Autocephaly (church)

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The term autocephaly ( autocephaly “independent”; from ancient Greek αὐτός autós “self” and κεφαλή kephalē “main”) denotes the canonical independence of regional folk churches , independent of the Patriarchate of Constantinople . The hallmark of autocephaly is the ability to choose heads from among your own ranks, patriarchs and metropolitans , to independently issue laws and canonize saints . In dogmatics and cult , however, the unity of the autocephalous churches with one another and with Constantinople is preserved.

Autocephalous churches are the Orthodox and Ancient Near Eastern churches . Most Orthodox churches are autocephalous.

Autocephalous folk churches are therefore relatively independent. They are not subordinate to the Patriarch , Metropolitan, Archbishop or Catholicos or Synod of any other country. In contrast to this, in the autonomous Orthodox churches , which are usually quite small, a higher-ranking church has a say in the appointment of the head, i. H. an autonomous church has less autonomy than an autocephalous church.

See also


  • Georg Galitis, Georg Mantzaridis, Paul Wiertz: Faith from the heart. An Introduction to Orthodoxy. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. TR Verlagsunion, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-8058-1877-7 .
  • Karl Christian Felmy : Introduction to Contemporary Orthodox Theology. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1990, ISBN 3-534-01834-6 .
  • Athanasios Basdekis: The Orthodox Church. A handout for non-Orthodox and Orthodox Christians and churches. Otto Lembeck, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-87476-377-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Basdekis, p. 30
  2. Galitis et al., P. 254
  3. See Basdekis, p. 31 f.
  4. Galitis et al. a., p. 255