There are 6 million people in the U.S. who identify with the Orthodox faith, and 200-215 million worldwide (70 million of whom are in Russia alone), all of whom are gathered into one of the 13 autocephalous or “self-governing” Orthodox churches throughout the world. The head of each autocephalous church is called a Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople is given greater honor but has no authority to interfere with the affairs of the other 12 Orthodox communions. “All bishops share equally in the apostolic succession, all have the same sacramental powers, all are divinely appointed teachers of the faith” (Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church [hereafter TOC], new edition [New York: Penguin Books, 1997], 27).
Although these many autocephalous churches are independent, they maintain (so they assert) complete agreement on matters of doctrine and are in sacramental communion with each other.
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