- Eastern Orthodox Church organization
This article covers the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Churches rather than the doctrines, traditions, practices, or other aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy.
Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox church claims to be the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Western Orthodoxyis sometimes used to denominate what is technically a Vicariate within the Antiochian Orthodox Church and thus a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church as that term is defined here. The term "Western Orthodox Church" is disfavored by members of that Vicariate.
5th century, Oriental Orthodoxyseparated from Chalcedonian Christianity (and is therefore separate from both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches), well before the 11th centuryGreat Schism. It should not be confused with Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is a communion comprising the fifteen separate autocephalous hierarchical churches that recognize each other as "canonical" Orthodox Christian churches. There is an essentially political disagreement over the autocephaly of one of the churches—the
Orthodox Church in America.
There is no single earthly head of all the Orthodox Churches comparable to the
Popeof Rome. The highest-ranking bishop of the communion is the Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also primate of one of the autocephalous churches. These organizations are in full communionwith 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. Each local or national Orthodox Church is a portion of the Orthodox Church as a whole.
In the early Middle Ages, the
One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Churchwas ruled by five patriarchs: 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 additional five.
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 Roman Catholic Church in the West, headed by the Bishop of Rome, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, led by the four eastern patriarchs. After the schism this honorary
primacyshifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had previously been accorded the second-place rank at the First Council of Constantinople.
(ranked in order of seniority)
#The Church of Constantinople, under the Ecumenical Patriarch
#The Church of Alexandria
#The Church of Antioch
#The Church of Jerusalem
#The Church of Russia (est. 1589)
#The Church of Serbia (est. 1219)
#The Church of Romania (est. 1925)
#The Church of Bulgaria (est. 927)
#The Church of Georgia (est. 466)
#The Church of Cyprus (est. 434)
Church of Greece(est. 1850)
#The Church of Poland (est. 1924)
#The Church of Albania (est. 1937)
#The Church of Czech and Slovak lands (est. 1951)
Orthodox Church in America(est. 1972. Autocephaly not universally recognized)The four ancient patriarchates are most senior, followed by the five younger patriarchates. Autocephalous churches whose leaders are archbishops follow the patriarchates in seniority, with the Church of Cyprus being the only ancient one (AD 434). From the Orthodox point of view there would be five ancient patriarchates had the Great Schism not occurred, severing the Church of Rome from the Orthodox Churches in the 11th century.
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Finnish Orthodox Church
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church†
Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe†
Patriarchate of Antioch
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai
*under the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia
**The Estonian Orthodox Church†
Latvian Orthodox Church
Moldovan Orthodox Church
**:It comprises 60% of Moldovan Orthodox
**The Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Japanese Orthodox Church†
Chinese Orthodox Church†
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia†
*under the Patriarchate of Peć and All Serbia
Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric†
*under the Patriarchate of Romania
Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia
**:It comprises 23% of Moldovan Orthodox or 1 million in 2004. It stayed under the Patriarchate of Romania after
Imperial Russiaannexed Bessarabiain 1812.
†Autonomy not universally recognized
Eastern Orthodoxchurches without autonomy
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
**The Italian Orthodox Church
Korean Orthodox Church
Philippine Orthodox Church
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Churches "in resistance"
Due to what these churches perceive as the errors of Modernism and Ecumenism in mainstream Orthodoxy, they refrain from
concelebrationof the Divine Liturgywith them while maintaing they remain fully within the canonical boundaries of the Church: i.e. professing Orthodox belief, retaining legitimate episcopal succession, and existing in communities with historical continuity. With the exception of the Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance), they will commune the faithful from all the canonical jurisdictions and are recognized by and in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Due in part to the re-establishment of official ties between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance) has broken ecclesial communion with ROCOR, but the converse has not happened. Where the Old Calendar Romanian and Bulgarian churches stand on the matter is as yet unclear.
Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance)
Old Calendar Romanian Orthodox Church
Old Calendar Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Churches that have voluntarily "walled themselves off"
These Churches do not practice Communion with any other Orthodox jurisdictions nor do they tend to recognize each other.
Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece
Russian True Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America
Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Churches that are unrecognized by others
The following Churches recognize all other mainstream Orthodox Churches, but are not recognized by any of them due to various disputes:
The Russian Orthodox Church in America holds a policy much like the Churches list above as 'In Resistance'. Communing the faithful but not con-celebrating among hierarchs. The ROCIA's status is unclear, with many faithful and even priests received into other Orthodox Churches including ROCOR, the GOA and the OCA with their sacraments recognized, but as the Hierarchs of the ROCIA do not seek to con-celebrate with other Churches, the exact standing of those hierarchs remains unclear.
Macedonian Orthodox Church
* The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate
Russian Orthodox Church in America
Churches self-styled as Orthodox, unrecognized as such
Bulgarian Alternative Synod
Croatian Orthodox Church†
Orthodox Church in Italy
Montenegrin Orthodox Church
*The Karamanli Turkish Orthodox Church
ources and external links
* [http://www.ec-patr.org/docdisplay.php?lang=en&id=287&tla=en Territorial Jurisdiction According to Orthodox Canon Law. The Phenomenon of Ethnophyletism in Recent Years] , a paper read at the International Congress of Canon Law, 2001, (Ecumenical Patriarchate website)
* [http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/List_of_autocephalous_and_autonomous_Churches List of Autocephalous and Autonomous Orthodox Churches] , an OrthodoxWiki article
* [http://www.oca.org/OCworldindex.asp?SID=2 World Orthodox Churches] , at Orthodox Church in America website
* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Religious_Organizations.html#Orthodox Religious Organisations - Orthodox Churches] , at WorldStatesmen.org
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