On April 14, 1970, Metropolitan Ireney of New York
received a telegram from Patriarch Alexis of Moscow (who died a few days later)
stating that the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America, with about
850,000 members and 175 years of history, had been granted autocephaly
(independence) under the title of "Orth≠odox Church in America," with
exclusive ecclesiastical jurisdiction in North America, including Hawaii.
The universal Orthodox Church, today with an
estimated 126 mil≠lion faithful, consists of fifteen autocephalous churches:
the patriar≠chates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow,
Georgia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria; the archbishoprics of Cy≠prus, Greece
and Albania; and the metropolitanates of Poland, Czech≠oslovakia, and now of
In all, there are about two million Orthodox
faithful in North America (although larger,
but less realistic figures are sometimes cir≠culated).
The newly created Orthodox Church in America is dedicated ex≠clusively to the growth
and development of Orthodoxy in America.
Having received an official release from its Mother
Church, it will strive to build
Orthodox unity in America
with full respect for, but in full independence from ethnic or political
interests of the various immigrant groups.
The Orthodox faith first came to the North
American continent in 1794 via a church mission from Russia
to the Alaskan territory which was then governed by the Russo-American Trade
The Aleutian Islands and Alaska
had been discovered by Bering and Chirikov, captains of the Russian Imperial
Navy, in 1741. They were followed by Russian merchants interested in the skins
of the young ursine seals. In 1784 Gregory Shelehov, a merchant trader who laid
the foundations of the famous Russo-American Company, landed on Kodiak Island. Besides pursuing his fur-seal business, he
became deeply devoted to the task of bringing Christianity to the natives of
the newly acquired lands. He built a church on Kodiak, founded a school, and
personally baptized many Aleuts. Later, together with his partner, Ivan
Golikov, he petitioned the Empress Catherine II and the Holy Synod to send
missionaries. The petition was granted and a mission of eight monks, under the
leadership of Archimandrite Joasaph Bolotov, reached Kodiak
Island on September 24, 1794.
The mission was composed of volunteers from the
monks of two well-known monasteries situated in the Northwest of Russia, where
geographic conditions somewhat resembled those in Alaska.
During the first two years the missionaries
baptized 12,000 natives and built several chapels. But this initial success of
the mission was marked by the martyrdom of one of its priests: Father Juvenaly
was killed by the natives on the Alaska
mainland in 1795. He had urged the people of a village there to send their
children to the mission school on Kodiak Island.
They agreed, and Father Juvenaly led a group of children to the seashore. On
the way he was overtaken and killed by villagers who had changed their mind.
The missionary work was carried on by the
remaining monks: Hieromonk Athanasy, Hierodeacon Nektary, and the monk Herman.
The last on the list, Saint Herman, the blessed Elder of Alaska (1756-1837), is
an image of holiness and spirituality shining through 175 years of Orthodox
growth and development in this part of the world.
Like St. Seraphim of Sarov, to whom he is very
closely akin, St. Herman was born in a modest merchant family of a little town
From his youth he aspired to the service of God. At the age of sixteen he
entered one of the daughter houses of the famous Holy Trinity monastery founded
by St. Sergius of Radonezh. The commun≠ity was situated near the gulf of
Finland. Seeking a quieter and even more secluded place of monastic life, he
entered the Valaam mon≠astery and then, some years later, joined the Alaskan
mission of Arch≠imandrite Joasaph. An extremely simple man, who nevertheless
was well read and eloquent, he emanated love and understanding. For the
natives, Father Herman was the very symbol of Christianity.
We owe much to a certain administrator of the
Russian colonies in North America, Simeon
Yanovsky, a well-educated man and a rank≠ing naval officer, for our information
about Father Herman. Pleading for the natives who were exploited mercilessly by
the Trade Com≠pany, Father Herman wrote to Yanovsky: "I, the lowest servant
of these poor people, with tears in my eyes ask this favor: be our father and
protector. I have no fine speeches to make, but from the bottom of my heart I
pray you to wipe the tears from the eyes of the de≠fenseless orphans, relieve
the suffering of the oppressed people, and show them what it means to be
Not all administrators and merchants in the Russian
colonies here were as noble and pious as Yanovsky and Shelehov. Yanovsky's suc≠cessor,
Baranov, and his lieutenants did not care for the missionary work. In fact,
they were much annoyed by the interference of the missionaries and especially
of Father Herman in their cruel use of the natives' labor. But Father Herman
taught the natives at the mission≠ary school, organized an orphanage, nursed
the sick, fed the hungry and was the administrator of the mission for a while.
