"Canonical" Orthodox jurisdictions

“Canonical” is a word commonly used to describe some jurisdictions purporting to be part of the Orthodox Church. It’s kind of ironic because it’s totally uncanonical to have overlapping jurisdictions, or even ethnic jurisdictions of any kind. A bishops’ main job is to unite all the faithful of his locality, no matter their ethnicity, language, or political persuasion.

However, at the present time the word canonical is usually used to describe dioceses, archdioceses, metropolises, or metropolitanates affiliated with one of the Churches listed here. What that means is that these Churches mostly recognize each other’s adherents, clergy, bishops, and Mysteries (“sacraments”), anywhere in the world, as part of The Orthodox Church.

The ultimate goal, as I said, is one Bishop in each place, and one Synod in each country or region. The anticipated “Great and Holy Council” of the Orthodox Church, in the works for at least 80 years, is set to take up the matter when it meets – it has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, maybe we should look at the status quo as Orthodox “economy”…an alternative to considering most Orthodox in the Western world as being in schism from their lawful local Bishop…whoever he may be.


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