It is led by an archimandrite and consists of a small community of monks and nuns resident in Jerusalem.
It was also one and undivided, until the early Ecumenical Councils.
By the time of the Muslim conquest the Church in the East was already subdivided into various sects, although they seem to have continued to share in the use of the Holy Places.
Except for national churches, such as the Armenian, the indigenous communities are predominantly Arabic-speaking; most of them, very likely, descendants of the early Christian communities of the Byzantine period.
The Orthodox Church (also termed Eastern or Greek-Orthodox Church) consists of a family of Churches all of which acknowledge the honorary primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Being in communion with the Greek Orthodox Church, they are under the local jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
The Russian Orthodox mission was established in Jerusalem in 1858, but Russian Christians had begun visiting the Holy Land in the 11th century, only a few years after the Conversion of Kiev.
It was only with the Crusader Kingdoms, and the paramountcy (praedominium) enjoyed by the (Latin) Church of the West, that contention arose regarding the Holy Places and continued unabated through the Mamluk and Ottoman periods until the declaration of the Status Quo in 1852.
The communities may be divided into four basic categories - Orthodox, Non-Chalcedonian (Monophysite), Catholic (Latin and Uniate) and Protestant - consisting of some 20 ancient and indigenous churches, and another 30, primarily Protestant, denominational groups.
The non-Chalcedonian churches hold the Monophysite doctrine that in Christ there was but a single, divine nature.
The Armenian Orthodox Church dates from the year 301 and the conversion of Armenia, the first nation to embrace Christianity.
130 CE) by Hadrian as the Roman city of Aelia Capitolina.