Christianity

Orthodox Church

The followers of the Orthodox Churches are an almost worldwide spread branch of Christianity. The total number of Orthodox is estimated at about 300 million members.

The main groupings of the individual Orthodox churches are:


The basis of the original Orthodox community is the Creed of Constantinople, written in 381. It is a separation from Christianity, which took place mainly in the eastern part of the then Roman Empire. From about the 5th century A.D. onwards, the ancient Oriental Christians separated from the Roman imperial church. It took about 600 years until the official separation of the Greek-influenced Christians from the Latin ones.



CountryRegionDistributiontotal
RussiaEastern Europe79.0 %114,055,000
EthiopiaEastern Africa43.5 %48,754,000
UkraineEastern Europe54.6 %24,234,000
RomaniaEastern Europe81.9 %15,853,000
GreeceSouthern Europe98.0 %10,502,000
EgyptNorthern Africa8.0 %8,031,000
BelarusEastern Europe80.0 %7,573,000
SerbiaSouthern Europe84.6 %5,875,000
BulgariaEastern Europe76.0 %5,302,000
GeorgiaWestern Asia83.9 %3,121,000
UzbekistanCentral Asia9.0 %3,022,000
MoldovaEastern Europe93.3 %2,480,000
GermanyWestern Europe1.9 %1,580,000
EritreaEastern Africa40.0 %1,399,000
North MacedoniaSouthern Europe64.8 %1,350,000
KyrgyzstanCentral Asia20.0 %1,291,000
CyprusWestern Asia89.1 %1,068,000
Bosnia and HerzegovinaSouthern Europe30.7 %1,013,000
AustraliaAustralia/New Zealand3.8 %964,000
CanadaNorth America1.6 %601,000
LebanonWestern Asia8.0 %548,000
TurkmenistanCentral Asia9.0 %535,000
PolandEastern Europe1.3 %494,000
AzerbaijanWestern Asia4.8 %481,000
MontenegroSouthern Europe72.1 %449,000
LatviaNorthern Europe15.3 %293,000
EstoniaNorthern Europe16.2 %215,000
AustriaWestern Europe2.2 %195,000
AlbaniaSouthern Europe6.8 %194,000
CroatiaSouthern Europe4.4 %179,000
LithuaniaNorthern Europe4.9 %137,000
FinlandNorthern Europe1.1 %61,000
DenmarkNorthern Europe1.0 %58,000
SloveniaSouthern Europe2.3 %48,000
KosovoSouthern Europe1.5 %27,000
Åland IslandsNorthern Europe0.3 %100

Understanding of faith

A central expression of self-understanding is the "union of all being, destined to unite in itself all that is, God and creation". In contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox reject the Pope as the supreme, infallible authority. Likewise, the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Purgatory are not part of the doctrine. In addition to the Bible, texts of the Church Fathers play a far greater role. Instead, saints, relics or images are hardly ever venerated.

Orthodox people almost always belong to a self-governing church organization, whose totality sees itself as an inseparable unit. Thus, although there are numerous autocephalous churches, their followers always speak of the "Church of Orthodoxy" as the overall Orthodox confession. This is also the basis of a strong sense of unity, which is why the followers of the individual churches also see themselves as an indivisible unity. All Orthodox Churches orient themselves, as it were, according to the decisions of the 7 ecumenical councils (325 to 787 A.D.). Against this background, even designations such as "Russian Orthodox" or "Greek Orthodox" are to be seen primarily in an organizational sense and do not imply a different understanding of faith.