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Ecclesiastical court

The ecclesiastical court, also called spiritual court, in the Orthodox Church is any of a number of courts within the organization of the Church that adjudicate spiritual or religious matters among the members of the Church.

These courts usually are established under the oversight of a diocesan bishop to judge cases involving allegations of unorthodox belief, breaches of canonical or moral discipline, marital problems, disputes involving clergy and parish officers, disputes over parish institutions, and any other matter involving the good order of the Church.

Within autocephalous and autonomous churches accusations against bishops are referred directly to the Holy Synod of the Church, which is the court of first instance empowered to pass judgment in such cases. The Holy Synod also acts as the Church's Supreme Court of Appeals.


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