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Full communion is a communion or relationship of full agreement among different
Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, tea ...
s that share certain essential principles of
Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theology, theologian ...
. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.


Definition and terminology

Full communion is an ecclesiological term for an established relationship between
Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, tea ...
s that may be constituted by shared
eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
,
doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given ...
, and ecclesiology. Different denominations emphasize different aspects or define the term differently. Several Protestant denominations base their idea of full communion on the
Augsburg Confession The Augsburg Confession, also known as the Augustan Confession or the Augustana from its Latin name, ''Confessio Augustana'', is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Protestant Ref ...
which says that "the true unity of the church" is present where "the gospel is rightly preached and sacraments rightly administered." They believe that full communion between two denominations is not a merger, they respect each other's differences, but rather it's when two denominations develop a relationship based on a mutual understanding and recognition of
Baptism Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost i ...
and sharing of the Lord's Supper. They may worship together, exchange clergy, and share commitments to
evangelism In Christianity, evangelism (or witnessing) is the act of preacher, preaching the gospel with the intention of sharing the message and teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians who specialize in evangelism are often known as eva ...
and service. For example, groups recognized as being in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, on this basis, include the Presbyterian Church (USA),
Reformed Church in America The Reformed Church in America (RCA) is a Mainline Protestant, mainline Reformed tradition, Reformed Protestant Christian denomination, denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 152,317 members. From its beginning in 1628 unti ...
,
United Church of Christ The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant The mainline Protestant churches (also called mainstream Protestant and sometimes oldline Protestant) are a group of Protestantism in the United States, Protestant denominations in th ...
, the
Episcopal Church (United States) The Episcopal Church, based in the United States with additional dioceses elsewhere, is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is a mainline Protestant denomination and is divided into nine Ecclesiastical provinces and dioces ...
, the
Moravian Church The Moravian Church ( cs, Moravská církev), or the Moravian Brethren, formally the (Latin: "Unity of the Brethren"), is one of the oldest Protestantism, Protestant Christian denomination, denominations in Christianity, dating back to the Bohem ...
, and the
United Methodist Church The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant Christian denomination, denomination based in the United States, and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a ...
. These churches are not necessarily in full communion with each other, however; each denomination is free to develop its own relationships with other churches. For example, The Episcopal Church, in addition to being a member of the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members within the Church of England T ...
, is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Moravian Church (Northern and Southern Provinces), Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India, Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht,
Philippine Independent Church , native_name_lang = fil , icon = Logo of the Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan Church).svg , icon_width = 80px , icon_alt = Coat of arms of the Philippine Independent Church , image ...
, and the
Church of Sweden The Church of Sweden ( sv, Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden. A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, with around 5.6 million members at year end 2021, it is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden ...
. They are not, currently, in full communion with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, or the United Church of Christ, though they are currently in dialogue with other churches; including the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), and
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
.


By Christian denomination


Lutheran Churches


Reformed Churches

The
United Church of Christ The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant The mainline Protestant churches (also called mainstream Protestant and sometimes oldline Protestant) are a group of Protestantism in the United States, Protestant denominations in th ...
(UCC) defines full communion as meaning that "divided churches recognize each others' sacraments and provide for the orderly transfer of ministers from one denomination to another." Some of these go back to the 17th century Pilgrims in Holland; other relationships are recent. The UCC is in full communion alliance with the members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Union of Evangelical Churches in Germany, the Presbyterian Church in the US, and several others in North America and elsewhere.


