Consultative Committee of the Oriental Orthodox Church

The Members of the consultative committee of the Oriental Orthodox Churches met on January 28, 2019 in Rome. -- Credit: Facebook page of Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions.

The Oriental Orthodox churches are among the oldest Christian churches in existence, and the term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only the three ecumenical councils — the Council of Nicaea, the Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus — and reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon (4th Ecumenical council of the Byzantine Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches) .

The Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 resulted in the schism of Christendom into two groups. The Catholic (Rome) and Greek (Byzantine) Churches accepted the Council, while the Coptic (Alexandria) Antiochian Syrian and Orthodox Syrian (the East) Armenian Churches rejected it. The former group adopted the doctrine that Christ is in two natures, human and divine, while the latter adopted the doctrine that Christ has one incarnate nature from two natures.

Oriental Orthodox family

The Oriental Orthodox Church is organized as a family of several autocephalous churches, which are in full communion with one another but whose highest ranking bishops do not report to a higher authority in the church's hierarchy. The communion includes:

  1. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
  2. The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch
  3. The Armenian Apostolic Church of All Armenians
  4. The Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia
  5. The Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (also known as the Indian Orthodox Church)
  6. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
  7. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Common Declaration of H.H Shenouda III (Pope of Alexandria) , H.H Mar Ignatius Zakka I (Patriarch of Antioch ) and H.H Aram I about Consultative Committee of Oriental Orthodox Churches

  1. Representatives of our Oriental Orthodox Churches have agreed to meet on 24 January 2005, in Romeas a consultative committee of our Family of Churches. This will take place one day before the second meeting of the International Joint Commission with the Catholic Church. This consultative committee will meet on every occasion of theological dialogues or ecumenical meetings to coordinate all the operation and standpoints of our Family.
  2. The Family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches is composed of seven delegations (Coptic Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenian Apostolic Church of the Great House of Cilicia, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Indian Orthodox Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church). In all bilateral dialogues and ecumenical gatherings when we participate as one Family this structure should be kept. Therefore, we recommend that all the diocesan bishops follow the recommendations in all ecumenical gatherings.

    St. Mark Centre, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt; 21 October 2004



  1. The Pope of Alexandria (the patriarch of Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria) is considered the spiritual leader of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. It is to be noted that the spiritual leadership is not in the same sense understood for the one extended among the Eastern Orthodox churches to the Church of Constantinople; it is however, in the spirit of respect and honor for the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria. It does not give any prerogatives, jurisdiction or rights to the Church of Alexandria in any way as in the Eastern Orthodox Church.


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