Eastern Christians : A Mosaic of Churches from the 5 patriarchates


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Patriarchs, church leaders, bishops, monks and nuns from the Eastern Catholic Churches reunited for the 150th anniversary of l’Œuvre d’Orient

Origin of the Eastern Churches

The Eastern churches are as old as Christianity itself. Indeed, the church was born in the Middle East and it spread out from there to the rest of the Empire. This expansion featured three distinct phases:

The time of the apostles and their immediate successors

The church was born in Jerusalem through the apostles' teachings, and quickly spread to the rest of the Empire: Syria, Arabia, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. The faithful were persecuted but the church organised itself into patriarchates that were set by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

The time of theological disputes and councils

When theological debate led to a contested thesis, a council (assembly of Bishops) was convened to set the articles of faith. A majority then rallied to the decisions, but sometimes minorities challenged them and separated. This led to the establishment of churches that were not in communion with the other churches and Rome. The last great schism dates back to 1054. It is known as the East–West Schism. This is when the Latin churches became known as Catholic and the Greek churches became known as Orthodox.

Rome and the union of churches

Rome and the separated churches always shared a desire to reunite. Sometimes the churches reunited out of religious or even political necessity; sometimes the actions of the faithful also led to the reunification of large numbers of these separated churches with Rome. This is the story behind most Eastern Catholic churches.
"L’Œuvre d’Orient helps 11 Eastern churches united with Rome and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem."