Eastern Orthodox Church organization

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The Eastern Orthodox Church is a communion comprising the fourteen or sixteen separate autocephalous (self-governing) hierarchical churches that recognize each other as "canonical" Eastern Orthodox Christian churches.

Each constituent church is self-governing; its highest-ranking bishop called the primate (a patriarch, a metropolitan or an archbishop) reports to no higher earthly authority. Each regional church is composed of constituent eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by bishops. Some autocephalous churches have given an eparchy or group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy (limited self-government). Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church, usually defined in a Tomos or other document of autonomy. In many cases, autonomous churches are almost completely self-governing, with the mother church retaining only the right to appoint the highest-ranking bishop (often an archbishop or metropolitan) of the autonomous church.[ citation needed ]

Normal governance is enacted through a synod of bishops within each church. In case of issues that go beyond the scope of a single church, multiple self-governing churches send representatives to a wider synod, sometimes wide enough to be called an Eastern Orthodox "ecumenical council". Such councils are deemed to have authority superior to that of any autocephalous church or its ranking bishop.[ citation needed ]

Church governance

The Orthodox Church is decentralised, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role. Thus, the Orthodox Church uses a synodical system canonically, which is significantly different from the hierarchically organised Catholic Church that follows the doctrine of papal supremacy. References to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as a leader are an erroneous interpretation of his title ("first among equals"). [1] [2] His title is of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan. [3] His unique role often sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the "spiritual leader" of the Eastern Orthodox Church in some sources.

The autocephalous churches are normally in full communion with each other, so any priest of any of those churches may lawfully minister to any member of any of them, and no member of any is excluded from any form of worship in any of the others, including reception of the Eucharist.

In the early Middle Ages, the early Christian church was ruled by five patriarchs as the state church of Rome: the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; these were collectively referred to as the Pentarchy. Each patriarch had jurisdiction over bishops in a specified geographic region. This continued until 927, when the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric became the first newly promoted patriarchate to join the original five.[ citation needed ]

The patriarch of Rome was "first in place of honor" among the five patriarchs. Disagreement about the limits of his authority was one of the causes of the Great Schism, conventionally dated to the year 1054, which split the church into the Catholic Church in the West, headed by the Bishop of Rome, and the Orthodox Church, led by the four eastern patriarchs (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria). After the schism this honorary primacy shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had previously been accorded the second-place rank at the First Council of Constantinople.[ citation needed ]

In the 5th century, Oriental Orthodoxy separated from Chalcedonian Christianity (and is therefore separate from both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church), well before the 11th century Great Schism. It should not be confused with Eastern Orthodoxy.

Jurisdictions

Canonical territories of the main autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions as of 2020 Canonical territories of autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions (2020).svg
Canonical territories of the main autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions as of 2020

Autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches

Timeline showing the history of the main autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, from an Eastern Orthodox point of view, up to 2021 Timeline of the History of the main autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, E. Orthodox point of view (2021).svg
Timeline showing the history of the main autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, from an Eastern Orthodox point of view, up to 2021

Ranked in order of seniority, with the year of independence (autocephaly) given in parentheses, where applicable. [4] [5] There is a total of 16 autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches which are recognized.

Four Ancient Patriarchates

  1. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (independence in 330 AD, elevated to the rank of autocephalous Patriarchate in 381)
  2. Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
  3. Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
  4. Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (independence in 451 AD, elevated to the rank of autocephalous Patriarchate in 451)

Those four ancient Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates are of the five episcopal sees forming the historical Pentarchy, the fifth one being the See of Rome. They all adopted the Chalcedonian Definition and remained in communion after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, and also the Catholic, and most Protestant churches. It was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox churches (classified as non-Chalcedonian).

The title of Patriarch was created in 531 by Justinian. [6]

Junior patriarchates

  1. Bulgarian Orthodox Church (870, Patriarchate from 918/919, recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 927 [7] )
  2. Orthodox Church of Georgia (486, Patriarchate from 1010)
  3. Serbian Orthodox Church (1219, Patriarchate from 1346)
  4. Russian Orthodox Church (1448, recognized in 1589 [8] [lower-alpha 1] )
  5. Romanian Orthodox Church (1872, recognized in 1885, Patriarchate from 1925)

Autocephalous archbishoprics

Note: [lower-alpha 2]

  1. Church of Cyprus (recognized in 431)
  2. Church of Greece (1833, recognized in 1850) [9]
  3. Orthodox Church of Albania (1922, recognized in 1937)

Autocephalous metropolises

Note: [lower-alpha 2]

  1. Polish Orthodox Church (1924) [lower-alpha 3]
  2. Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1951) [lower-alpha 4]
  3. Orthodox Church in America (1970, not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church and 5 other churches) [lower-alpha 5]
  4. Orthodox Church of Ukraine (autocephaly from 15 December 2018, recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019, by the Church of Greece on 12 October 2019, [11] [12] [13] by the Patriarchate of Alexandria on 8 November 2019, [14] [15] [16] [17] and by the Church of Cyprus on 24 October 2020 [18] [19] [20] )

The four ancient patriarchates are the most senior, followed by the five junior patriarchates. Autocephalous archbishoprics follow the patriarchates in seniority, with the Church of Cyprus being the only ancient one (AD 431). In the diptychs of the Russian Orthodox Church and some of its daughter churches (e.g., the Orthodox Church in America), the ranking of the five junior patriarchal churches is different. Following the Russian Church in rank is Georgian, followed by Serbian, Romanian, and then Bulgarian Church. The ranking of the archbishoprics is the same.

Autonomous Eastern Orthodox churches

Diagram with the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Church as of 2020 Organization of Autocephalus Eastern Orthodox Churches (January 2020).svg
Diagram with the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Church as of 2020
under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
under the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
under the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
under the Russian Orthodox Church
under the Serbian Orthodox Church
under the Romanian Orthodox Church

Semi-autonomous churches

under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
under the Russian Orthodox Church

Limited self-government (not autonomy)

under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
under the Russian Orthodox Church

Unrecognized churches

Timeline of the main unrecognized and True Orthodox churches which have come out of the Serbian Orthodox Church Timeline of the main schisms from the Serbian Orthodox Church (second quarter of the 19th century to 2021).svg
Timeline of the main unrecognized and True Orthodox churches which have come out of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Timeline of the main unrecognized and True Orthodox churches which have come out of the Russian Orthodox Church Timeline of the main schisms from the Russian Orthodox Church (1589 to 2021).svg
Timeline of the main unrecognized and True Orthodox churches which have come out of the Russian Orthodox Church

True Orthodox

These are churches that have separated from the mainstream communion over issues of Ecumenism and Calendar reform since the 1920s. [21] Due to what these churches perceive as being errors of modernism and the branch theory (which they call "ecumenism") in mainstream Eastern Orthodoxy, they refrain from concelebration of the Divine Liturgy with the mainstream Eastern Orthodox, while maintaining that they remain fully within the canonical boundaries of the Church: i.e., professing Eastern Orthodox belief, retaining legitimate apostolic succession, and existing in communities with historical continuity.

The Churches which follow True Orthodoxy are:

Unrecognized Churches that voluntarily stay outside any communion

These Churches do not practice Communion with any other Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions nor do they tend to recognize each other. Yet, like the True Orthodox Churches above, they consider themselves to be within the canonical boundaries of the Church: i.e., professing Eastern Orthodox belief, retaining what they believe to be legitimate apostolic succession, and existing in communities with historical continuity. Nevertheless, their relationship with all other Eastern Orthodox Churches remains unclear, as Eastern Orthodox Churches normally recognize and are recognized by others.

Old Believers

Old Believers are divided into various churches which do not recognize each others, nor mainstream Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Churches that are not recognized despite wanting to

The following Churches recognize all other mainstream Eastern Orthodox Churches, but are not recognized by any of them due to various disputes:

Churches that are neither recognized nor fully Eastern Orthodox

The following Churches use the term "Orthodox" in their name and carries belief or the traditions of Eastern Orthodox church, but blend beliefs and traditions from other denominations outside of Eastern Orthodoxy:

