The Info List - Sui Iuris

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* v * t * e

SUI IURIS, commonly also spelled SUI JURIS (/ˈsuːaɪ ˈdʒʊərɪs/ or /ˈsuːi-/ ), is a Latin
phrase that literally means "of one's own right". It is used in both civil law and canon law by the Catholic Church
Catholic Church

The term CHURCH SUI IURIS is used in the Catholic Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (CCEO) to denote the autonomous churches in Catholic communion:

A church sui iuris is "a community of the Christian faithful, which is joined together by a hierarchy according to the norm of law and which is expressly or tacitly recognized as sui iuris by the supreme authority of the Church" (CCEO.27). The term sui iuris is an innovation of the CCEO, and it denotes the relative autonomy of the oriental Catholic Churches . This canonical term, pregnant with many juridical nuances, indicates the God-given mission of the Oriental Catholic Churches to keep up their patrimonial autonomous nature. And the autonomy of these churches is relative in the sense that it is under the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff. —Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath, 1998


* 1 Secular law

* 1.1 Examples

* 2 Catholic ecclesiastical use

* 2.1 Examples of Catholic ecclesiastical use

* 2.2 Categories of sui iuris churches

* 2.2.1 Patriarchal churches * 2.2.2 Major archiepiscopal churches * 2.2.3 Metropolitan churches * 2.2.4 Other sui iuris churches

* 3 References * 4 Sources * 5 External links


In civil law, the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one's affairs (Black\'s Law Dictionary , Oxford English Dictionary ) as opposed to alieni juris, which means someone under the control of another, such as one adjudged incapable of appropriate self-determinations or an infant. It also indicates an entity capable of suing and/or being sued in a legal proceeding in its own name without the need of an ad litem . It also relates to customary, unique rights afforded to an individual unequal and exceptional, per feudal prerogative legal structures (that were additionally in personam and so legally reciprocal at the scale of personhood, effectively accruing constituencies polity by individuation).

The English word “autonomous” is derived from the Ancient Greek αυτονόμος (from autos self, and nomos law), which corresponds to the Latin
"sui iuris".


The Congress of the United States is a good example of a sui juris–based institution. The two chambers of the Congress assemble into session by their own right as defined in the US Constitution (Twentieth Amendment ) on January 3 every year. The US President does not have to invite or call the Congress to assemble for regular sessions, but he has the option to call special sessions. Thus, in the United States, the legislature is independent of the executive , but there are some checks and balances . That is in contrast with many parliamentary democracies , like Canada
and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
, where there is no president, and the Prime Minister
Prime Minister
is the head of government. Likewise, in India
, the federal Parliament can assemble if and only if the President of India
summons it on the advice of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister
. That is because the Indian Constitution is largely based upon the conventions of the British monarchy in which, under a process called Royal Assent
Royal Assent
, it was technically a crime of treason for the English Parliament to assemble without the permission of the King of England
King of England


Church documents such as the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches apply the Latin
term sui iuris to the particular Churches that together compose the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church
Catholic Church
and those in communion with it. By far the largest of the "sui iuris" churches is the Latin Church
Latin Church
or the Latin
Rite. Over that particular church, the Pope
exercises his papal authority, and the authority that in other particular churches belongs to a Patriarch
. He has, therefore, been referred to also as Patriarch
of the West. The other particular Churches are called Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches
, each of which, if large enough, has its own patriarch or other chief hierarch, with authority over all the bishops of that particular Church or rite.

The same term is applied also to missions that lack enough clergy to be set up as apostolic prefectures but are for various reasons given autonomy and so are not part of any diocese, apostolic vicariate or apostolic prefecture. In 2004, there were eleven such missions: three in the Atlantic, Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
, Turks and Caicos , and Saint Helena , Ascension and Tristan da Cunha ; two in the Pacific, Funafuti ( Tuvalu ), and Tokelau ; and six in central Asia, Afghanistan
, Baku ( Azerbaijan
), Kyrgyzstan
, Tajikistan , Turkmenistan
, and Uzbekistan .


