The Church of Alexandria



The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, also known as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches.
It is sometimes called the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, and in Egypt members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were also known as Melkite, because they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Since the schism occurring as a result of the political and Christological controversies at the Council of Chalcedon 451), the portion of the Church of Alexandria loyal to Chalcedonian Christology has liturgically been Greek-speaking, the majority of its native (i.e., Coptic) population and their modern descendants becoming a part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (i.e., non-Chalcedonian). After the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 7th century the Eastern Orthodox were a minority even among Christians, and remained small for centuries.

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In recent years, a considerable missionary effort was enacted by Pope Petros VII. During his seven years as patriarch (1997-2004), he worked tirelessly to spread the Orthodox Christian faith in Arab nations and throughout Africa, raising up native clergy and encouraging the use of local languages in the liturgical life of the Church. Particularly sensitive to the nature of Christian expansion into Muslim countries, he worked to promote mutual understanding and respect between Orthodox Christians and Muslims. His efforts were ended as the result of a helicopter crash on September 11, 2004, in the Aegean Sea near Greece, killing him and several other clergy, including Bishop Nectarios of Madagascar, another bishop with a profound missionary vision.
Today, some 300,000 Greek Christians constitute the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt, the highest number since the Roman Empire. The current primate of the Greek Church of Alexandria is Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.

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