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Autocephaly ( // ; from Greek : αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The status has been compared with that of the churches (provinces) within the Anglican Communion.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as philosophy, mathematics, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, and the social sciences.
Christian Church is an ecclesiological term generally used by Protestants to refer to the Church invisible, and/or whole group of people belonging to Christianity throughout the history of Christianity. In this understanding, "Christian Church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the "body" of all "believers", both defined in various ways. Other Christian traditions, however, believe that the term "Christian Church" or "Church" applies only to a specific concrete historic Christian institution, e.g. the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East).
In the first centuries of the history of the Christian church, the autocephalous status of a local church was promulgated by canons of the ecumenical councils. Thus, there developed the pentarchy, i.e. a model of ecclesiastical organization where the universal Church was governed by the primates (patriarchs) of the five major episcopal sees of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.Additionally, the Church of Cyprus, previously within the Church of Antioch, was granted autocephaly by Canon VIII of the Council of Ephesus and has since been governed by the Archbishop of Cyprus, who is not subject to any higher ecclesiastical authority.
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.
Pentarchy is a model of Church organization historically championed in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It found its fullest expression in the laws of Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire. In the model, the Christian church is governed by the heads (patriarchs) of the five major episcopal sees of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
The right to grant autocephaly is nowadays a contested issue, the main opponents in the dispute being the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which claims this right as its prerogative,and the Russian Orthodox Church (the Moscow Patriarchate), which insists that an already established autocephaly has the right to grant independence to a part thereof. Thus, the Orthodox Church in America was granted autocephaly by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1970, but this new status was not recognized by most patriarchates. In the modern era the issue of autocephaly has been closely linked to the issue of self-determination and political independence of a nation, or a country; self-proclamation of autocephaly was normally followed by a long period of non-recognition and schism with the mother church.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fifteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as the primate thereof, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019.
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox church, partly recognized as autocephalous, in North America. The OCA consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions in the United States and Canada. In 2011, it had an estimated 84,900 members in the United States.
Following the establishment of an independent Greece in 1832, the Greek government in 1833 unilaterally proclaimed the Orthodox church in the kingdom (until then within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) to be autocephalous. It was not until June 1850 that the Mother Church, under the Patriarch Anthimus IV, recognized this status.
The London Conference of 1832 was an international conference convened to establish a stable government in Greece. Negotiations between the three Great Powers resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece under a Bavarian Prince. The decisions were ratified in the Treaty of Constantinople later that year. The treaty followed the Akkerman Convention which had previously recognized another territorial change in the Balkans, the suzerainty of Principality of Serbia.
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 at the Convention of London by the Great Powers. It was internationally recognised by the Treaty of Constantinople, where it also secured full independence from the Ottoman Empire. This event also marked the birth of the first fully independent Greek state since the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in the mid-15th century.
Anthimus IV, was twice Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, between 1840 and 1841, and between 1848 and 1852. He was born in Istanbul (Constantinople) and served as Chancellor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate before being elected Metropolitan of Ikonion (Konya) between 1825 and 1835, Larissa between 1835 and 1837, and Nikomedeia between 1837 and 1840.
In May 1872, the Bulgarian Exarchate, set up by the Ottoman government two years prior, broke away from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, following the start of the struggle for national self-determination. The Bulgarian Church was recognized as an autocephalous patriarchate in 1945, after decades of schism.
The Bulgarian Exarchate was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical See in 1945 and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was restored in 1953.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
The Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee or BRCC was a Bulgarian revolutionary organisation founded in 1869 among the Bulgarian emigrant circles in Romania. The decisive influence for the establishment of the committee was exerted by the Svoboda newspaper which Lyuben Karavelov began to publish in the autumn of 1869. Some of the other revolutionaries who took active part in the formation and work of the BRCK were Panayot Hitov, Vasil Levski and Dimitar Tsenovich.
Following the Congress of Berlin (1878), which established Serbia's political independence, full ecclesiastical independence for the Metropolitanate of Belgrade was negotiated and recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1879. Additionally, in the course of the 1848 revolution, following the proclamation of the Serbian Vojvodina (Serbian Duchy) within the Austrian Empire in May 1848, the autocephalous Patriarchate of Karlovci was instituted by the Austrian government to be abolished in 1920, shortly after the dissolution of the Austria-Hungary in 1918 and Vojvodina being incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Patriarchate of Karlovci was merged into the newly united Serbian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Dimitrije residing in Belgrade, the capital of the new country that comprised all the Serb-populated lands. The united Serbian Church also incorporated the hitherto autonomous Church in Montenegro whose independence was formally abolished by Regent Alexander's decree in June 1920.
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the representatives of six great powers of the time, the Ottoman Empire and four Balkan states. It aimed at determining the territories of the states in the Balkan peninsula following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, which replaced the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, signed three months earlier between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
The Principality of Serbia was a semi-independent state in the Balkans that came into existence as a result of the Serbian Revolution, which lasted between 1804 and 1817. Its creation was negotiated first through an unwritten agreement between Miloš Obrenović, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising and Ottoman official Marashli Pasha. It was followed by the series of legal documents published by the Porte in 1828, 1829 and finally, 1830 — the Hatt-i Sharif. Its de facto independence ensued in 1867, following the expulsion of all Ottoman troops from the country; its independence was recognized internationally in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin. In 1882 the country was elevated to the status of kingdom.