Anglican Communion

The
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members within the Church of England T ...
distinguishes between full communion and intercommunion. It applies the first term to situations "where between two Churches, not of the same denominational or confessional family, there is unrestricted ''communio in sacris'' including mutual recognition and acceptance of ministries", and the second term to situations "where varying degrees of relation other than full communion are established by agreement between two such Churches". This distinction differs from the distinction that the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
makes between full and partial communion in that the Anglican concept of intercommunion implies a formal agreement entered into by the churches concerned. As with other Protestant traditions, the Anglican understanding of full communion differs from that of the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy, which consider that full communion between churches involves them becoming a single church, as in the case of the
particular church In metaphysics, particulars or individuals are usually contrasted with Universal (metaphysics), universals. Universals concern features that can be exemplified by various different particulars. Particulars are often seen as concrete, spatiotemporal ...
es "in which and formed out of which the one and unique Catholic Church exists". In addition the Anglican Communion recognizes the possibility of full communion between some of its member provinces or churches and other churches, without having the entire Anglican Communion share that relationship. An example is the
Porvoo Communion The Porvoo Communion is a Communion (Christian), communion of 15 predominantly northern European Anglican and Lutheran, Evangelical Lutheran churches, with a couple of far-southwestern European (in the Iberian Peninsula) church bodies of the same ...
, which is largely composed of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. The Anglican Communion established full communion with the
Old Catholic Church The terms Old Catholic Church, Old Catholics, Old-Catholic churches or Old Catholic movement designate "any of the groups of Western Christians who believe themselves to maintain in complete loyalty the doctrine and traditions of the Great Chu ...
es on the basis of the 1931 Bonn Agreement, which established three principles: # Each communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own. # Each communion agrees to admit members of the other communion to participate in the
sacrament A sacrament is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is recognized as being particularly important and significant. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments ...
s. # Full communion does not require from either communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or
liturgical Liturgy is the customary public ritual of worship performed by a religious group. ''Liturgy'' can also be used to refer specifically to public worship by Christian, Christians. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal r ...
practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith. The Anglicans Online website provides a list of non-Anglican churches "in full communion with the See of Canterbury" and also indicates some important ecumenical agreements of local character (i.e., not involving the whole of the Anglican Communion) with other non-Anglican churches. It also lists churches that, in spite of bearing names (such as "Anglican" or "Episcopal") that might suggest a relationship with the Anglican Communion, are not in communion with it.


Catholic Church


Full versus partial communion

The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
makes a distinction between full and partial communion: where full communion exists, there is but the one Church; partial communion, on the other hand, exists where some elements of Christian faith are held in common, but complete unity on essentials is lacking. Accordingly, they see the Church as in partial communion with Protestants and in much closer, but still incomplete, communion with Orthodox Churches. It has expressed this distinction in documents such as '' Unitatis redintegratio'', the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st Catholic ecumenical councils, ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. The council met in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for four periods (or sessions) ...
's decree on
ecumenism Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjec ...
, which states: "... quite large communities came to be separated from ''full communion'' with the Catholic Church. ...Men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this ''communion is imperfect''". Other Catholic theologians— often labelled " traditionalists"— blame the language of "full" and "partial" communion for a lack of doctrinal clarity, and as a dubious or dangerous development due to its essential proximity to the condemned " branch theory" of ecclesiology. Such theologians believe that doctrinal clarity is better maintained by usage of the term "vestiges" to describe things held in common with Christians outside the Catholic Church, and that language of "communion" should be reserved to its original meaning, namely '' communio in sacris'', which only exists among Catholics. In this view, there is only communion or lack thereof, not degrees, such as "partial communion". Nonetheless, the Second Vatican Council used the word "communion" in a sense other than ''communio in sacris'' when speaking of Christians separated from the Catholic Church. The ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doct ...
'', citing the Second Vatican Council and
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his ...
, states: Full communion thus involves completeness of "those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church."


