Concept

Organization of the Eastern Orthodox Church

Summary
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is a communion composed of up to seventeen separate autocephalous (self-governing) hierarchical churches that profess Eastern Orthodoxy and recognise each other as canonical (regular) Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. Each constituent church is self-governing; its highest-ranking bishop called the primate (a patriarch, a metropolitan or an archbishop) reports to no higher earthly authority. Each regional church is composed of constituent eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by bishops. Some autocephalous churches have given an eparchy or group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy (limited self-government). Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church, usually defined in a tomos or another document of autonomy. In many cases, autonomous churches are almost completely self-governing, with the mother church retaining only the right to appoint the highest-rank
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