Peter and Paul. The Greek Church later spread throughout Eastern Europe with the help of the missionary work of the Church of Constantinople. The missionaries brought Scripture and liturgical texts to other parts of the world. The churches in these regions adopted many of the practices and rituals of the Church of Constantinople, which are still present in the Church today.
Today, the Eastern Orthodox Church is a regional church, with most of its adherents in Central and Eastern Europe. While the two are similar in doctrine, they do not share the same history or practices. The Eastern Orthodox Church promotes the Byzantine expression of the ancient Faith.
The Greek Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian denomination. Its bishops trace their succession to the apostles. While each bishop receives a different title, all are equal in their sacramental office. The various titles are administrative or honorific in nature. They may be monks or married men. However, bishops cannot marry priests. The Orthodox Church stresses the intercession of the saints.
Egyptian Orthodox Church
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East. There are approximately ten to twenty million members in Egypt, representing fifteen percent of the population. The Coptic Orthodox Church also has over fifteen dioceses outside Egypt. Like its Eastern Orthodox counterpart, the Coptic Church is committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the sanctity of life. It emphasizes personal relationship with Christ and meritorious works for salvation.
The Church is governed by the Holy Synod. The Patriarch of Alexandria is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The other bishops of the church are called patriarchal exarchs, missionary bishops, and auxiliary bishops. The Coptic Orthodox Church also recognizes suffragan bishops, assistant bishops, and patriarchal vicars.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the world’s oldest Christian denominations. It was founded in Egypt in the first century by Saint Mark, the Apostle of Christ. It was the first Christian church in the area, and it has an extensive history. The Coptic hierarchy claims that St. Mark was one of the 72 apostles sent by Jesus Christ. He preached Christianity throughout North Africa, including Rome. He was martyred in Egypt during an Easter service in 68 A.D., and his descendants are regarded as the first 117 patriarchs and martyrs.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East. It claims to be the first branch of Christianity founded by the apostle Mark. It is also the most pure form of Christianity. It is the body of Christ and is led by the Pope of Alexandria. Its headquarters is Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, and its membership ranges from ten million to sixty million people.