Sui iuris
Sui iuris

* "The Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches
are not 'experimental' or 'provisional' communities; these are sui iuris Churches; One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, with the firm canonical base of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches promulgated by Pope
John Paul II." * "The hierarchy of the Byzantine Metropolitan Church Sui iuris
Sui iuris
of Pittsburgh
, in tile United States of America, gathered in assembly as the Council of Hierarchy of said Church, in conformity with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, ..." * "It would likewise be helpful to prepare a Empathetical Directory that would 'take into account the special character of the Eastern Churches, so that the biblical and liturgical emphasis as well as the traditions of each Church Sui Iuris in petrology, hagiography and even iconography are highlighted in conveying the catechesis' (CCEO, can. 621, §2)" John Paul II * "On behalf of the Kyrgyzstan
Catholics I would like to express our gratitude to the Holy Father (i.e., the Pope) for his prayers and for all that he has done for us: ... and for the creation of the new 'missioni sui iuris' in Central Asia
Central Asia
, in a special way — for the trust placed on the 'Minima Societas Jesu', to which he entrusted the mission in Kyrgyzstan
." * "...he rays originating in the one Lord , the sun of justice which illumines every man (cf. Jn 1:9), ... received by each individual Church sui iuris, has value and infinite dynamism and constitutes a part of the universal heritage of the Church." "Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches", issued January 6, 1996 by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches .


Part of a series on

Particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church

cross and Byzantine Patriarchal cross

Particular churches are grouped by rite.


* Latin


* Coptic * Ethiopian * Eritrean


* Armenian


* Albanian * Belarusian * Bulgarian * Croatian and Serbian * Greek * Hungarian * Italo-Albanian * Macedonian * Melkite * Romanian * Russian * Ruthenian * Slovak * Ukrainian


* Chaldean * Syro-Malabar


* Maronite * Syriac * Syro-Malankara

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According to CCEO the Oriental Catholic churches sui iuris are of four categories:

(However, it should be noted, the term "sui iuris" is a self-evident Latinism, given it is a Latin
term. The proper Greek terms would be "autocephalous" for the patriarchal and major archepiscopal churches and "autonomous" for the other churches.)

Patriarchal Churches

A patriarchal church is a full-grown form of an Eastern Catholic church. It is 'a community of the Christian faithful joined together by' a Patriarchal hierarchy. The Patriarch
together with the synod of bishops has the legislative, judicial and administrative powers within jurisdictional territory of the patriarchal church, without prejudice to those powers reserved, in the common law to the Roman pontiff (CCEO 55-150). Among the catholic oriental churches the following churches are of patriarchal status:

* Coptic Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1741): Cairo
, (163,849), Egypt * Maronite Church (union re-affirmed 1182): Bkerke , (3,105,278), Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Argentina, Brazil, United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico * Syriac Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1781): Beirut
,(131,692), Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United States and Canada, Venezuela * Armenian Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1742): Beirut
, (375,182), Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Ukraine, France, Greece, Latin
America, Argentina, Romania, United States, Canada, Eastern Europe * Chaldean Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1692): Baghdad
, (418,194), Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, United States * Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(definitively 1726): Damascus
, (1,346,635), Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Jerusalem, Brazil, United States, Canada, Mexico, Iraq, Egypt and Sudan, Kuwait, Australia, Venezuela, Argentina

Major Archiepiscopal Churches

Major archiepiscopal churches are the oriental churches, governed by the major archbishops being assisted by the respective synod of bishops. These churches also have almost the same rights and obligations of Patriarchal Churches. A major archbishop is the metropolitan of a see determined or recognized by the Supreme authority of the Church, who presides over an entire Eastern Church sui iuris that is not distinguished with the patriarchal title. What is stated in common law concerning patriarchal Churches or patriarchs is understood to be applicable to major archiepiscopal churches or major archbishops, unless the common law expressly provides otherwise or it is evident from the nature of the matter" (CCEO.151, 152). Following are the Major Archiepiscopal Churches:

* Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1930): Trivandrum
, (412,640), India, United States of America * Syro-Malabar Church (1663): Ernakulam , (3,902,089), India, Middle East, Europe and America * Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic (1697): Blaj , (776,529), Romania, United States of America * Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1595): Kiev
, (4,223,425), Ukraine, Poland, United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Scandinavia, France, Brazil, Argentina

