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Eastern Orthodox Churches

The Eastern Orthodox Church is a fellowship of autocephalous churches, each of which is headed by a primate. The five oldest and most important churches are the four
autocephalous patriarchates, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church is also divided into a number of autonomous or semi-autonomous churches that remain under the authority of a patriarch. There are also a significant number of churches that are not in communion with the main churches, and are classed as independent. Their number changes often, as many merge with other churches, or are in the process of becoming recognised. Churches from two other distinct schismatic groups are also present: the Old Believers (17th century), whose churches follow the pre-Nikonian liturgical practices of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Old Calendarists or True believers (20th century), who oppose the use of the Gregorian calendar in favour of the Julian calendar.

 
Ancient Autocephalous Patriarchates
Name
Head
Jurisdiction
Formation
HQ
Members
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patr., Abp of Constantinople, and New Rome
Turkey, Greece, W. Europe, the Americas, Australia, NZ, China, SE Asia, N. Korea, S. Korea, India, Iran, Afghanistan, diaspora
Apostilic time; patriarchate 451
Istanbul
3,500,000
(2021)
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of
Alexandria
Pope and Patr. of Alexandria, and All Africa
Egypt, rest of Africa
Apostilic time; patriarchate 325
Alexandria
500,000
(2021)
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
Patr. of Antioch and All the East
Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, the Americas, Australia, Europe
Apostilic time; patriarchate 325
Damascus
4,320,000
(2021)
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of
Jerusalem
Patr. of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and beyond the Jordan River, Kana of Galilee, and Holy Zion
Israel, Palestine, Jordan
Apostilic time; patriarchate 451
Jerusalem
200,000
(2021)
Autocephalous Churches
Name
Head
Presence
Formation
HQ
Members
Russian Orthodox Church
Patr. of Moscow and all Russia
Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, diaspora
Baptism of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, 988; autocephaly 1448; patriarchate 1589
Moscow
164,100,000
(2021)
Serbian Orthodox Church
Patr., Abp of Pec, Metrop. of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Patriarch of Serbia
Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, N. Macedonia, Canada, Western Europe, Australia
Saints Cyril and Methodios, 867–886; patriarchate 1920
Belgrade
8,000,000
(2021)
Romanian Orthodox Church
Patr., Abp of Bucharest, Metrop. of Muntenia and Dobrudja, Locum Tenens of the Throne of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and Patr. of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Romania, W. Europe, N. America
Missionaries, 1st century; patriarchate 1925
Bucharest
18,806,428
(2021)
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Patr., Metrop. of Sofia and Patr. of All Bulgaria
Bulgaria, diaspora in Europe and America
Baptism of Tsar Boris, 864; 3rd patriarchate 1961
 Sofia
7,000,000
(2021)
Georgian Orthodox Church
Catholicos-Patr. of All Georgia, the Abp of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metrop. bishop of Tskhum-Abkhazia and Bichvinta
Georgia
Apostilic time; autocephaly 1089; patriarchate 1990
Tbilisi
3,500,000
(2021)
Church of Cyprus
Abp of Nicosia, Cyprus
New Justinianoupolis and All Cyprus
Cyprus
Apostilic time; autocephalous 431
 Nicosia
654,000
(2021)
Church of Greece
Abp of Athens and all Greece
Greece
Apostilic time; autocephalous 1850
Athens
10,000,000
(2021)
Albanian Orthodox Church
Abp of Tirana, Durres and all Albania
Albania, diaspora
Apostilic time; autocephalous 1937
Tirana
500,000
(2021)
Polish Orthodox Church
Abp of Warsaw and Metrop. of All Poland
Poland
Missionaries from Russia, Middle Ages; autocephalous 1924
Warsaw
600,000
(2021)
Orthodox Church of Ukraine*
Metrop. of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Ukraine
Apostilic time; autocephalous 2018
Kiev
 
