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Orthodox Church

11 bytes removed, 13:01, December 30, 2016
Current Church structure: 14 autocephalous churches
[[Image:Europe canonical territories.png|right|thumb|100px|More detailed European section of the above. Click image to magnify.]]
:''More information: [[List of autocephalous and autonomous Churches]]''
The Eastern Orthodox Churches of today consist of a family of fourteen or fifteen [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] churches and five [[autonomy|autonomous]] churches, sometimes referred to as [[jurisdiction|jurisdictions]]. The number of autocephalous churches has varied in history. Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their [[primate|primates]] confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church. All the Orthodox churches remain in [[full communion]] with one another, sharing the same [[faith]] and [[praxis]]. There have been occasional breaks in communion due to various problems throughout history, but they generally remain brief and not developing into full [[schism]]. It is hoped that the [[Great Schism]], with the [[Church of Rome]], will someday be mended too.
The [[Church of Constantinople|Patriarchate of Constantinople]] is also the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has the status of "first among equals" among the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Church is not a centralized organization headed by a pontiff, but an organic community guided by the Holy Spirit in the world. The unity of the Church is visible in, and held together with, common faith and communion in the sacraments. No one but Christ himself is the real head of the Orthodox Church.
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