Orthodox Churches Find Difficulty Overcoming Differences

March 23, 2011

ENInews of Moscow writes:

Diptychs, an arcane liturgical term that describes the order in which Orthodox churches commemorate each other at their services, is one of the tangled issues blocking plans for what could be the first great church council in 1,200 years.

Some Orthodox leaders say the churches need to get together to discuss common issues and speak with one voice on such important topics as bioethics, sexuality and the environment, but differences over arcane church issues such as diptychs and autocephaly (the independent status of Orthodox churches) run deep.

There are about 250 million Orthodox Christians in the world, belonging to 14 or 15 independent Orthodox churches, depending on which church is counting. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, for example, does not recognize the autocephaly (independence) granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in 1970, and does not commemorate the OCA in its diptychs.

Diptychs are not a question of dogma, but they are at the heart of church protocol. A leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church cited its founding in the fifth century in explaining why his church won’t back down in its demands for greater recognition.

Read more here.

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