The '''Church of Constantinople''' is one of the fourteen or fifteen [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] churches, also referred to as the '''Ecumenical [[Patriarchate]]'''. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch, who has the status of ''[[primus inter pares]]'' ("first among equals") among the world's Orthodox [[bishop]]s. The current Ecumenical Patriarch is His All-Holiness [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople|Bartholomew I]], Archbishop of Constantinople.
The local churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate consist of five archdioceses, three churches, thirteen metropolises, and one diocese, each of which reports directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople with no intervening authority. In addition, three of the five archdioceses have internal metropolises (16 in all), which are part of their respective archdioceses rather than distinct administrative entities, unlike the other metropolises.
[[Image:Ecumenical Patriarchate.jpg|right|frame|The entrance to the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the [[Phanar]] in Constantinople]]
==Peculiar prerogatives of the patriarchate==
:''Main article: [[Prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate]]''
In history and in [[canons (law)|canonical literature]] (i.e. the Church's canons and traditional commentaries on them), the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been granted certain prerogatives (''[[presbeia]]'') which other autocephalous Orthodox churches do not have. Not all of these prerogatives are today universally acknowledged, though all do have precedents in history and canonical references. The nature of these prerogatives or even their very existence is hotly contested on [[Prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate#Canonical claims|canonical grounds]] by certain other Orthodox churches, particularly the [[Church of Russia]].
The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of these prerogatives and their reference points:
*Equal prerogatives to Old Rome (Canon 3 of the [[Second Ecumenical Council]], Canon 28 of the [[Fourth Ecumenical Council]], Canon 36 of the [[Quinisext Council]])
*The right to hear appeals, if invited, regarding disputes between clergy (Canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council)
*The right to ordain bishops for areas outside defined [[canonical territory|canonical boundaries]] (Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council)
*The right to establish [[stavropegial]] [[monastery|monasteries]] even in the territories of other [[patriarchate]]s (the [[Epanagoge]], commentaries of [[Matthew Blastares]] and [[Theodore Balsamon]])
name= Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople[[Image:Constantinople seal.gif|center|The Church of Constantinople]]|
website=[http://www.ec-patr.org Church of Constantinople]
== Structure of the Patriarchate ==
:''See article on the [[Church of Constantinople Structure]]''
*[[List of Patriarchs of Constantinople]]
*[[Ecumenical Patriarchate in America]]