Canoanele si Dreptul canonic · The 32nd Canon of Quinisext Synod as an authentic interpretation of mike – 5 May 0 · Drept penal bisericesc. , –, –; Floca, Drept canonic ortodox, vol. II, p. .. Milaş, N., , Dreptul bisericesc oriental, Bucureşti, Tipografia „Gutenberg”. Milaş, N., 24 N. Milaş: Dreptul bisericesc oriental, p. 25 I.N. Floca: Drept canonic orthodox. Legislaţie şi administraţie bisericească. Vol. II. Bucureşti , p.

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Although there were — and still are — numerous dissension regarding the institution of autocephaly and the ecclesiastical jurisdictions, all canonists accept that the interpretation of the canons that concern the principle of autocephaly and the other principles in tight connection it can be realized only in the light of the historical data, data which must also be related to the orthodox canonical doctrine [2].

Iulian Mihai L. CONSTANTINESCU: The principle of ecclesiastical autocephaly

But, from all these does not result that only the ecumenical synod is able to confer a complete autocephaly. The proclamation of autocephaly by the mother-Church means, in fact, the execution of this act in the drspt of the Ecumenical Church, by exercising the authority that the whole Church possesses solidarily [28].

Besides the list of Saint Epiphanius and its subsequent versions, the biserlcesc of autocephaly is mentioned by numerous writers in documents or official acts.

This fact is highlighted biseriicesc the great canonist of the 13th century, Joannes Zonaras who, interpreting the 17th can. To obtain the autocephaly, the autocephalous Churches can interfere, having in the same time the right not to recognize some autocephalies, more than that they can interfere to withdraw the autocephaly, if there are not fulfilled all the conditions.

Another great theologian of our Church, Fr.

Drept canonic

The next step of the ecclesiastical setup meant the apparition, in the 4th century, of the autocephalous metropolitanates 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th cans. It is not taken into account the fact that every autocephalous Orthodox Church has its own specificity given bisericfsc the traditions of the respective nation and by its ethnical character, all these assuring its originality and identity [49].

Even if after the agreement bisdricesc the two local autocephalous orthodox Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchy and the Greek Church, the Greek Diaspora is under the jurisdiction of the Constantinopolitan patriarchal seat, this does not mean that the Patriarchy of Constantinople has a jurisdictional biwericesc or a jurisdictional privilege, because of its honorific primacy in Orthodoxy 28th can.

We will mention below some actual aspects regarding the canonical territories of the autocephalous Churches and the application of this notion to the jurisdictions. In consequence, the term autokejaloz autokejalon – used in biology acquires a new meaning, unknown by the profane speaking, which the social sciences used the term autonomia for, understood as the personal independence, the social independence or the sovereignty under juridical aspect. A restraint autonomy is attributed to the different settlements or associations, irrespective of their rite, Latin or Byzantine.


The dogmatic grounds have their source in the harmony between the organizational regulations of the ecclesiastical units and the truths of faith, mentioning here the two canonical principles with dogmatic and juridical background, the synodal principle and the hierarchical one. Thus, the mother-Church, being co-responsible of maintaining the pan-orthodox unity and canonical order, it has to consult the other local autocephalous sister-Churches to see the opportunity of a positive settlement of the autocephaly demand.

In this study we will evaluate ecclesiological-canonical and historical the canonical doctrine of the Orthodox Church, regarding the autocephaly, the manner of the constitution, on canonical bases, fpoca the local autocephalous Churches, the problem of proclaiming the autocephaly and of the autocephalous Churches fllca over their own ecclesiastical units in Diaspora, emphasizing the contribution of Romanian theologians and canonists in the inter-orthodox dialogue fpoca the canonical problems of great actuality.

As the Romanian canonist Prof. Considering the development of the ecclesiastical organization and its adaptation to the administrative organization of the state, we bisreicesc that the Fathers of the Ecumenical synods affirmed the equality and independence of the greater autocephalous ecclesiastical units, without enjoying jurisdictional rights one towards another.

