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Orthodox Ecclesiology

Introduction

 

Pentecost_begining of Christian

Pentecost: Beginning of the Christian Church

Western Christians often speak of the Orthodox Churches, rather than the Orthodox Church. From the Orthodox perspective, the Church is one, even though She is manifested in many places. Orthodox ecclesiology operates with a plurality in unity and a unity in plurality. For Orthodoxy there is no either/or between the one and the many. No attempt is made, or should be made, to subordinate the many to the one (the Roman Catholic model), nor the one to the many (the Protestant model). It is both canonically and theologically correct to speak of the Church and the churches, and vice versa. This is impossible for Roman Catholic ecclesiology because of the double papal claim for universal jurisdiction and infallibility. The same must be said of the Protestant ecclesiologies, which connect the notion of the Church with denominationalism, and which make a distinction between the one and the many in terms of the invisible and the visible Church. From an Orthodox perspective, the Church is both catholic and local, invisible and visible, one and many. To explain what lies behind this Orthodox ecclesiological unity in multiplicity, one has to deal with the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church.

Home | Preliminary Remarks | Introduction | Church of the Triune God | Church of Christ | Church of the Trinity and the Church of Christ
Church of the Fathers | Church of the Saints or Those Who are Called To Be Saints | Conclusion