In his humility he always refused to be ordained a priest. Having outlived all
other members of the first missionary team, he finished his life in 1837 in semiseclusion on a
small island off Kodiak, "Elovy," or Spruce Island,
which he called, "New Valaam."
In its first important historical act the newly
created Orthodox Church in America
canonized its first saint and heavenly patron, the Blessed Elder Herman, in
solemn services presided over by Metro≠politan Irenei in Kodiak, on August 8-9,
1970. The Archbishop of Karelia and all Finland, Paulóhimself a former monk
at Valaamó was the guest of honor and co-celebrant.
New impetus was given to the missionary work by
the arrival of a young priest, John Veniaminov, to Unalaska
Island in 1824. He re≠mained there for ten years, living among the
Aleuts and studying their language and customs. He wrote the first grammar of
the Aleut language and translated the Divine Liturgy, a catechism, and the
Gospel according to St. Matthew into that language. His linguistic work has
been recognized by Russian and foreign scholars. He also built
a church with his own hands and baptized practically the whole population of
the island. After ten years of tedious missionary work at Unalaska and nearby
islands, Father Veniaminov went to Sitka,
where he continued his missionary activities among the local Indians, the Kaloshi.
In 1839, he left for St. Petersburg
to arrange for the pub≠lication of his works in the Aleut language.
Father Veniaminov's missionary work was well
appreciated in Rus≠sia, and
as a result he was appointed and consecrated Bishop of the missionary diocese
of Kamchatka, Alaska,
and the Kurile Islands. His monastic name was
Innocent, after the eighteenth-century apostle of Siberia.
Bishop Innocent returned to Sitka
and continued his mis≠sionary activities both on the Asiatic and North American
continents. He founded a seminary in Sitka,
as well as various schools and or≠phanages. In 1848 St. Michael's
Cathedral was erected there; it is being rebuilt now after having been devastated
in a fire several years ago. After 1852 Bishop Innocent divided his time
and the Asiatic mainland because of the expansion of missionary work among
natives of the Russian Far East. In 1868 Bishop Innocent was elevated to the
highest office in the Russian Orthodox Church, that of Metropolitan of Moscow.
Much of his time and energy in this office he devoted to the expansion of the
work of the Russian Imperial Mis≠sionary Society, of which he became the
president. He died in 1879.
In 1867, the Russian government sold Alaska to the United States. Provisions were made
that the United States
would recognize the property and the rights of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On the suggestion of Metropolitan Innocent, a
separate diocese was created in 1870 by the Holy Synod in the American part of
the former Kamchatka diocese. Bishop John was
appointed Bishop of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
Thus ends the early history of the Orthodox Church
Actually, the first Russian missionary endeavors among the natives of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands represent only the most
eastern penetration of the vast missionary work of the Russian
Church among various tribes in the
underdeveloped regions of Siberia and the Far East.
However, an organized and separate Orthodox ecclesiastical structure was
brought to the threshold of the New World as soon as Alaska was politically separated from the
The first three Orthodox parishes in the United
States proper (the Greek parish in New Orleans and the Russian parishes in San
Fran≠cisco and New York) came into being almost simultaneously and
independently of each other in the late 1860s. Actually, these parishes were
"international." The church committee of the Greek parish in New Orleans included
Slavs and Syrians. The Russian parishes in San Francisco
and New York,
supported by the Russian consulates, included many Serbians and Greeks.
These churches tended to the spiritual needs of
various Orthodox nationals who happened to have come to the New
World. There were members of the diplomatic corps and runaway
sailors, solid Mediter≠ranean merchants and penniless adventurers. For them the
church was not just a house of prayer but also a place where they could meet
their own people, have a chat about the old country, or inquire about a job.
