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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE MEANING OF
AN AUTOCEPHALY.


Q. 1. What is an "Autocephaly?"

A. 1. "Autocephaly" come from a Greek word that means "Self-headed." It is the status of a hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. This type of Church is mostly found in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

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 Canon VIII 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.



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