Universal and particular Churches

In Catholicism, the "universal Church" means Catholicism itself, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal". The term
particular church In metaphysics, particulars or individuals are usually contrasted with Universal (metaphysics), universals. Universals concern features that can be exemplified by various different particulars. Particulars are often seen as concrete, spatiotemporal ...
denotes an ecclesiastical community headed by a bishop or equivalent, and this can include both local dioceses as well as autonomous (or ''sui juris'') particular churches, which include other rites such as the
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
and the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are 23 Eastern Christian autonomous (''sui iuris'') particular churches of th ...
. The particular Churches that form the Catholic Church are each seen, not as a separate body that has entered into practical arrangements concerning its relations with the others, but as the embodiment in a particular region or culture of the one Catholic Church. A 1992
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) is the oldest among the departments of the Roman Curia. Its seat is the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the Catholic Church from Heresy in Christianity, heresy and is ...
(CDF) letter to Catholic bishops expressed this idea as: "''the universal Church cannot be conceived as the sum of the particular Churches, or as a federation of particular Churches''. It is not the result of the communion of the Churches, but, in its essential mystery, it is a reality ''ontologically'' and ''temporally'' prior to every ''individual'' particular Church."


List of Catholic churches in full communion

The autonomous Catholic churches in full communion with the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic see, apostolic episcopal see of the ...
are: *Of
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
n liturgical tradition: **
Coptic Catholic Church The Coptic Catholic Church ( ar, الكنيسة القبطية الكاثوليكية; la, Ecclesia Catholica Coptorum) is an Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Catholic particular church in full communion with the Catholic Church. Along with ...
**
Eritrean Catholic Church The Eritrean Catholic Church ( la, Ecclesia Catholica Erythraea; ti, ኤርትራዊት ቤተ ክርስቲያን, translit=Chiesa Eritrea) is a Metropolis (religious jurisdiction), metropolitan ''sui iuris'' Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern ...
** Ethiopian Catholic Church *Of Syro-Antiochian or West Syriac liturgical tradition: **
Maronite Church The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Catholic ''sui iuris'' particular church in full communion with the pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Th ...
** Syrian Catholic Church **
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, also known as the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, is an Eastern Catholic The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholi ...
*Of Armenian liturgical tradition: **
Armenian Catholic Church , native_name_lang = hy , image = St Elie - St Gregory Armenian Catholic Cathedral.jpg , imagewidth = 260px , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Saint Elias and Saint Gregory the Illuminat ...
*Of
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
( Constantinopolitan) liturgical tradition: ** Albanian Greek Catholic Church **
Belarusian Greek Catholic Church The Belarusian Greek Catholic Church ( be, Беларуская грэка-каталіцкая царква, ''Bielaruskaja hreka-katalickaja carkva'' BHKC; la, Ecclesiae Graecae Catholico Belarusica) sometimes called in reference to its By ...
** Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church ** Byzantine Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia ** Greek Byzantine Catholic Church **
Hungarian Greek Catholic Church The Hungarian Greek Catholic Church ( hu, Magyar görögkatolikus egyház; la, Ecclesia Graeco-Catholica Hungariae) or Hungarian Byzantine Catholic Church is a Metropolitan bishop, metropolitan ''sui iuris'' ("autonomous") Eastern Catholic Chu ...
**
Italo-Albanian Catholic Church The Italo-Albanian Catholic Church ( la, Ecclesia Catholica Italo-Albanica; it, Chiesa Cattolica Italo-Albanese; sq, Kisha Katolike-Bizantine Arbëreshë), Italo-Albanian Byzantine-Catholic Church or Italo-Albanian Church, is one of the 23 E ...
** Macedonian Greek Catholic Church **
Melkite Greek Catholic Church el, Μελχιτική Ελληνική Καθολική Εκκλησία , image = Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Damascus, Syria.jpg , imagewidth = 200px , alt = , caption = , abbreviatio ...
**
Romanian Greek Catholic Church The Romanian Greek Catholic Church or Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic ( la, Ecclesia Graeco-Catholica Romaniae; ro, Biserica Română Unită cu Roma, Greco-Catolică), sometimes called, in reference to its Byzantine Rite, the ...
** Russian Byzantine Catholic Church ** Ruthenian Catholic Church **
Slovak Greek Catholic Church The Slovak Greek Catholic Church (Slovak language, Slovak: ''Gréckokatolícka cirkev na Slovensku'', "Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia"; la, Ecclesia Graeco Catholica Slovacica), or Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church, is a Metropolitan bishop, m ...
**
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , native_name_lang = uk , caption_background = , image = StGeorgeCathedral Lviv.JPG , imagewidth = , type = Particular church (sui iuris) , alt = , caption = St. George's Ca ...
*Of Chaldean or East Syriac tradition: **
Chaldean Catholic Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Assyrian Church.png , imagewidth = 200px , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Our Lady of Sorrows Baghdad, Iraq , abbreviation = , type ...
**
Syro-Malabar Church lat, Ecclesia Syrorum-Malabarensium mal, മലബാറിലെ സുറിയാനി സഭ , native_name_lang=, image = St. Thomas' Cross (Chennai, St. Thomas Mount).jpg , caption = The Mar Thoma Nasrani Sl ...
*Of Western liturgical tradition: **
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...