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Autonomy not universally recognised.
  1. Due to the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism, the Russian Orthodox Church has cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate along with several primates of other Churches on this list. The nature of their current relationship is uncertain
  2. 1 2 In the E. Orthodox Churches of Greek tradition, the rank are, from the lowest to the highest, as follow: bishop, metropolitan, archbishop, patriarch. In contrast, in the other E. Orthodox Churches, the rank are, from the lowest to the highest, as follow: bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, patriarch. Thus, an archbishop from an E. Orthodox Church of Greek tradition is equivalent to a metropolitan in the other E. Orthodox Churches.
  3. The primate of the Polish Orthodox Church is referred to as Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland , but the Polish Orthodox Church is officially a Metropolis [10]
  4. The primate of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church is referred to as Archbishop of Prešov and Slovakia, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, but the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church is officially a Metropolis
  5. See Orthodox Church in America#Recognition of autocephaly
  6. Was previously an Oriental Orthodox archdiocese by the Indian Orthodox Church and later an independent Oriental Orthodox Church; the Church is currently an autonomous True Orthodox Church under the Avlona Synod since 2016
  7. The UOC-KP merged into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. However, the UOC-KP was re-established after a conflict between Patriarch Filaret and the primate of the OCU Metropolitan Epiphanius

Related Research Articles

Autocephaly Christian hierarchical practice

Autocephaly 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.

Orthodox Church in America Eastern Orthodox church in North America

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian church based in North America. The OCA is partly recognized as autocephalous and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2011, it had an estimated 84,900 members in the United States.

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Autocephalous church of Eastern Orthodox Christianity

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fourteen to sixteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.

Exarch Former political and military office; now an ecclesiastical office

The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek ἔξαρχος, exarchos, and designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical.

History of Christianity in Ukraine

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 Kyiv. The first Christian community on territory of modern Ukraine is documented as early as the 9th century with establishment of the Metropolitanate of Gothia centered in Crimean peninsula. However, on territory of the Old Rus in Kyiv it became the dominant religion since its official acceptance in 988 by Vladimir the Great, who brought it from Byzantine Crimea and installed it as the state religion of medieval Kyivan Rus (Ruthenia), with the metropolitan see in Kyiv.

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

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 Kyiv, 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.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Autocephalous jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Church

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, is an autocephalous Orthodox jurisdiction. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox church, with some 6 million members in Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as autocephalous in 1945 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Polish Orthodox Church Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction in Poland

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.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate was an unrecognized Orthodox church in Ukraine which existed since 1992 and merged into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in 2018. In 2019, the former leader of the church Filaret (Denysenko) has declared its "revival" following his conflict with Epiphanius, however, it was not supported by the majority of the biskups of former Kyiv Patriarchate. As of 2021, the juridical person of UOC-KP is officially stopped.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church may refer to:

Orthodox Church of Ukraine Autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church in Ukraine

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) is a partially recognized autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine.

Autonomous Orthodox Metropolis of Ecuador and Latin America is an Old Calendarist jurisdiction which originally comprised the archdiocese in South America and Caribbean of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, subsequently becoming a Metropolis, affiliated to the "Holy Metropolitan Synod of Avlona and Boeotia" in 2010. It is managed by Metropolitan Chrysostom (Celi). It has missions for the area in more than 22 Latin American countries. This is a religious organization recognized by the Ecuadorian government in June 2006. Due to its Old Calendarist status, this jurisdiction is not listed within the diptychs recognized by historical patriarchal sees of the Eastern Orthodox Church, or any church groups in communion with these.

2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism Ongoing split between the Eastern Orthodox patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople

A schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople began on 15 October 2018 when the former unilaterally severed full communion with the latter.

1996 Moscow–Constantinople schism Schism between the Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1996

In 1996 a schism between Moscow and Constantinople occurred; this schism began on 23 February 1996, when the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ended on 16 May 1996 when the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate reached an agreement.

Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Process of granting of autocephaly to the Eastern Orthodox church in Ukraine

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:

15th–16th century Moscow–Constantinople schism Split between the Churches of Moscow and Constantinople

A schism between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and part ofitsMetropolis of Kiev and all Rus' occurred between approximately 1467 and 1560. This schism de facto ended supposedly around 1560.

Metropolitanate of Kyiv Orthodox diocese

Metropolitanate of Kyiv was an autonomous metropolis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople with center in Kyiv after its formation in 988 as a result of the Christianization of Rus by Volodymyr the Great until January 6, 2019, when it received the Tomos on Autocephaly.

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