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A stauropegion, also spelled stavropegion (from Greek: σταυροπήγιον from σταυρός stauros "cross" and πήγνυμι pegnumi "to affirm"), is a monastery or a parish which depends directly on the primate or on the Holy Synod of a particular Church, and which is not under the jurisdiction of the local bishop. The name comes from the Byzantine tradition of summoning the Patriarch to place a cross at the foundation of stauropegic monasteries or parochial churches.[1]

Such exempt jurisdictions, both monastic and parochial, are common in Eastern Christianity, mainly in Eastern Orthodox Churches, but also in some Eastern Catholic Churches. Their institutional counterparts in the Latin Church ecclesiastical order of the Catholic Church are various exempt jurisdictions, such as monasteries that are directly subjected to the Holy See of Rome.

Stauropegic monasteries

A stauropegic monastery, also rendered "stavropegic", "stauropegial" or "stavropegial", is an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic Christian monastery, subordinated directly to a primate or Synod, rather than to a local Bishop.

The practice of exempting some monasteries from jurisdictions of local bishops, placing them under a direct jurisdiction of the patriarch, was present at least since the reign of Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582-602). Such exemptions became more common after the Council of Constantinople (861). In time, those practices included not only monasteries, but also various parochial churches, to the extent that authorities had to regulate the issue by imposing stricter criteria for the creation of such exemptions.[2][3]

Stauropegic monasteries are distinguished from the greatest monasteries, called lavras, and from the patriarchal metochions, where the patriarch serves as a parish priest. The metochions of the Patriarch of Moscow are the Vysokopetrovsky Monastery and Nikolo-Perervinsky Monastery.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has three stauropegic monasteries:[4]

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Sofia Seminary are also directly subordinate to the Bulgarian Patriarch and Synod.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Patriarchal Monastery of Peć, stauropegic monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Several major Serbian Orthodox monasteries had special status in Middle Ages. Today, the Serbian Orthodox Church has two stauropegic monasteries:[5]

Russian Orthodox Church

The first stauropegic monastery in the Russian Orthodox Church was Simonov Monastery (1383). It was subordinated directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch, because it was founded by Greeks and was home to the patriarch during his visits to Moscow.

In 1561 Ivan the Terrible decreed that the following seven monasteries should precede all the rest:

After the establishment of the Patriarchate in Moscow, there were no stauropegic monasteries subordinated directly to the Patriarch for some time. But Nikon founded the New Jerusalem Monastery, Valday Iversky Monastery, and Kiy Island Monastery, which he governed himself, instead of placing each under an hegumen (abbot).

The Greek custom, first introduced by Nikon, was continued by other Patriarchs and by the Holy Governing Synod. Stauropegic houses were not always the most important monasteries, the holiest, the richest, or the largest. They might have been dear to the ruling Patriarch for personal reasons. In the 19th century, apart from four lavras, seven monasteries were considered stauropegial:

As of 2000, the following monasteries were recognized as stauropegial by the Russian Orthodox Church:

Monasteries of Moscow:

Monasteries of Central Russia:

Monasteries of North-Western Russia:

Monasteries outside Russia:

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

A stauropegial monastery (monasterium stauropegiaceum) under patriarchal jurisdiction (monasterium iuris patriarchalis) is a monastery that is subject directly to the patriarch (can. 434 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches).[6]

Monasteries in Ukraine:

Stauropegic parishes

Stauropegic parishes in Eastern Orthodoxy are exempt parishes that are not under jurisdiction of a local bishop, but are directly subjected to a higher hierarch, usually a patriarch. Such parishes are created for various reasons, symbolic or practical.

See also


  1. ^ Burdzy 2019, p. 263-267.
  2. ^ Thomas 1987, p. 214-243.
  3. ^ Troianos 2012, p. 173.
  4. ^ "Ставропигиални манастири в България - България манастири". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  5. ^ "Манастири - АРХИЕПИСКОПИЈА". 2020-01-03. Archived from the original on 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  6. ^ "Univ Monastery Becomes Subject to Greek Catholic Patriarch". RISU.ORG.UA. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 2021-01-12 – via Byzantine Catholic Church in America.


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