Western Christianity of the Roman Empire met in various church councils to deliberate doctrines and control measures which would benefit the peaceful governance of their society. It is a well attested fact that many of these councils were called and presided over by the Emperors themselves. These Imperial church councils of the West formulated the West's orthodoxy (right belief), declared certain Scriptures canonical (authorized), and thus formulated their particular New Testament consisting primarily of their Apostle Paul's work and distinct theology.
Those who did not agree with the councils were banished from the Empire,
excommunicated by the Emperor and declared as heretical. St. Athanasius, for
one, was frequently banished, sent into exile and recalled upon the Emperor's
whims until eventually agreement was reached on his version of the western
Trinitarian doctrine. Some of those church fathers who were thus reviled by the
politicised Western Christianity are honoured in the East as Saints. To mention
only three examples, we honour Saint Origen (d. AD180) on January 1 as the
Foremost Theologian and we honour Saint Pelagius who left the West to join a
monastery in the East after his controversy with St. Augustine, and we honour
the memory of
How many members do you have, how many churches around the world, is there a church in a city close to me?
Church of the East members are found in most countries throughout the world. In the English-speaking world the larger organised groups are found in the USA, Canada, India and South Africa.
A theological training facility for English-speaking clergy opens in the Ontario/Michigan area during 2002. This facility will significantly increase the number of English-speaking clergy in training.
Contact your area representative for information about organised groups in your area.
The answer depends on your definition of New Age.
If New Age is defined as a religious or spiritual movement that includes many elements also found in other religious traditions, believes in meditation, reincarnation, subtle energies, supernatural beings, extraterrestrial beings, alternative forms of communication and healing and of being opposed to current trends of lifestyle and advocates a radically different type of lifestyle--Yes, then Church of the East qualifies because this is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught, lived, and invested into the earliest Way of the church. Jesus taught about all these things and more.
If New Age is defined as a fleeting syncretism and fascination with certain aspects of ancient religion--No, then Church of the East does not qualify for the label.
No. The Gnostic label is frequently used 'against' us by people who would like to discredit Church of the East. We are not so sure that it should be seen as a discredit because Gnosticism is probably a viable religious way in the scheme of things. However, anyone that would call Church of the East a Gnostic movement, or even allude that it is a syncretism between Gnosticism and Christianity discredits themselves because it illustrates that they do not know even the basic beliefs that makes Gnosticism Gnostic.
Gnosticism is/was a movement outside, and later within, early Christianity and it is particularly marked by one identifying element--Dualism. It believes that matter (the world and physical bodies, etc) is created by a lesser, essentially evil, god; and that the greater god is spiritual and will not mix with evil, and the children of this god (God) are trapped in this evil material state. Gnostics tend to abstain from carnal things and sensual pleasures.
The ancient Gnostic movement was not unique in its doctrines but they were certainly unique in their expression of certain elements found in most religions.
Should one have to research to determine who holds to the most Gnostic ideas, Church of the East or the Roman/Orthodox Church, it will probably not be difficult to prove that Church of the East is less Gnostic than they are.
Church of the East celebrates sensuality as a potentially holy vehicle. We revere the physical body as a God made miracle necessary for salvation. We believe in God as Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent and there is thus no place whatsoever left for another God, god, goddess or a Satan force. The preceding statement of faith will cause any Gnostic to recoil in horror at hearing such 'idiotic blasphemy''--proving that Church of the East is not as Gnostic as most western Christian denominations.
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