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Ethics and Community

Community Organization

Oriental Orthodox churches maintain the same basic structure as other episcopal forms of Christianity, being divided into dioceses and archdioceses, each led by their respective priests and/or bishops.


Each of the Oriental Orthodox churches is headed by a traditional patriarch claiming the authoritative lineage of apostolic succession and considered to be autocephalous, meaning "self-governing."

Principles of Moral Thought and Action

The moral principles adopted by the Oriental Orthodox are essentially the same biblically based ideas as those that guide many Christian churches, although the opinions of the Church fathers are also valued.

Vision for Society

Oriental Orthodox churches share the basic vision for a society manifesting the principles of the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus, although ethnic and national factors may also play a role in how the ideal society is conceived.

Gender and Sexuality

Women, although not permitted to be ordained as clergy, may serve the Church as laypersons, deaconesses, or nuns. Clerical celibacy is idealized, although a married man may enter the clergy and in fact is often considered desirable.