Hi Mor Ephrem,
Assyrians in India: East Syriac Liturgy, "Nestorian" theology.
So the Assyrians would be considered heretical by the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, right?
Orthodox in India ("Catholicos" group and "Patriarchal" group): West Syriac Liturgy, Miaphysite theology.
These are the 2 groups you said that are similar but politics divides them. I'm sure that's the simplified version, but it'll do.
Catholics in India:
Roman Catholics: Roman Liturgy, Roman theology.
Syro-Malabar Catholics: modified East Syriac Liturgy and theology, but faithful to Roman doctrine as well.
Syro-Malankara Catholics: West Syriac Liturgy (with certain modifications) and theology, but also faithful to Roman doctrine.
I think the woman who came to the OCF meeting said Malankara, but seeing how similar the 2 names are I could be wrong. Either way, she wasn't an Orthodox Christian! She's still welcome to our meetings, though.
I remember her remarking how very disappointed she was in the local Indian church, and so she's going to protestant churches b/c they have Bible studies. She still has respect for the Indian Catholic church but is definitely wandering. Any advice? And how about that guy I mentioned?
Speaking for the Orthodox, they have identical services (although the translations of texts differ every so often), and the theology is the same. The different names are simply to indicate who's who.
Each of the three Catholic Churches I named have different rites and answer to different hierarchs, but have the same general faith. The names indicate separate Churches, all under Rome.
Interesting that such a relatively small Christian community is divided so much. How long ago was it that the Indian churches were considered "one"?
They are in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, and currently not in communion with the Eastern (Byzantine) Orthodox Churches. The main difference between these two groups is the preferred Christology of each: Cyrillian and Chalcedonian, respectively.
So if I understand things correctly, those who go by "Orthodox" fall into one of 2 communions: The Eastern Orthodox Churches (of Byzantine heritage), and the Oriental Orthodox Churches (generally outside the borders of the Byzantine empire). the Eastern Orthodox seem to feel that unity of faith means unity of practice, also. So, for example, they all use a common Liturgy and generally have the same cycle of feasts, etc. How similar are the teachings of the Oriental Orthodox, and how similar are the services, practices, etc.? My impression is that the Oriental Orthodox communion is more of a loosely organized communion...kind of a collection of local churches all considered heretical by the Eastern Orthodox but that don't consider each other heretical. Was there always this sort of communion among the Oriental Orthodox or was it this more of a recent phenomonen?
I am not sure if you are talking about the Eastern Catholics from India and Egypt, or the Orthodox. The latter are not in communion with the RCC.
I realize that there's no such thing as "Orthodox in communion with Rome," but I was referring to Coptics, Armenians, etc. who go under the authority of Rome but keep most of their traditions. Based on some websites I've seen, it seems like a significant portion of, e.g., Coptic Christians have done this (at least 200,000). So I was just wondering why such large numbers are going under rome? And how does this take place, when it seems like smaller issues between the Easten Orthodox and the Coptic Orthodox are almost impossible to hammer out (e.g. person X is Saint for one, heretic for other). How did the Catholics resolve all these?
Not really. On the contrary, there seem to be good relations.
Glad to hear that.
Maybe they were just out of reach of the byzantines.
The caste thing is not so much a part of the Church as it is of the larger culture, and unfortunately it sometimes filters in.
Unfortunate. How prevelant is it, though?
BTW, on the main page is says you are a student at St. Vlad's. Wow, that's really interesting. Please tell me about your experience. Are you on the "clergy track"? Good luck with your studies!!!