The Orthodox churches, especially the one in New York, attracted much
attention on the part of the American press and society. Orthodoxy was most
often seen as a curiosity, something oriental and ex≠otic. In spite of the
efforts of the rector of the New York
parish, Father Nicholas Biering, the religious life of the parish was rather
limited. From 1870 to 1880 there were only fifty-five baptisms of children,
twelve weddings, fourteen funerals, and four conversions, two of these being
the wife and daughter of Father Riering. The
Orthodox Church was not yet ready to meet the challenge of the West, espe≠cially
in the setting of the New World.
In 1872 Bishop John unofficially moved the
episcopal see from Sitka, Alaska,
to San Francisco,
making his cathedral the parish church which had existed there since 1868.
During the time of his suc≠cessor, Bishop Nestor (1879-1882), the Russian Church
authorities officially sanctioned the transfer of the episcopal see to San Francisco and thus recognized the potentialities of
Orthodoxy in the United
The real growth of the diocese in the United States
began with a mass return of Uniates to Orthodoxy and the increase of Greek, Syrian
and Slavic immigration.
Since the end of the nineteenth century there also
had been an increasing flow of immigrants from Imperial Russia. These were of
three kinds: peasants from the poorer western regions of Russia who had the
dream of making money in America and then returning to buy a farm in their
native country, conscripts who illegally left Russia to avoid military service,
and people who were involved, directly or indirectly, in the revolutionary
movement in Russia and escaped to avoid the consequences. The last category of
immigrants increased after the political disturbances of 1905 in Russia.
The Greek immigration to this country also
increased considerably in the eighties and nineties of the last century.
From 1898 to 1907 the head of the American diocese
was Arch≠bishop Tikhon, who became later Patriarch of Moscow, Primate of all
the Russian Orthodox Church. During his administration in 1900, the Diocese of
the Aleutian Islands and Alaska was renamed
the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America.
The decree of the Holy Synod making this change thus acknowledged the
continent-wide ex≠pansion of Orthodoxy.
Archbishop Tikhon stressed the necessity of
finding means for fi≠nancial independence of the diocese as a step towards
strengthening and spreading the work of the Church on this continent. That was
a hint of impending autonomy for the local church.
Also in Archbishop Tikhon's time the diocesan see
was transferred from San Francisco to New York (1903), where a
new cathedral church was built at 15
East 97th Street. The first theological seminary
to train Orthodox priests for America
was opened at Minneapolis
in 1905. It was transferred to Tenafly, N. J., in 1912 and closed for lack of
funds in 1923.
Thus the Church of Russia, which first introduced
Orthodoxy to North America and created the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and
North America, exercised symbolical, if not always practical, juris≠diction
there among Orthodox immigrants of various national and ethnic backgrounds.
Orthodox bishops in North America were appointed or confirmed only by the Holy
Synod in St. Petersburg.
Moreover, the diocesan administration received annual financial support from
the Russian government.
After World War I and the Russian Revolution, the
life of the Orth≠odox Church in America
changed radically. Various non-Russian national churches sent their bishops
there and established their own jurisdictions in North
America in complete independence of each other. Greek, Syrian,
Serbian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Al≠banian and other national churches
made their appearance. The ma≠jority of the Russian and Carpatho-Russian
parishes, however, re≠mained loyal to their diocesan administration which had
been com≠pletely cut off from the Mother
Church as the result of political
events in Russia.
In 1921 Archbishop Meletios, who had just consolidated
various Greek factions in America
into one diocese, was elected to the dignity of Ecumenical Patriarch as
Meletios IV. In his new position Patriarch Meletios placed all Greek churches
abroad under the control of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. According to the
definition of the Patriarch, all Orthodox churches in the United States were to be united into an
"Orthodox Archdiocese in America."
Much can be said against the ecclesiastical
policies of Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis, but he had an inspiring and broad
vision of Or≠thodoxy. In his enthronement address in Constantinople, he said in
reference to America:
I saw the largest and best part of the Orthodox
Church in the Dia≠spora, and I understood how exalted the name of Orthodoxy
could be, especially in the great country of the United States, if more than two
million Orthodox people there were united into one church organiza≠tion, an
American Orthodox Church.
