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From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, and Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" (in contrast to the "Roman" or "Latin" church, which used a Latin translation of the Bible), even before the Great Schism of 1054.
Similarly, the churches in Rome and Constantinople separated in an event known as the East–West Schism, traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more a gradual process than a sudden break.
The Church of England separated from the Catholic Church, not directly from the Eastern Orthodox Church, for the first time in the 1530s (and, after a brief reunion in 1555, again finally in 1558).
In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church".
The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use.
The depth of this meaning in the Eastern Orthodox Church is registered first in its use of the word "Orthodox" itself, a union of Greek orthos ("straight", "correct", "true", "right") and doxa ("common belief", from the ancient verb δοκέω-δοκῶ which is translated "to believe", "to think", "to consider", "to imagine", "to assume").
Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia.
The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares ("first among equals") of the bishops.
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