Reflecting on the Annual Oriental Orthodox con-Celebration Service

As a part of the course "Christians at the Edge of Empire: The Communities and Theologies of the Non-Chaledonian Christians," Dr. Grafton took several students to observe the annual con-celebration service of the Oriental Orthodox Churches held at St. Leon Armenian Orthodox Church, Fair Lawn, NJ on Saturday, 6 October.

The con-celebration is an annual service of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Malankara (Indian) Syrian, and Syiran Orthodox Churches.  One of the goals of the course is "to understand the past and ongoing relationship between the North American context and the Christian communities of the Middle East and South Asia."  The visit provided an opportunity to witness and reflect on past and current immigration trends of Christians from these church communities to the United States, their impact and participation in civil society, and their relationships with other Christian churches in the U.S. context.

The ELCA is not in communion with the Oriental Orthodox, but they are members of the Middle East Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches in India, and the World Council of Churches

While the Oriental Orthodox do not accept the Council of Chalcdeon (451) and its definition of the "nature" of Christ, the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches have been in dialogue with one another over the natures of Christ and signed several agreements (1993, 1998) recognizing the validity of each other's interpretation of the Greek word "physis."  However, these dialogues have slowed throughout the  21st century.