Both the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Church worship the same God and the Blessed Mother Virgin Mary and the Saints and the Holy Trinity. Do language and cultural differences separate them? What current issues prevent the churches from being in full communion with each other?

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1 Answer 1


Nestorianism was condemned at the third and fourth ecumenical councils (Ephesus I & Chalcedon I), so calling Oriental Christians 'Orthodox' is incorrect from a mainstream Eastern Orthodox point of view—but this is the title they use for themselves so it is what it is. While some Eastern Orthodox Christians do lump Nestorians and Oriental Orthodox Christians together as monophysite churches, Oriental Orthodox Christians reject this label and distinguish themselves from Nestorians as miaphysite churches.

Concerning Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, the difference is that the latter accept only the first three ecumenical councils (Nicaea I, Constantinople I, & Ephesus I), while the former accept seven ecumenical councils. There are some Eastern Orthodox Christians who consider the controversy between Oriental Orthodox and themselves to be primarily semantic (and some dialogue has been made in the 20th century to reunite the churches, but full communion has not yet been restored), but officially they are not considered to be 'Orthodox' (despite their use of the title) as they were condemned as heretical for rejecting the fourth ecumenical council (Chalcedon).

In summary, officially Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that they are the only Church that can rightly be called 'Orthodox,' and thus Nestorians and Oriental Orthodox Christians are actually heterodox. Their refusal to accept these Church councils keeps them separated.

  • Thanks, that [accidentally listing the wrong council name] is what I figured had happened, but wasn't sure. +1 now that it is fixed.
    – ThaddeusB
    Aug 29, 2015 at 6:07
  • 3
    Nestorianism and Eutychianism/monophysitism are opposite heresies. OOs sometimes lump Nestorians and EOs together, but it wouldn't make any sense for EOs to lump Nestorians and OOs together. The church sometimes known as the "Nestorian Church" is the Church of the East, which is distinct from both Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. Please fix that part of your answer. Jan 13, 2016 at 18:46

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