The ancient Cypriot Orthodox Church is one of the sixteen independent ('autocephalous') Eastern Orthodox churches, which are in communion and in doctrinal agreement with one another but not all subject to one patriarch. The bishop of the capital, Salamis (Constantia), was constituted metropolitan by Emperor Zeno, with the title of archbishop.

This independent position by ancient custom was recognized, against the claims of the Patriarch of Antioch, at the Council of Ephesus (431 CE), and by an edict of the Byzantine emperor Zeno. The church had sent a cogent argument on its own behalf to the Emperor, the alleged body of its reputed founder Barnabas, just then having been most opportunely discovered at Salamis. Its independence was confirmed by the Trullan Synod in Constantinople, 692. Attempts were made subsequently by the patriarchs of Antioch to claim authority over the Cypriot Church, the last as recently as 1600, but in vain.