Communion with Assyrians and Oriental Orthodox Churches

Are the Assyrians and the Oriental Orthodox Churches in Communion with each other? It seems so confusing in their case – they seem to have distinct histories but are usually classified together.

Also, do Oriental Orthodox Churches frequently break and return to Communion the same way some Eastern Orthodox Churches do?

The Assyrians and the Oriental Orthodox are not in communion with each other. The Assyrians reject accept only the first 2 ecumenical councils, while the Orientals accept only the first 3. They probably do share some traditions, but are definitely distinct bodies. Both, however, are recognized by the Catholic Church as Apostolic Churches with valid sacraments.

As to whether or not there is constant breaking and restoring of communion between the Oriental Churches, I could not say for sure. I know that currently there is some dispute with one of the Oriental Churches in India, but I don’t know enough about the situation to comment. The interesting thing about the Oriental Communion from a Catholic point of view (or at least from my point of view) is that they seem to differ in opinion concerning Catholics. The Armenians and Syriacs (as well as the Assyrians) tend to allow intermarriage with Catholics and seem to recognize our sacraments. The Copts, on the other hand, do not allow intermarriage with Catholics and have mixed opinions about our sacraments. I remember not too long ago a story about a Coptic bishop stating that Catholics could not be saved. I imagine that mardukm and Ghosty probably know a little more about Coptic-Catholic relations and the general OO Communion than I do, so hopefully they’'ll stop by at some point.

Wow, that was a quick reply. I just barely put the original post. You must really be a fast typer.

I’m pretty surprised to hear that about Coptic people. I went to a Divine Liturgy at a Coptic Community here and they seemed more open toward Catholics. It was a couple years ago, and I remember the Coptic priest talking about how extremely well the Coptic-Catholic discussions had been going. I guess perhaps while the senior clerics may be more open to us, the junior clerics on the parish level might feel differently. Evidently the same thing goes on with some Eastern Orthodox Churches, just as how a lot of Catholic parishioners don’t listen to the Pope. I hope that at least on the senior-level, the Coptic Pope gives the Catholic Pope Apostolic recognition. If not, it would seem that relations would never ever really go anywhere in terms of re-establishing Communion.

Anyway, while we’re on this topic then, can I take it that the Coptics’ sentiments toward the Eastern Orthodox Churches are the same as their sentiments toward the Catholic Churches then?

The Copts blocked the Assyrians from joining the Middle East Council of Churches as ‘Nestorians’ so I’d say the relationship there is bad. I get the impression that the Oriental Orthodox are quite keen to join with the Eastern Orthodox provided they don’t have to sign to Chalcedon, but the Eastern Orthodox are less keen

Yes, most OO see EO as the same Faith. There pockets of the EO (e.g. Athos, Jerusalem, etc.) who are cool to the idea of reunification with the OO, whereas Alexandria and Antioch are pursuing that path (which makes sense, as they are the patriarchs in direct contact with the OO).

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