The Orthodox Pages























Question 61

If you get a chance can you please explain the difference and creation of the Cypriot Orthodox Archdiocese Church. And the rules if any that they follow which differ from the Greek Orthodox Church.  This is a bain of contention here to no end, so your guidance would be most welcome.   



Answer to Question 61


I wished you were more specific in what the argument is concerning the two Churches. Cyprus is one of the Oldest Orthodox churches founded by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas is in fact the Patron saint of Cyprus. Cyprus has always been Autocephalous meaning that it was always self governing and this was affirmed by the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus in 431.


 The Church of Greece was also founded by the Apostle Paul, but as the capital was Constantinople, all the Greek lands were under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was only in 1850 that Greece was accepted as Autocephalous and independent of Constantinople.


Each Autocephalous church is run by a Synod of Bishops who decide on matters of administration and the general running of the church, but they cannot decide on matters of the faith. Matters of faith are decided by Ecumenical Councils of which the last was in 787AD. When matters of faith arise, it is usual for the Patriarch of Constantinople to send a circular to all the Orthodox Churches advising what he and his synod of Bishops have decided, but the other Orthodox Churches are not obliged to agree with their decision. 


In matters of faith there is absolutely no difference between all the Orthodox Churches. The only differences can be found in administration and in local customs which should not be confused with matters of faith.