The Metropolitanate of Belgrade was a metropolitanate of the Serbian Orthodox Church that existed between 1831 and 1920, with jurisdiction over the territory of Principality and Kingdom of Serbia. It was formed in 1831, when Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople granted church autonomy to the Principality of Serbia. Territorial enlargement and full canonical autocephaly was gained in 1879. The Metropolitanate of Belgrade existed until 1920, when it was merged with Patriarchate of Karlovci and other Serbian ecclesiastical provinces to form the united Serbian Orthodox Church. The seat of the Metropolitanate was in Belgrade, Serbia.
The autocephalous status of the Romanian Church, legally mandated by the local authorities in 1865, was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1885, following the international recognition of the independence of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (later Kingdom of Romania) in 1878.
In late March 1917, following the abdication of the Russian tsar Nicholas II earlier that month and the establishment of the Special Transcaucasian Committee, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in Georgia, then within the Russian Empire, unilaterally proclaimed independence of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which was not recognized by the Moscow Patriarchate until 1943 and by the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1990.
In September 1922, Albanian Orthodox clergy and laymen proclaimed autocephaly of the Church of Albania at the Great Congress in Berat. The church was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1937.
The independent Kiev Patriarchate was proclaimed in 1992, shortly after the proclamation of independence of Ukraine and the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, and remains condemned as schismatic by the Moscow Patriarchate, which claims jurisdiction over Ukraine, and unrecognized by the other Orthodox churches. In 2018, the problem of autocephaly in Ukraine became a fiercely contested issue and a part of the overall geopolitical confrontation between Russia and Ukraine as well as between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Similar situation persists in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric remains canonically unrecognized since it split off from the Serbian Church and proclaimed autocephaly in 1967. The Serbian Church has the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric in the Republic of Macedonia.
One step short of autocephaly is autonomy . A church that is autonomous has its highest-ranking bishop, such as an archbishop or metropolitan, approved (or ordained) by the primate of the mother church, but is self-governing in all other respects. The modern Russian Orthodox Church (the Moscow patriarchate) also has the so called "self-governing churches", such as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), in addition to churches that it refers to as "autonomous" such as the Japanese Orthodox Church, which until 2011 were not regarded as constituent part of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Kephale (κεφαλή) means "head" in Greek, whereas nomos (νόμος) means "law";[ citation needed ] hence, autocephalous[ citation needed ] denotes self-headed, or a head unto itself, and autonomous denotes "self-legislated".
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.
The history of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of the history of Christianity, to the Apostolic Age, with mission trips along the Black Sea and a legend of Saint Andrew even ascending the hills of Kiev. It has remained the dominant religion in the country since its acceptance in 988 by Vladimir the Great, who brought it from Byzantine Crimea and instated it as the state religion of medieval Kievan Rus' (Ruthenia), with the metropolitan see in Kiev.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was one of the three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine. It was reestablished for the third time in 1990, right before the fall of the Soviet Union. The UAOC, in its contemporary form, has its origins in the Sobor of 1921 in Kiev, shortly after Ukraine's newly found independence. On 15 December 2018, at the Unification Council, the UAOC and the UOC-KP, along with metropolitans from the UOC-MP, unified into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Metropolitan Epiphany was elected as the new Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) was an organization of bishops from Eastern Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the Americas. It acted as a clearinghouse for educational, charitable, and missionary work in the Americas. In 2010, it was replaced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
The Archbishopric of Ohrid, also known as the Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ohrid, originally called Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima and all Bulgaria, was an autonomous Orthodox Church under the tutelage of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople between 1019 and 1767. It was established following the Byzantine conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018 by lowering the rank of the autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate due to its subjugation to Constantinople.
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or (Orthodox) Church of Poland is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion. The church was established in 1924, to accommodate Orthodox Christians of Polish descent in the eastern part of the country, when Poland regained its independence after the First World War.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate was one of three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine, alongside the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). On December 15, 2018 bishops and delegates from three branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine unified in a council. Metropolitan Epiphanius I was elected as “Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine” and became the primate of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Patriarch Filaret is the honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He was the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (1995–2018), and the former Metropolitan of Kiev of the Russian Orthodox Church (1966–1992). He was defrocked and in 1997 excommunicated by the ROC. On 11 October 2018, the Patriarchate of Constantinople reinstaed him in church communion. However, while restored to the episcopate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate never recognised him as Patriarch and views him as the former Metroplitan of Kiev..
The Patriarch of All Bulgaria is the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch is officially styled as Patriarch of All Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia. Patriarch Neophyte acceded to this position on 24 February 2013.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church may refer to:
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), or Ukrainian Orthodox Church, also known as the Most Holy Church of Ukraine is a partially recognized autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine.
The Moscow–Constantinople schism, also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018, is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 11 October 2018 which confirmed the intention of moving towards granting autocephaly (independence) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, to reestablish a stauropegion in Kiev, to revoke the legal binding of the letter of 1686 which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church, and to lift the excommunications which affected clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. Those two churches, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) and were considered "schismatics" by the Patriarchate of Moscow, as well as by the other Orthodox churches.
The Unification council of the Orthodox churches of Ukraine is a council which was held on 15 December 2018 in the St Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev. The council voted to unite the existing Ukrainian Orthodox churches through their representatives, on the basis of complete canonical independence. All the members of the UOC-KP and the UAOC, and two members of the UOC-MP, merged into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the unification council elected Epiphanius I as its first primate.
On 5 January 2019, Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, signed the tomos that officially recognized and established the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and granted it autocephaly (self-governorship). The events immediately leading to the grant of autocephaly were:
On 15 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church broke the communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate because of a dispute concerning the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine. This led to the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism. Numerous Orthodox churches took position concerning the dispute over the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine, whether before or after this schism.