Sharing in the Eucharist

As a practical matter for most Catholics, full communion means that a member of one Church may partake of the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
celebrated in another, and for priests, that they are accepted as celebrants of the Eucharist in the other Church. Restrictions in this matter were already in force in the second century as witnessed to by
Justin Martyr Justin Martyr ( el, Ἰουστῖνος ὁ μάρτυς, Ioustinos ho martys; c. AD 100 – c. AD 165), also known as Justin the Philosopher, was an early Christian apologetics, Christian apologist and philosopher. Most of his works are lost, ...
in his '' First Apology'': "No one is allowed to partake (of the Eucharist) but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined." For acceptance into full communion with the Catholic Church a specific profession of the faith of the Catholic Church is required even of those who have been members of a separate church whose
sacrament A sacrament is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is recognized as being particularly important and significant. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments ...
s the Catholic Church considers to be valid. Being "in full communion with the Catholic Church" requires that they "firmly accept" its teaching on faith and morals. Intercommunion usually means an agreement between churches by which all members of each church (clergy with clergy, or laity with laity, respectively) may participate in the other's Eucharistic celebrations or may hold joint celebrations. The Catholic Church has entered into no such agreement: it allows no Eucharistic
concelebration In Christianity, concelebration (from Lat., ''con'' + ''celebrare'', to celebrate together) is the presiding of a number of presbyters Presbyter () is an honorific title for Christian clergy. The word derives from the Greek ''presbyteros,'' which ...
by its clergy with clergy of churches not in full communion with it. The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism indicates the limited circumstances in which Catholics may receive the Eucharist from clergy of churches not in full communion (never if those churches are judged not to have valid
apostolic succession Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bish ...
and thus valid Eucharist), and in which Catholic clergy may administer the sacraments to members of other churches. The norms there indicated for the giving of the Eucharist to other Christians (''communicatio in sacris'') are summarized in canon 844 of the
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
's
1983 Code of Canon Law The 1983 ''Code of Canon Law'' (abbreviated 1983 CIC from its Latin title ''Codex Iuris Canonici''), also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comp ...
. The
Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches The ''Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches'' (CCEC; la, Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, abbreviated CCEO) is the title of the 1990 codification of the common portions of the canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight m ...
(CCEO) indicates that the norms of the Directory apply also to the clergy and laity of the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are 23 Eastern Christian autonomous (''sui iuris'') particular churches of th ...
.


Eastern Orthodox

Eastern Orthodox Eastern Orthodoxy, also known as Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is one of the three main branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, alongside Catholicism and Protestantism. Like the Pentarchy of the first millennium, the mainstream (or " canonica ...
have an understanding of what full communion means that is very similar to that of the Catholic Church. Though they have no figure corresponding to that of the Roman Catholic Pope, performing a function like that of the Pope's Petrine Office for the whole of their respective communions, they see each of their
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, name ...
churches as embodiments of, respectively, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. They too consider full communion an essential condition for common sharing in the Eucharist. For the autocephalous churches that form the Eastern Orthodox Church, see Eastern Orthodox Church organization. Their number is somewhat in dispute.