These words must ring in all Orthodox ears.
Unfortunately, most of the Church leaders, Greek and Russian alike, had not
grown be≠yond their narrow provincial prejudices; and the patriarchal project
of one church in America
did not succeed.
As a result of the Bolshevik Revolution the
Russian-American dio≠cese was plunged into years of troubles, which explains
the de facto recognition of emerging
parallel jurisdictions. The Diocese was torn apart by internal strife,
financial difficulties and claims by the schis≠matic group established in
Soviet Russia and known as the "Living
Church" or "Renovated Church,"
which had some followers in Amer≠ica.
This group succeeded in taking over the diocesan cathedral of St. Nicholas in New York and threatened
other church properties.
The grave situation was alleviated by the return
in 1921 to America of one of
the highest hierarchs of the Russian
Platon (Rozhdestvensky). Born in 1866, former rector of the Kiev
graduate school of theology, consecrated bishop in 1902, former ex≠arch of Georgia, then Metropolitan of Kherson and Odessa, a member of the
Duma, he had ruled the American diocese from 1907 to 1914, and consequently was
well known to his people. He succeeded in re≠storing peace and order in the
diocese, and prominent churchmen urgently petitioned Patriarch Tikhon to
reappoint him formally as head of the American Church.
Communications with the Patriarch at that time were extremely difficult. They
could be carried through indirect, illegal channels only. Communication thus
received from the Patriarch indicated his willingness to relieve Metropolitan
Platon of his see of Kherson and Odessa and to confirm him as the ruling bishop of America.
Meanwhile, Patriarch Tikhon made the appointment
of Metro≠politan Platon orally through a Mr. Colton, a representative of the
Y.M.C.A., who was in Moscow.
After his release from prison, Patri≠arch Tikhon confirmed this oral
appointment by the decree dated September 29, 1923. The authenticity of this
decree has been questioned.
The normalization and further development of life
in the Russian-American Diocese was based on decisions taken at the
Ail-American Sobor in Detroit in 1924 where the
American Diocese of the Russian Church was reorganized as a temporarily autonomous
Metropolitan District (Metropolia) and incorporated as the Russian Orthodox
Greek Catholic Church in America.
At its head there was to be an elected Archbishop-Metropolitan, a Council of
Bishops, and a Coun≠cil made up of representatives from the clergy and laity,
as well as periodic ņll-American Sobors. This reorganization,
as we can see now, actually paved the way for the Autocephalous
Orthodox Church in America,
to be established forty-six years later.
During these years of natural growth and
development, the Amer≠ican-Russian Metropolitanate acquired the prerequisites
of an auto≠cephalous church: maturity, its own territory, a sufficient number
of parishes and parishioners, a hierarchy canonically capable of making
subsequent appointments of new bishops, and the means by which to train new
In regard to the Russian Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union headed by the patriarch, the Metropolitanate
never questioned its canonical authenticity of spiritual authority; but it
always insisted on its own administrative self-government and independence as
the only reasonable and ecclesiastically correct arrangement in view of the
However, not all Russian Orthodox people in America shared
these feelings and convictions. A substantial number of Russian immi≠grants who
came to America after the
Russian Revolution or follow≠ing the Second World War joined the jurisdiction
of the "Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia," which has about one
hundred parishes in North and South America,
with a total membership of approximately 70,000. The higher church
administration of this group was organized in Constantinople in 1920 by a group
of emigre bishops headed by
Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev and Galicia,
who left southern Russia
at the end of the Civil War with the remnants of the White Russian Army. Soon
they had to move from Constantinople, the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to Yugoslavia, where they set≠tled in
Sremski-Karlovtsy, proclaiming themselves to be the supreme ecclesiastical
authority for all Russian churches outside Russia.
