Historical Overview of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch

The Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch

The Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, one of the oldest Christian denominations, traces its origins to the early Christian community in Antioch, a major city in the Roman Empire. This church is traditionally believed to have been founded by the Apostle Peter. Antioch was known as a pivotal center for the spread of Christianity to regions like Asia Minor, Cilicia, Macedonia, Greece, eastern Syria, northern Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus. The ecclesiastical privileges of the Church were recognized at the first Council of Nicaea in 325 and reaffirmed at the Council of Constantinople in 381.

Christological Schism and the Establishment of the Orthodox Patriarchate

The Church of Antioch faced a significant schism following the Council of Chalcedon in 451. This council's Christological declarations led to a division within the Antiochene Church. The group that rejected the Chalcedonian formula, viewing it as a deviation from authentic Christian doctrine, established the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. This faction is sometimes referred to as non-Chalcedonian or anti-Chalcedonian, and historically it was also labeled as “Monophysite,” although this term is considered inaccurate and pejorative in modern theological discourse.

The Role of Jacob Baradeus and the Name "Jacobite"

A key figure in the reorganization and revival of the anti-Chalcedonian Church was Jacob Baradeus (545-578 AD). He played a crucial role in ordaining numerous priests and bishops, helping to sustain the Church during times of persecution under Byzantine rule. His foundational efforts led to the Church being colloquially known as the “Jacobite” Church, a term that is still used.

Liturgical and Theological Distinctions

The Syrian Orthodox Church recognizes the first three ecumenical councils (Nicaea(AD 325), Constantinople (AD 381), and Ephesus (AD 431)) and is characterized by its Antiochene or West Syrian liturgical tradition. The liturgical language is predominantly West Syriac. The church utilizes the anaphoras of the Twelve Apostles and St. James in its Eucharistic liturgy.

Relationship with the Malankara Community

The Malankara community's relationship with the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch began in the mid-17th century when the Malankara Church sought to establish a legitimate episcopal hierarchy following its separation from the Roman Catholic Church. The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate's response, by sending Bishop Mar Gregorios to Malabar, marked the formal beginning of this relationship. This connection influenced the Malankara Church's liturgical practices, theological orientation, and ecclesiastical governance, aligning it more closely with the Syrian Orthodox tradition.

history/malankara_syrian_orthodox_church_from_its_inception_until_the_time_of_reunion/historical_overview_of_the_syrian_orthodox_church_of_antioch.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/22 04:09 by smcc