Church of the East

The
Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ, ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā'') or the East Syriac Church, also called the Church of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the Persian Church, the Assyrian Church, the Babylonian Church or the Nestorian C ...
is currently divided into churches that are not in full communion with one another. The
Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East,, ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية sometimes called Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,; ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية الرسول ...
and the
Ancient Church of the East The Ancient Church of the East is an Eastern Christian denomination. It branched from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964, under the leadership of Mar Thoma Darmo (d. 1969). It is one of three Assyrian Churches that claim continuity wit ...
divided in the 20th century over the former's limitation of the post of patriarch to members of a single family and due to the adoption of the New Calendar by the former. There is movement towards reunity, but they are not in full communion with one another at present. The Chaldean Catholic Church shares a similar history with both, but is currently in full communion with neither. The Catholic Church, of which the Chaldean Church is part, allows its ministers to give the Eucharist to members of Eastern churches who seek it on their own accord and are properly disposed, and it allows its faithful who cannot approach a Catholic minister to receive the Eucharist, when necessary or spiritually advantageous, from ministers of non-Catholic churches that have a recognised Eucharist. The ''Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East'' explicitly apply these rules, which hold also for the Ancient Church of the East and all Eastern Orthodox churches, to the Assyrian Church of the East. "When necessity requires, Assyrian faithful are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in a Chaldean celebration of the Holy Eucharist; in the same way, Chaldean faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in an Assyrian celebration of the Holy Eucharist".


Oriental Orthodox churches

The
Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are Eastern Christianity, Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysitism, Miaphysite Christology, with approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are part of the Nicene C ...
have a similar understanding of communion as the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
and
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
. There is no leader of all the Oriental Orthodox Churches. All churches within the Oriental Orthodox Churches are
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, name ...
and operate and function on their own. All Oriental Orthodox Churches are in full communion with each other. They can take part in all the 7 sacraments from each other's churches. The Oriental Orthodox churches are: *
Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch , native_name_lang = syc , image = St_George_Syriac_orthodox_church_in_Damascus.jpg , imagewidth = 250 , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus ...
*
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطي ...
*
Armenian Apostolic Church , native_name_lang = hy , icon = Armenian Apostolic Church logo.svg , icon_width = 100px , icon_alt = , image = Էջմիածնի_Մայր_Տաճար.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , a ...
*
Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( ti, ቤተ ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ኤርትራ) is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches with its headquarters in Asmara, Eritrea Eritrea ( ; ti, ኤርትራ, Ertra, ; ar, إرتر ...
* Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church *
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Indian Orthodox Church (IOC) or simply as the Malankara Church, is an Autocephaly, autocephalous Oriental Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox church headquartered in Malankara ...
The
Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are Eastern Christianity, Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysitism, Miaphysite Christology, with approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are part of the Nicene C ...
have a relationship with the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
, and is working on a relationship with the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
and other Christian Churches. The
Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are Eastern Christianity, Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysitism, Miaphysite Christology, with approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are part of the Nicene C ...
believe in Apostolic Succession, the concept that Jesus Christ gave spiritual authority to the 12 Apostles and 72 Disciples, and that authority has been passed on till this day. For example, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch is considered the Successor of St. Peter, the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria is considered the Successor of St. Mark, the Armenian Apostolic Catholicos of Armenia is considered the Successor of St. Bartholomew and St. Thaddeus, the Catholicos of the East of India is considered the Successor of St.Thomas the Apostle Likewise, the
Oriental Orthodox Church The Oriental Orthodox Churches are Eastern Christianity, Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysitism, Miaphysite Christology, with approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are part of the Nicene C ...
acknowledges the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantiople as the Successor of St. Andrew and the Roman Catholic Pope of Rome as the Successor of St. Peter and St. Paul. Due to the schisms at the Synod of Chalcedon, the tensions between the churches have been high, but in recent years the leaders of all churches have acknowledged each other, and are working on a relationship with each other.