Latvian Orthodox Church* 
Metrop. of Riga and all of Latvia
Latvia
Autonomous under ROC; autocephalous, 2022
Riga
350,000
(2022)
Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric
Abp of Ohrid and Macedonia
N. Macedonia, N. America, Australia
Part of BOC; autocephaly declared 1967 - schism; autocephalous 2022
Skopje
 1,300,000
(2021)
Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
Abp of Prešov, the Metrop. of Czech lands and Slovakia
Czech Republic, Slovakia
Saints Cyril and Methodios, 867–886; autocephalous 1998
Prague
75,000
(2021)
Orthodox Church in America*
Abp of Washington, Metrop. of All America and Canada
USA, Canada
Russian missionaries in Alaska, 1794; autocephalous, 1970
Syosset, NY
100,000
(2021)
Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Churches
Name
Head
Patr.
Formation
HQ
Members
Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Two Americas
Abp of the United States, Metrop. of the Two Americas
ROM
est. 2016, autonomous
Chicago
 
Metropolitanate of Bessarabia
Metrop. of Bessarabia
ROM
Apostolic time; under ROC 1812; autonomous under ROM 1992
Chisinau
Belarusian Orthodox Church
Metrop. of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus
ROC
First diocese est. 992; under ROC 1839; exarchate 1989
Minsk
Orthodox Church of China*
None
ROC
Origins traced to Russian Cossacks, 1681; officially inactive

c. 20,000
(1956)

 

Metropolitanate of Chisinau and All Moldova (Moldovan Orthodox Church)
Metrop. of Chisinau and All Moldova
ROC
Apostolic time; under ROC 1812; autonomous under ROC 1992
Chisinau
Orthodox Church of Crete
Abp of Crete
EPC
Apostilic time; semi-autonomous
Crete
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church*
Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia
EPC
Under ROC, then autonomous under EPC 1923; under ROC 1978; autonomy under EPC reactivated 1996
Tallinn
c. 27,000
(2021)
Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate*
Metrop. of Tallinn and All Estonia
ROC
Split from Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church 1996
c. 180,000
(2021)
Finnish Orthodox Church
Abp of Karelia and All Finland
EPC
Under ROC; recognition of autonomy, 1923
Kuopio
58,000
(2021)
Orthodox Church of Japan*
Abp of Tokyo, Metropolitan of All Japan
ROC
Est. 1881 by Russian missionary, Nicholas Kasatkin; autonomy recognised by ROC, 1970
Tokyo
10,000
(2021)
Orthodox Church of Korea
Metrop. of Korea and Exarch of Japan
EPC
ROC mission est. 1900; autonomous under EOC 2004
Seoul
Monastic Community of Mount Athos
Protepistate
EPC
Small communities founded by Saints Peter the Athonite and Eutemios, 9the c.; semi-autonomy since Byzantine times
Karyes
1,811 monks (2011)
Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai  
Abp of Sinai, Pharan, and Raitho
GPJ
Settled by Christian anchorites 3rd C.; autonomous 1575
Egypt
900
(2021)
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Metrop. of Eastern America and New York, First hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
ROC
Est. 1920s; semi-autonomous
Moscow/
New York
27,70
(2010)
Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate
Metrop. of Kyiv and all Ukraine
 ROC
  Baptism of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, 988; semi-autonomous under ROC
 
