Orthodox Church

The followers of the Orthodox Churches are an almost worldwide 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 fifth century C.E. onwards, the ancient Oriental Christians separated from the Roman imperial church. It took about 600 years for the official separation of the Greek-influenced Christians from the Latin ones.

Distribution Orthodoxes

Russia79.0 %113,325,000
Ethiopia43.5 %52,323,000
Ukraine54.6 %23,911,000
Romania81.9 %15,659,000
Greece98.0 %10,428,000
Egypt8.0 %8,741,000
Belarus80.0 %7,472,000
Serbia84.6 %5,782,000
Bulgaria76.0 %5,227,000
Uzbekistan9.0 %3,142,000
Georgia83.9 %3,112,000
Moldova93.3 %2,440,000
Germany1.9 %1,581,000
Eritrea40.0 %1,448,000
Kyrgyzstan20.0 %1,338,000
North Macedonia64.8 %1,338,000
Cyprus89.1 %1,109,000
Bosnia and Herzegovina30.7 %1,004,000
Australia3.8 %976,000
Canada1.6 %612,000
Turkmenistan9.0 %571,000
Poland1.3 %491,000
Azerbaijan4.8 %487,000
Lebanon8.0 %447,000
Montenegro72.1 %446,000
Latvia15.3 %288,000
Estonia16.2 %216,000
Austria2.2 %197,000
Albania6.8 %191,000
Croatia4.4 %172,000
Lithuania4.9 %137,000
Finland1.1 %61,000
Denmark1.0 %59,000
Slovenia2.3 %48,000
Kosovo1.5 %27,000
Åland Islands0.3 %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, the 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. 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 doctrine. 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 seven ecumenical councils (325 to 787 C.E.). 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.