Other churches

Churches or denominations holding to
open communion Open communion is the practice of some Protestant Churches of allowing members and non-members to receive the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper). Many but not all churches that practice open communion require that the p ...
allow all persons who consider themselves "Christian believers" to participate, even without any arrangement of full communion with the other church or denomination involved, and still less requiring an arrangement involving interchangeability of ordained ministers. It is in the stronger sense of becoming a single church that in 2007 the Traditional Anglican Communion sought "full communion" with the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
as a ''
sui iuris ''Sui iuris'' ( or ) also spelled ''sui juris'', is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber ...
'' (particular Church) jurisdiction, but in 2012 declined the possibility offered by
Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: link=no, Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate of the Catholic church who served as the head of the Church and the sovereign ...
to join a
personal ordinariate A personal ordinariate for former Anglicanism, Anglicans, shortened as personal ordinariate or Anglican ordinariate,"...the liturgies approved for the Anglican ordinariates..." "Bishop Stephen Lopes of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St ...
for former Anglicans in full communion with the see of Rome.


Agreements between churches

The following groupings of churches have arrangements for or are working on arrangements for: * mutual recognition of members * joint celebration of the Lord's Supper/Holy Communion/Eucharist (these churches practice
open communion Open communion is the practice of some Protestant Churches of allowing members and non-members to receive the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper). Many but not all churches that practice open communion require that the p ...
) * mutual recognition of ordained ministers * mutual recognition of sacraments * a common commitment to mission. ;Agreements completed # The
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members within the Church of England T ...
, the
Old Catholic Church The terms Old Catholic Church, Old Catholics, Old-Catholic churches or Old Catholic movement designate "any of the groups of Western Christians who believe themselves to maintain in complete loyalty the doctrine and traditions of the Great Chu ...
, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India, and the
Philippine Independent Church , native_name_lang = fil , icon = Logo of the Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan Church).svg , icon_width = 80px , icon_alt = Coat of arms of the Philippine Independent Church , image ...
# The Churches of the
Porvoo Communion The Porvoo Communion is a Communion (Christian), communion of 15 predominantly northern European Anglican and Lutheran, Evangelical Lutheran churches, with a couple of far-southwestern European (in the Iberian Peninsula) church bodies of the same ...
. # The
Anglican Church of Canada The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC or ACoC) is the Ecclesiastical province#Anglican Communion, province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French-language name is ''l'Église anglicane du Canada''. In 2017, the Anglican Church co ...
and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada # The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheranism, Lutheran Christian Church, church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA was officially formed on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran ch ...
and each of the following: the member churches of the
Lutheran World Federation The Lutheran World Federation (LWF; german: Lutherischer Weltbund) is a global Communion (religion), communion of national and regional Lutheran denominations headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The federation was fou ...
, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the
Reformed Church in America The Reformed Church in America (RCA) is a Mainline Protestant, mainline Reformed tradition, Reformed Protestant Christian denomination, denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 152,317 members. From its beginning in 1628 unti ...
, the
United Church of Christ The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant The mainline Protestant churches (also called mainstream Protestant and sometimes oldline Protestant) are a group of Protestantism in the United States, Protestant denominations in th ...
, the
United Methodist Church The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant Christian denomination, denomination based in the United States, and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a ...
and the
Moravian Church The Moravian Church ( cs, Moravská církev), or the Moravian Brethren, formally the (Latin: "Unity of the Brethren"), is one of the oldest Protestantism, Protestant Christian denomination, denominations in Christianity, dating back to the Bohem ...
in America. # The Leuenberg Agreement, concluded in 1973 and adopted by 105 European Protestant churches, since renamed the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. # The
Moravian Church The Moravian Church ( cs, Moravská církev), or the Moravian Brethren, formally the (Latin: "Unity of the Brethren"), is one of the oldest Protestantism, Protestant Christian denomination, denominations in Christianity, dating back to the Bohem ...
and each of the following: the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheranism, Lutheran Christian Church, church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA was officially formed on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran ch ...
and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. # The
United Methodist Church The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant Christian denomination, denomination based in the United States, and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a ...
with the
