List of autocephalous and autonomous churches

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Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy
Autocephalous Churches
Four Ancient Patriarchates: Constantinople · Alexandria · Antioch · Jerusalem
Russia · Serbia · Romania · Bulgaria · Georgia · Cyprus · Greece · Poland · Albania · Czech Lands and Slovakia · OCA* · Ukraine*
Autonomous Churches
Sinai · Finland · Estonia* · Japan* · China* · Ukraine*
The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.

The autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox churches are those churches which have self-government. These churches also constitute what is generally known simply as the Orthodox Church, but may also be referred to as the mainstream Orthodox Church or world Orthodoxy. They all recognize one another and are in full communion with each other.

That they constitute the "mainstream" (i.e., that they are legitimately and/or exclusively Orthodox) is disputed by a number of groups with whom they are not in communion, such as most of the Old Calendarists.

Despite these churches all being in communion with one another, there is not currently unanimous agreement on which churches are considered autocephalous or autonomous. There is, however, an order which is followed in international Inter-Orthodox gatherings, which is included here first. There is an expanded order which is recognized by some churches, most notably the Church of Russia and its dependencies and historical daughter churches.

Inter-Orthodox order

Autocephalous churches

Autonomous churches

Expanded order

Autocephalous churches

It should be noted that in the diptychs of the Moscow Patriarchate and some of its daughter churches (e.g., the OCA), the ranking of four of the patriarchal churches is different. Following Moscow in rank is Georgia, followed by Serbia, Romania, and then Bulgaria. According to all four ancient Patriarchates, and the Church of Greece, the Church of Cyprus actually appears before Moscow in the hierarchy. Until the 5th century she has been struggling to remain free from Antioch. A monk had a dream which revealed the tomb of Barnabus, with a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Since then the Archbishop of Cyprus has had certain privileges, like being able to wear a red rasson underneath the black clerical robes, having a stick featuring a double headed snake, and being able to sign his name in red.

Autonomous churches

Formerly independent churches

These churches were formerly autocephalous or autonomous, no longer Orthodox, or in some cases no longer exist.

Unrecognized independent churches

The following churches are variously unrecognized by the mainstream churches as independent and/or canonical.

See also


  • Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (ISBN 0631232036)
  • Fitzgerald, Thomas E. The Orthodox Church. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1998, p. 151.
  • World Orthodox Churches, from the OCA website

External link