What is the proper name for the Orthodox Church?


What is the proper name for the Orthodox Church? One sees so many, and of such different variety!


It must be understood first of all that names like Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, etc. are all names for one and the same Church with one and the same faith and practice. Of course within these churches there are cultural differences which do not touch the essence of the faith as such.

Sometimes the Orthodox Church is also called the Eastern Orthodox Church, or the Oriental Church, or the Christian Church of the East, or the Orthodox Catholic Church, or the Graeco-Russian Church. But once more, these are all different names for the same Church.

Care must be exercised not to confuse the Orthodox Church with the Eastern Christian Churches in union with the See of Rome: the so-called Uniates, or Byzantine or Greek Catholics. And also there is the distinction to be made between the Orthodox and the so-called Oriental Orthodox or Lesser Eastern Churches such as the Coptic Church, the Ethiopian, Syrian, Armenian, Indian, and other churches which are very close to the Orthodox Church but not part of it.

In America it must be noticed that the new autocephalous (self-governing) Church which used to be the Russian Orthodox Church of America is now simply called the Orthodox Church in America.