Why is there usually a demonymic adjective before Orthodox (the denomination(s))?

How come a lot of times when Orthodox denominations are described there’s a region-describing adjective placed before the word Orthodox?. *Greek *Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Coptic^1 Orthodox etc.

In Catholicism I know that there is Roman (rite) Catholicism and Eastern (rite) Catholicism (the Ukrainian and Maronite Catholic churches being two).

Is it b/c of a lack of consensus on teachings^2 or is it b/c of the ethnocentricism which the Orthodox church has,had to cede(?) to wherever it went for local groups to embrace it?.

^1 Copts being an ethnoreligious group,I’ve read.

^2 Once I read how there’s more books from the Old Testament in the Russian than in the Greek Orthodox Church…and even more in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church :o .

These are not properly called “denominations”. They are not denominations as they do not recognize any variation from the common faith held by all in their communion (the so-called ‘Eastern Orthodox’ and the ‘Oriental Orthodox’ comprising two different communions, each claiming to uphold the Orthodox faith but having different viewpoints on the Christology embraced by the council of Chalcedon in 451; the EO accept it, as do the Roman Catholic and most other churches, while the OO reject it).

In Catholicism I know that there is Roman (rite) Catholicism and Eastern (rite) Catholicism (the Ukrainian and Maronite Catholic churches being two).

Is it b/c of a lack of consensus on teachings^2 or is it b/c of the ethnocentricism which the Orthodox church has,had to cede(?) to wherever it went for local groups to embrace it?.

Why do you assume that the Orthodox Church has had to “cede” anything to “local groups” in order for them to embrace the faith? As you recognize that not all particular churches in the Roman Catholic communion are the same in this fashion (i.e., Maronites and Ukrainians are not the same people), it should therefore be understandable to explain the Orthodox similarly: Russians and Palestinian Arabs (to choose but two) aren’t the same people. Churches arise wherever they do among particular populations that live in particular places. If they become well-enough entrenched in the local populations so as to become characteristic of a particular culture and background found there and not elsewhere, then it makes sense that a sort of national church might arise. Such happened with the Armenians and Ethiopians (both of whom were evangelized by Syriac people), Egyptians/Copts (evangelized by Hellenized Jews), Slavs (evangelized by Greeks), etc. This is absolutely not different than what happened in the Latin world, where particular liturgies grew in specific places (e.g., the so-called Mozarabic rite in Spain, or the Bragan in Portugal, the Ambrosian in certain parts of Italy, etc). In the Roman communion it is common to think of these as subsets or something like that of a more overarching “standard” Latin rite, and I suppose they are (given how regionally/locally confined they are…not necessarily by choice or organically), but as the East has always been more culturally and liturgically diverse, the Church in Egypt (for instance) developed quite differently compared to the Church in Malta, or Cyprus, or wherever.

So it is not a matter of “ceding” to ethnic groups at all, but to allowing every people who were evangelized their own native expressions of the faith, in accordance with their own histories (i.e., St. Yared the Hymnographer wrote the famous Ethiopian church music that is very unlike what you’ll find in other places where Byzantine or other types of chant predominate). This is actually something that the Latin/Roman Church eventually got around to doing on a large scale in the modern era in the 1960s or so. This is not ceding to anything but rather a welcome understanding that people would prefer their own expressions of the faith over having to pretend to be white people from Europe just because their various Christian organizations may have been started by Italians or Frenchmen back in the age of colonialism in the 1800s or before.

^2 Once I read how there’s more books from the Old Testament in the Russian than in the Greek Orthodox Church…and even more in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church :o .

I don’t know anything about EO-internal differences in the canon, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is not even a member of that communion. They are in my communion, the Oriental Orthodox communion, together with the Coptic Church into which I was baptized, the Armenian Church, the Syriac Orthodox and Malankara (Indian Syriac Orthodox) churches, the Eritrean Church, the British Orthodox Church, and the French Orthodox Church. I will say this, though: In neither the OO communion or the EO (as I understand it; please correct me if I’m wrong, Eastern Orthodox posters) has the canon of scripture ever been officially closed. So it is not a problem that this particular church may have more books than another. The Coptic Orthodox Church of which I am a member is actually considered to be the “Mother Church” of the Ethiopian, and we have never had many of the books that are in the wider Ethiopian canon, as those books were preserved in Ge’ez (the Ethiopian/Eritrean liturgical language), so they simply were never a part of the Coptic churches canon. This is not a problem at all because, again, the canon has never been considered closed (by this I mean we did not have a council similar to your Council of Trent wherein the canon was fixed in answer to Protestant tampering with it; since Protestantism was not a phenomenon that arose in the East, our relationship to the canon is different than yours).

I hope this post has helped you gain a little bit more knowledge about the Orthodox Church. Please feel free to ask more questions. Hopefully an Eastern Orthodox poster will show up here soon and they can answer from their perspective, on any matter that we may differ on.

This is my understanding as well.

By the way, the rest of your post is spot on. 10/10, would recommend.

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