Non-Chalcedonian

Non-Chalcedonianism is the view(s) of those churches that do not accept the Confession of Chalcedon as defined at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon of 451. Some Christian denominations accept the doctrines of the previous council at Ephesus in 431, but do not accept, for varying reasons, the teachings of Chalcedon. The most substantial Non-Chalcedonian tradition is known as Oriental Orthodoxy. Within this tradition are a number of ancient Christian churches including the Coptic Orthodox, the Syriac Orthodox (sometimes referred to as "Jacobite"), the Armenian Apostolic, the Ethiopian Orthodox, the Eritrean Orthodox and the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox.

While the Church of the East (i.e., Nestorian Christianity) also did not accept the Council of Chalcedon, in addition to that it rejected the First Council of Ephesus as well and has, according to the traditional interpretation, an opposite Christology to the Oriental Orthodox. It may thus be called "Non-Ephesine".

Within the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch, the rejection of Chalcedon became a cause of schism. While the common population of Egyptian and Syrian people mostly objected to the Council, the Byzantine-Greek minority that formed the ruling class mostly accepted the Council. These two parties vied and battled for possession of the ancient sees of Alexandria and Antioch that formed, at the time, the third and fourth most prestigious sees in "Christendom", respectively. Ultimately neither group absolutely dominated either church and the end result was the existence of two distinct patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch for almost 1500 years and continuing in the present time. What is now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church is the native Egyptian patriarchal faction of Alexandria that rejected Chalcedon, whereas the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria is composed of those who accepted Chalcedon. For Antioch, the Syriac Orthodox Church forms the patriarchal faction of the native Syrian-Semitic population for the church of Antioch, whereas the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch is composed of those who accepted Chalcedon.

In India and to a lesser degree in Persia, the schism that occurred was between the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrian Church of the East. Even today in Kerala, there is a continuing presence of both the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syriac Orthodox Church along with an Independent Oriental Orthodox Church called the Indian Orthodox Church.

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