Autocephaly ( 3 of 20)

The answers in this section on autocephaly were provided by a seminary faculty member in a 1970 OCA publication.

Question

What specifically are the conditions for a church to be autocephalous?


Answer

When a church in a given geographical, national or linguistic territory, with conditions of life uniquely proper to itself, has enough bishops to perpetuate its own hierarchy ...

When it has a sufficient number of priests and people to care for its parishes and to carry on its mission ...

When it has sufficient educational and charitable institutions, with money enough to administer itself and to support its projects ...

When it has publications and books suited to its own particular conditions, purposes and needs as a church ...

When, in a word, it is a mature churchly body with full capabilities of maintaining and developing its life without any outside guidance and support—except of course the mutual guidance and support that all sister churches give to each other ...

When finally, there is absolutely no justifiable reason before God and the dogmas and canons of the Holy Church, why it should exist merely as a part of some other church ...

Then this church not only may be an autocephalous church in the family of Orthodoxy, but it must be such a church, recognized and blessed by all others!