This ecclesiastical group adhered to a political
program which was extremely conservative. Among the resolutions of its first
convention held in Yugoslavia
in November, 1921, are found the following: "And may the Lord God return
to the all-Russian throne His Anointed, strong in the love of the nation, the
lawful Orthodox tsar of the House of Romanov." This
resolution aggravated the extremely diffi≠cult situation of the Church in Russia
and of the patriarch. On May 3, 1922, Patriarch Tikhon officially ruled that
refugee hierarchs had no right to speak on behalf of the Russian Orthodox
Church; their pro≠nouncement did not "represent the official voice of the
Russian Ortho≠dox Church and, in view of their political character, did not
possess ecclesiocanonical character."
Furthermore, in the same ruling, he formally dissolved the church
administration which had been set up in Karlovtsy and transferred the administration
of all Russian Ortho≠dox churches in Western Europe to Metropolitan Eulogius,
who had his headquarters in Paris.
Under the auspices of the Metropolitan, the Karlovtsy group was then renamed
"Synod of Bishops."
On his way to America, Metropolitan Platon
himself participated in the organization of the Church center in Karlovtsy for
the Russian refugees, considering it, of course, to be only a temporary
institution for the masses of refugees who needed church guidance. The Synod in
Karlovtsy did not, however, consider itself a temporary administration, or a
communication center, but assumed all prerogatives of an autocephalous Orthodox
church. Metropolitans Platon and Eulogius could not agree on such broad
authorities of the Synod; as a consequence, many rifts arose between them and
the Synod, and finally a complete break occurred between the two metropolitans
Platon and Eulogius, who had been appointed to their sees directly by Patriarch
Tikhon, and the Synod of Karlovtsy. In March of 1927, the Synod suspended
Metropolitan Platon and appointed Bishop Apollinarius in his place, thus
establishing another parallel church in America. Although in the beginning
very few parishes joined Archbishop Apollinarius, the number increased with the
coming to Amer≠ica
of displaced persons after World War II.
In the early twenties the Karlovtsy group
assembled people who had just left their motherland. Hatred of the Communists,
despair of defeat, hopes for eventual revenge were their dominant feelings. In
the Church they sought strength and inspiration, a symbol of unity, and a
victorious banner for the fulfillment of their patriotic task.
Bishops who had abandoned their dioceses in Russia found them≠selves amidst great political
and historical upheaval, surrounded by the White Russian generals, former
imperial ministers and politicians, and princes of the royal house of Russia. They
wholeheartedly plunged into emigre politics
and aspirations. From that time on the church organization of the Bishops'
Synod Abroad was strongly patriotic and nationalistic. Its main concern was to preserve
Russian Orthodoxy and Russian nationality in the non-Orthodox, non-Russian
world, until the day when "the rule of the Antichrist" will end in Russia. Even
now, it regards the present official Orthodox Church in Russia as a
sacriligious institution which serves Satan and his power.
A temporary accord between the American
Metropolitanate and the Russian Synod of Bishops Abroad was terminated at the
end of World War II.
In the 1930s another Church group, the Russian
Patriarchal Ex≠archate (a diocese headed by a bishop appointed by the Moscow patriarchal authorities), was established in North America. In 1933, a former military ordinary of the White
Russian Army and one of the founders of the Russian Synod of Bishops Abroad,
Archbishop Benja≠min Fedchenkoff, arrived in New York
from Paris. His
express pur≠pose for coming to this country was a lecture tour, and he was re≠ceived
by Metropolitan Platon and other church officials with due respect and
sincerity. However, it soon became known that he was assigned by the acting locum tenens of the Moscow patriarchal throne, Metropolitan
Sergei, to demand from Metropolitan Platon and his clergy a written pledge of
loyalty to the Soviet power.
Metropolitan Platon categorically refused to give
any pledge of loyalty to the Soviet
State. Furthermore, in
his epistle to the faithful of America,
June 3,1933, he emphasized that this branch of the Rus≠sian
Church had the intention of
remembering its Russian religious heritage, but no intention of remaining
politically connected with Russia,
still less with the Soviet regime, "which is saturated with communistic
and atheistic principles."
