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Encyclopedia > Autocephalous

In hierarchical Christian churches, especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. When an ecumenical council or a high-ranking bishop, such as a patriarch or other primate, releases an ecclesiastical province from the authority of that bishop while the newly independent church remains in full communion with the hierarchy to which it then ceases to belong, the council or primate is granting autocephaly. For example, the Cypriot Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly by the Council of Ephesus and is ruled by the Archbishop of Cyprus, who is not subject to any higher ecclesiastical authority, although his church remains in full communion with the other Eastern Orthodox churches. Similarly, the Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia was granted autocephaly by the Coptic pope in 1950, and the Orthodox Church in America was granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Moscow in 1970. (The Greek Orthodox Church in North America is not autocephalous, but is subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople.)

One step short of autocephaly is autonomy. A church that is autonomous has its highest-ranking bishop, such as an archbishop or metropolitan, appointed by the patriarch of the parent church, but is self-governing in all other respects. See also Episcopalian church governance.

  Results from FactBites:
MSN Encarta - Print Preview - Orthodox Church (3173 words)
Each is autocephalous, that is, governed by its own senior bishop known as a patriarch or metropolitan archbishop.
The church was a dependency of the patriarch of Antioch until the Council of Ephesus granted it autocephalous status in 431, with the right to rank immediately after the five ancient patriarchates.
By the 10th century Bulgarian was the language of the church, and in the early 10th century, by decree of Tsar Simeon, it became an autocephalous patriarchate in defiance of Constantinople.
Religioscope - > Church Destruction in Belarus (983 words)
Their Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (BAPTs) was set to have a newly built church consecrated.
Autocephalous, or self-governing, churches get their name from the Greek words meaning "self" and "head" and are independent of other churches.
Antonyuk said the Belarusian Autocephalous Church is a challenge to the Belarusian Orthodox Church, a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church that enjoys official favor in line with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's stated pro-Russian position.
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