Metropolitan Churches

The sui iuris church, which is governed by a metropolitan, is called a metropolitan church sui iuris. " A Metropolitan Church sui iuris is presided over by the Metropolitan of a determined see who has been appointed by the Roman Pontiff and is assisted by a council of hierarchs according to the norm of law" (CCEO. 155§1). The Catholic metropolitan churches are the following:

* Ethiopian Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1846): Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
, (208,093), Ethiopia, Eritrea * Ruthenian Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1646) - a sui juris metropolia , an eparchy , and an apostolic exarchate : Uzhhorod
, Pittsburgh
, (594,465), United States, Ukraine, Czech Republic * Slovak Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1646): Prešov , (243,335), Slovakia, Canada * Eritrean Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(2015): Asmara
, Eritrea * Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(2015) - Hajdúdorog , (290,000), Hungary

Other sui Iuris Churches

Other than the above-mentioned three forms of sui iuris churches there are some other sui iuris ecclesiastical communities. It is "a Church sui iuris which is neither patriarchal nor major archiepiscopal nor Metropolitan, and is entrusted to a hierarch who presides over it in accordance with the norm of common law and the particular law established by the Roman Pontiff" (CCEO. 174). The following churches are of this juridical status:

* Albanian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1628) - apostolic administration: (3,510), Albania * Belarusian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1596) - no established hierarchy at present: (10,000), Belarus * Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1861) - apostolic exarchate: Sofia
,(10,107), Bulgaria * Byzantine Catholic Church
Catholic Church
of Croatia and Serbia (1611) - an eparchy and an apostolic exarchate: Eparchy
of Križevci for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Byzantine Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Serbia ; (21,480) + (22,653) * Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1829) - two apostolic exarchates: Athens
, (2,325), Greece, Turkey * Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(Never separated) - two eparchies and a territorial abbacy: (63,240), Italy * Macedonian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1918) - an apostolic exarchate: Skopje
, (11,491), Republic of Macedonia * Russian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(1905) - two apostolic exarchates, at present with no published hierarchs: Russia, China; currently about 20 parishes and communities scattered around the world, including five in Russia itself, answering to bishops of other jurisdictions


* ^ "sui juris". Dictionary.com . 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012. * ^ "Collins English Dictionary". HarperCollins Publishers. 2003. Retrieved 5 November 2012. sui juris adj (Law) (usually postpositive) Law of full age and not under disability; legally competent to manage one's own affairs; independent * ^ "Malankara Catholic Church
Catholic Church
sui iuris: Juridical Status and Power of Governance". Scribd. * ^ Original italian: "Una Chiesa Orientale cattolica è una parte della Chiesa Universale che vive la fede in modo corrispondente ad una delle cinque grandi tradizioni orientali- Alessandrina, Antiochena, Costantinopolitina, Caldea, Armena- e che contiene o è almeno capace di contenere, come sue componenti minori, più comunità diocesane gerarchicamente riunite sotto la guida di un capo comune legittimamente eletto e in comunione con Roma, il quale con il proprio Sinodo costituisce la superiore istanza per tutti gli affari di carattere amministrativo, legislativo e giudiziario delle stesse Communità, nell'ambito del diritto comune a tutte le Chiese, determinato nei Canoni sanciti dai Concili Ecumenici o del Romano Pontefice, sempre preservando il diritto di quest'ultimo di intervenire nei singoli casi". pp. 103–104. * ^ Österreichisches Archiv für Kirchenrecht, Volume 43, pg.156 * ^ For a better understanding of a church sui iuris see, Žužek, Understanding The Eastern Code, pp. 103–104. * ^ Vere & Trueman, Surprised by Canon Law, Vol. 2, pg. 121. * ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Eastern Churches". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company. * ^ "Erezione della Chiesa Metropolitana sui iuris eritrea e nomina del primo Metropolita". Holy See Press Office . January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.


* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. * Vere, Pete, & Michael Trueman, Surprised by Canon Law, Volume 2: More Questions Catholics Ask About Canon Law (Cincinnati, Ohio: Servant Books/St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2007) ISBN 978-0-86716-749-8 . * Nedungatt, George , ed. (2002). A Guide to the Eastern Code: A Commentary on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Rome: Oriental Institute Press.


* GCatholic.org * Papal