African Methodist Episcopal Church The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the AME Church or AME, is a Black church, predominantly African American Methodist Religious denomination, denomination. It adheres to Wesleyan-Arminian theology and has a connexionalism, c ...
, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the African Union Methodist Protestant Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheranism, Lutheran Christian Church, church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA was officially formed on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran ch ...
, the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. # The
United Church of Christ The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant The mainline Protestant churches (also called mainstream Protestant and sometimes oldline Protestant) are a group of Protestantism in the United States, Protestant denominations in th ...
and each of the following: the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States and Canada. The denomination started with the Restoration Movement during the Second Great Awakening, first existing during the 19th ...
, the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant Lutheranism, Lutheran Christian Church, church headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA was officially formed on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three Lutheran ch ...
, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the
Reformed Church in America The Reformed Church in America (RCA) is a Mainline Protestant, mainline Reformed tradition, Reformed Protestant Christian denomination, denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 152,317 members. From its beginning in 1628 unti ...
. # The
United Episcopal Church of North America The United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA) is a church in the Anglican tradition and is part of the Continuing Anglican movement. It is not part of the Anglican Communion. The UECNA describes itself as "embracing the broad base of cere ...
and each of the following: the
Anglican Catholic Church The Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), also known as the Anglican Catholic Church (Original Province), is a body of Christians in the continuing Anglican movement, which is separate from the Anglican Communion led by the Archbishop of Canterbury ...
, the
Anglican Province of Christ the King The Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) is a Continuing Anglican movement, Continuing Anglican Christian Church, church with traditional forms both of doctrine and liturgy. It is considered one of the more Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions amo ...
, and the Diocese of the Great Lakes. # The
Anglican Province of America The Anglican Province of America (APA) is a Continuing Anglican church in the United States. The church was founded by former members of the Episcopal Church (United States), Episcopal Church in the United States in order to follow what they cons ...
has intercommunion with the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Church of Nigeria. # The
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots, Kirk o Airlann, ) is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. It is organised on an all-Ireland bas ...
and the Methodist Church in Ireland have established full communion and are working toward interchangeability of ministry. # The
Old Catholic Church The terms Old Catholic Church, Old Catholics, Old-Catholic churches or Old Catholic movement designate "any of the groups of Western Christians who believe themselves to maintain in complete loyalty the doctrine and traditions of the Great Chu ...
es of the Union of Utrecht and the
Church of Sweden The Church of Sweden ( sv, Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden. A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, with around 5.6 million members at year end 2021, it is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden ...
are in full communion since the joint signature of the Uppsala Agreement in 2016. ;Agreements in progress # The United Methodist Council of Bishops have approved interim agreements for sharing the Eucharist with the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. # The
Methodist Church of Great Britain The Methodist Church of Great Britain is a Protestantism, Protestant List of Christian denominations, Christian denomination in Britain, and the mother church to Methodism, Methodists worldwide. It participates in the World Methodist Council, an ...
is currently working toward full communion with the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
and the United Reformed Church.


See also

* Closed communion *
Ecclesiastical separatism Ecclesiastical separatism is the withdrawal of people and churches from Christian denominations, usually to form new denominations. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Definitions of Puritanism, separating puritans advocated departure from the Chu ...
*
Ecumenism Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjec ...
*
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
* ''
Koinonia () is a transliterated form of the Koine Greek, Greek word , which refers to concepts such as fellowship, joint participation, the share which one has in anything, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution. It identifies the ideal ...
'' *
Open communion Open communion is the practice of some Protestant Churches of allowing members and non-members to receive the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper). Many but not all churches that practice open communion require that the p ...
*
Personal ordinariate A personal ordinariate for former Anglicanism, Anglicans, shortened as personal ordinariate or Anglican ordinariate,"...the liturgies approved for the Anglican ordinariates..." "Bishop Stephen Lopes of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St ...


Notes


References


Sources

* *


Further reading

* *


External links


Broken but Never Divided: An Eastern Orthodox Perspective
{{DEFAULTSORT:Full Communion Ecclesiology Christian ecumenism Christian terminology