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Metrop. and Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
EPC
Est 1919; autonomous 1995
New Jersey
22,400
(2010)
Main Independent Churches
Name
Head
Formation
HQ
Montenegrin Orthodox Church
Abp of Cetinje and Metrop. of Montenegro
Split from SOC 1993
Montenegro
Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Primate of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Split from ROC 1922
USA
Holy Orthodox Church in North America
Three: Metrops of Seattle, Boston, and Toronto
1965
USA
Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate
Patriarch of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Split from ROC 1992
Ukraine
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – Canonical
 Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine
 Split from ROC 1924
Ukraine
Abkhazian Orthodox Church
Primate of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church
Split from GEO 2009
Abkhazia
Autocephalous Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate
Patriarch of the Autocephalous Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate
1923
Turkey, USA
Main Old Believer Churches
Name
Head
Formation
Presence
Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy
Metropolitan
1846
Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus
Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church Belokrinitsa (Old-Orthodox Church of Christ)
Metrop. of Moscow and All Russia (since 1988)
1846, branch of the Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy
Russia, Hungary, USA, Romania
Lipovan Orthodox Old-Rite Church
Abp of Belokrinitsa and Metrop. of All Old Orthodox Christians
1846, branch of the Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy
Romania, USA, Canada, Australia
Novozybkovskaya Hierarchy (Russian Old Orthodox Church)
Old-Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus
1923, schism in Novozybkovskaya Hierarchy
Russia, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus
Georgian Old-Orthodox Church (Slavic-Georgian Old-Orthodox Church)
Bp of Tbilisi
1988, schism in Novozybkovskaya Hierarchy
Georgia
Old-Orthodox Church of Ukraine
Bp of Kiev and Vinnitsa
2022, dissent in Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church Belokrinitsa
Ukraine
Pomorian Old-Orthodox Church (priestless)
various councils
1694
Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan
Main Old Calendarist Churches
Name
Head
Formation
Presence
True Orthodox Church of Greece (Matthewite-Nicolaitan)
Abp of Athens 
schism within Greek Old Calendarists, 1937
Greece, USA
True Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius)
Abp of Athens 
schism in extinct Florinite True-Orthodox Church of Greece, 1985
 Greece, Australia, USA, Canada
True Orthodox Church of Greece (Matthewite-Gregorian)
President of the Synod, Abp of Athens
dissent in original True-Orthodox Church of Greece, 1997
Greece, Australia, USA, Cyprus, Serbia
True-Orthodox Church of Greece (Matthewite-Kirikite)
 Metropolitan
schism in original True-Orthodox Church of Greece, 2005
Greece, Nairobi, Kenya, Ukraine, Russia, Cyprus, Belgium, France, UK
True Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius-Jacobite)
Chairman of the Synod, Archbishop of Athens
schism in the True Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius), 2011
Greece
True Orthodox Church of Greece
Abp of Athens and All Greece
schism in the Holy Synod of the Old Calendar of Greece and All Greece, 2016
Greece, Oceania
Church of True Orthodox Christians of Greece (Florinites-Kiusites)
Abp of Athens and All Greece
from True-Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius, 1985
Greece
Church of True Orthodox Christians in Greece and Abroad (Callinicite, Lamian Synod)
Chairman of the Synod, Abp of Athens
dissent in True Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius), 1995
Greece, USA
Holy Synod of the Old Calendar of Greece and All Greece (True Orthodox Church of Greece)
Abp of Athens and All Greece
dissent in GOC, 1985
Greece, W. Europe. Romania
Autonomous Orthodox Metropolis of Aquileia, Western Europe and Canada (Holy Synod of Milan)
Primate of the Metropolis
schism in the Catholic Orthodox Church of Portugal, 1990
Italy, France, USA, Canada
Greek Missionary Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Metropolitan of America
1970
Greece, USA
Traditional Orthodox Church of Greece and diaspora
Chairman of the Synod
1982
Greece, USA, Canada, Brazil
Holy Orthodox Church of North America
Metropolitan of Boston
schism in True-Orthodox Church of Greece (Auxentius), 1996
USA Canada
Synod of Metropolitan Christopher Mesogeyskyi
Metropolitan
spllit from Church of True Orthodox Christians in Greece and Abroad (Callinicite, Lamian Synod), 2013
Greece
Old-Calendar Romanian Orthodox Church
Metropolitan
schism in ROM, 1924; est. 1955
Romania
Romanian True Orthodox Church
Metropolitan
dissent in Old Rite Romanian Orthodox Church, 1992
Romania
True Orthodox Church of Romania
Bishop
schism in ROM, 1924; c. 1930
Romania
Old-Calendar Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Metrop. of Triaditsky
schism, 1968; est. 1993
Bulgaria
True Orthodox Church of Cyprus
Abp of New Justiniana and All Cyprus
prev. under True Orthodox Church of Greece (Matthewite-Nicolaitan); est. 1948
Cyprus
Serbian True Orthodox Church
Bishop
est. 1996
Serbia
Catholic Orthodox Church of Portugal
Metrop. of Lisbon, Metrop. of All Portugal, Spain and Brazil
1978
Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Africa

Notes

* Status not recognised by all churches

BOC = Bulgarian Orthodox Church
ECP = Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
GEO = Georgian Orthodox Church
GOC = Greek Orthodox Church
GPJ = Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
ROC = Russian Orthodox Church
ROM = Romanian Orthodox Church
SOC = Serbian Orthodox Church

Sources

2022 Directory. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 2022.

Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Inc. 2023.

Hierarchy of Churches, 2023.

Giovanni Cimbalo. Stato, chiese, e pluralismo confessionale. Fascicolo n. 22 del 2022.

Lucian N. Leustean, ed. Eastern Christianity and Politics of the Twenty-First Century. London; New York: Routledge, 2014.

Orthodox Times
, 2023.

Orthodox World
, 2006-2023.
 







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