Independent Orthodoxy is a branch of the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM) comprised of individuals and organizations that self-identify as Orthodox but without any formal relationship with or recognition by the Orthodox churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. More commonly referred to as Autocephalous Orthodoxy, owing to the self-governing nature of its clergy, "Independent Orthodoxy" derives from the fact that these individuals and communities affirm both their belonging to the Orthodox tradition as well as their independence from Constantinople. In many cases, Autocephalous Orthodox clergy possess lines of apostolic succession and share valid sacraments. Most adherents choose Autocephalous Orthodoxy as an alternative way to live and express their Orthodox faith outside the structures and strictures of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, adopting beliefs and practices that differ from those of the Orthodoxy.
The critique is often made that Independent Orthodoxy, like Independent Catholicism and Independent Anglicanism, negatively defines itself, as "independent" from that which it is not (viz., Eastern Orthodoxy). As a result, Autocephalous Orthodox Catholics choose a variety of ways of expressing their identity.
Largely due to the movement's "working clergy" and lack of resources, Independent Orthodoxy is constantly in flux, as clergy flow in and out of the movement. Unlike the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which possess clearly delineated hierarchies, Autocephalous Orthodoxy possesses little unitive structure, and most clergy are quite independent from one another and from other Autocephalous Orthodox communities and jurisdictions. Many lay members of Autocephalous Orthodoxy are likely unaware of the larger context of Autocephalous Orthodoxy and of the Independent Sacramental Movement, thus possessing little knowledge of Independent Catholicism, Independent Anglicanism/Episcopalianism, Celtic Christianity, Esoteric expressions of Christianity, and other Christian clergy and communities that similarly possess apostolic succession.
Independent Orthodoxy is comprised of:
- Autocephalous Orthodox Clergy
- Autocephalous Orthodox Eucharistic Communities
- Other Autocephalous Orthodox Ministries
- Autocephalous Orthodox Jurisdictions
- Autocephalous Orthodox Religious Communities
- Autocephalous Orthodox Seminaries & Formation Programs
Autocephalous Orthodox Resources:
- [Add resources here]