Lecturer Iulian Mihai L. Iorgu Ivan affirms, as a confirmation of the old custom at which flocq the 6th can. Biesricesc local communities, headed by bishops, administrated themselves independently one from another, although all the bishops governed the whole Church in communion, without enjoying universal jurisdiction, but only a local one, hence limited to the boundaries of their diocese [17].

However, like some exarchates drrept diocese, some metropolitanates kept their autocephaly, too, either as metropolitanates or as archbishoprics [21] ; we could mention here the Metropolitanate of Tomis [22] or the Archbishopric of Cyprus, which has remained autocephalous until nowadays 8th can.

Xno. We mention here that the importance and floxa necessity of spiritual dependency of the orthodox communities in Diaspora of the mother-Churches and bisericeac their original countries was underlined even by the Ecumenical Patriarchy, in the epistles sent in to the Holy Synod of the Greek Church, as well as in the synodal Tomos no. The heads of the autocephalous Churches enjoyed equal power, non-existing the confusion between the jurisdictional rights and the honorific primacy.

Supporting the idea of canonical incompleteness of the post-synodal autocephalies and the necessity of presenting them for examination to a future Ecumenical Synod, it is questioned not only the concept of canonicity but also the canonicity in the inter-orthodox relations, afer the era of ecumenical synods.

The two terms, autocephaly and autonomy, were equally used, as synonyms, because both of them express the rapport tloca independence of the Churches from de similar ecclesiastical organizations in ecumenical orthodoxy [12]although there are differentiations, as we will see below.

Thus, the autocephalous form of organization of the Church is a traditional form in the bosom of ecumenical Orthodoxy, asserting itself as the fundamental canonical-juridical institution. In this context, the Romanian canonist, Fr. Iorgu Ivan affirms, the family constitutes the ground of every nation and the language of every nation is a distinctive sign and a means of externalizing the religiosity, being a divine regulation that every nation to have its own language [31].


The Church must prove the stability in the right faith and it must keep unaltered the canonical and liturgical regulations of the Orthodox Church; 2. Liviu Stan shows, standard autocephalous units [20]. Despite these, the ethnic link is a ground of the right and obligation of every autocephalous Church to organize and guide the religious life of its own Diasporas, in order to keep the ancient orthodox faith, as well as in order benefit in Diaspora from the spiritual content shared by the Church with its sons in the respective national state.

The fact that until the 19th century the word autocephaly was rarely used is due to the use of different expressions that expressed the same content or to the use of the term autonomy and of other terms synonym to the one of autocephaly. Autocephaly, autonomy, ethnic principle, jurisdiction, inter-orthodox relations, Diaspora In the latest decades, in the bosom of ecumenical Orthodoxy were carried numerous discussions on the institution of autocephaly, as form of organization of the orthodox ecclesiastical territorial units [1]as well as the procedure of their constitution and this despite the canonical regulations and the traditional practice of the Church.

Later, this term was misinterpreted by the Greek historians and canonists, exactly to justify their illegitimate pretentions of the Ecumenical Patriarchy on the jurisdiction of the entire Diaspora [33]. This sort of exception, adopted because of political reasons, could be considered, as Prof.

Thus, although the term of autocephaly does not appear in canons, not being used in the first centuries, the autocephaly manifested itself through time in different manners [16]. After the 14th century, as Fr. These regulations were accepted through consensus Ecclesiae dispersae, showing here, briefly, some of the aspects of the necessary conditions for the canonical constitution of the autocephalous Churches: Thus, the apostolic Canons forbid the trespassing of the ecclesiastical boundaries by bishops and clergy, being combated the practice of bishops and priests who left their dioceses and went to officiate services in other ecclesiastical units 14th apost.

Truly, one canon, previous to the era of Ecumenical and local Synods canons, included the two words which the term of autocephaly was born from autoz and kejalhthat is the 34th Apostolic canon.

In consequence, the metropolitans found under the jurisdiction of the other historical Patriarchies are not under his authority.

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