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Christianity in South and Central Asia$
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Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, and Todd M. Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439824

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439824.001.0001

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(p.223) Orthodox
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Romina Istratii

, Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, Todd M. Johnson
Edinburgh University Press

The Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox have developed distinct traditions. The majority of present-day Orthodox Christians in Central Asia are Slavs who inhabited the Central Asian geography during historical imperial Russian expansion. Central Asia is also home to an Armenian community, affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches operate on a small scale in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Post-Soviet Union, newly independent republics had become Muslim-majority states. The Armenian Oriental Orthodox community survives today primarily in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, with a few tens of thousands per republic. The Oriental Orthodox church in India has split over Syrian Patriarchy, forming the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Historically, the Armenians in Iran preserved their religio-cultural identity and language, not least because of being allowed to operate their own schools under the jurisdiction of the Church. Despite representation in parliament, Armenians have faced more difficulty finding employment due to discrimination. The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians of South and Central Asia have generally managed to maintain their life and witness to present times amid considerable social, religious and political pressures that have made their environments more difficult.

Keywords:   Orthodox, Oriental, Armenian, Eastern, Syrian, Russian

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