Metropolitan Platon died in 1934. The same year,
the fifth All-American Church Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church in North
America was held in Cleveland,
Ohio. The Sobor elected Bishop Theophilus
(Pashkovsky) of San Francisco as successor to
Metropol≠itan Platon with the title "Archbishop of San Francisco and Metro≠politan
of All America and Canada."
The Sobor upheld the autonomous path chosen by the late Metropolitan Platon and
defined its re≠lation to the Church in the Soviet Union
accordingly. The Sobor reaffirmed the spiritual bond with the Mother Church,
but emphatically refuted any possibility of administrative connection.
The war between Germany
and the Soviet Union made a great impact on church life in America. The majority of Russian
Orthodox people were deeply touched by the tragic events in the land of their
fathers. Their feelings were expressed in the words of the epistle is≠sued by
the Sobor of Bishops of the Metropolitanate on October 9, 1941:
Having been separated from our motherland by a
great distance, but being always close to it spiritually, we cannot be silent
witnesses and passive spectators of the bloody Golgotha
of our much suffering people. As our flesh and blood, we have to carry them in
our hearts, suffer with their sufferings, weep with their bloody tears and use
all our efforts and means to save themÖ
From that time on national and political
considerations constituted the predominant factor in all subsequent church
events. Three dis≠tinctively different approaches to the monumental crisis in Eastern Europe manifested themselves:
burning desire to see communism in Russia destroyed by all means and
at any cost and a dream of the restoration of old imperial Orthodox Russia.
Indiscriminate patriotism which drove many Russian Orthodox people into
the pro-Soviet camp.
differentiation between the struggle of Russian people for national and
spiritual freedom on the one hand and the Soviet communist aims on the other,
without swaying either towards the Axis powers or towards Moscow.
The election of the patriarch in 1943 and a new
seemingly favorable Soviet policy towards the Church made a great impression
not only in Russian circles, but in the whole free world.
The election of the patriarch was acclaimed in the
British Commonwealth and the United States
as a dramatic turning point in Soviet policies, internal and external, and the
manifestation of religious freedom in Russia. A majority of Russian
Orthodox people in America
also wholeheartedly accepted the election of the patriarch. This event, which
received so much publicity, only strengthened the pa≠triotic feelings kindled
by the heroic struggle of the Russian people against the Nazis. Most of them
were not political immigrants, and they did not experience that innate deep
revulsion at everything "Soviet." But there were also those who
started to raise their voices in favor of bringing the local church under
Another group of Russians did not recognize the
Patriarch of Moscow, or any other member of the official hierarchy in the
U.S.S.R., and regarded them simply as communist agents dressed in clerical
Such was the psychological situation in which
Metropolitan Theo-philus and his administration had to lead one of the largest
groups of Eastern Orthodoxy in this country.
Efforts to come to an understanding between the
North American Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Moscow were made but
failed, and in December 1947
a patriarchal decree reached America which put Metropolitan
Theophilus and the bishops in his jurisdic≠tion under interdict.
In 1961 representatives of the Mother Church and the
Metropoli-tanate unofficially reestablished communications at the General As≠sembly
of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, India. In 1963, a delegation of
Christian churches from the Soviet Union, led by Metropolitan Nikodim, head of
the Department of External Af≠fairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, came to the
at the invitation of the National Council of Churches. The Metropolitan visited
Metropolitan Leonty, head of the Metropolia, and conversed with other officials
of the local church. The illness and death of Metro≠politan Leonty interrupted
further attempts to improve relations be≠tween the two churches. In 1967,
during a visit of Metropolitan Niko≠dim to the United
States, and in 1968, during the General Assembly of the
World Council of Churches in Uppsala,
unofficial meetings produced a platform and a procedure for negotiations. It was
agreed that the Moscow Patriarchate would exercise its canonical right to grant
autocephaly to the American Church on the grounds that the Russian
Church first planted Orthodoxy in North America and established an Orthodox diocese here.
Another unofficial meeting of representatives of
the Metropolitan-ate with Metropolitan Nikodim occurred in January 1969 in New York. Official meetings were convened in
in August, and in Toyko, Japan, in November. At these
metings, a final draft of agreement between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ameri≠can Church was prepared. It was ratified by
the American bishops at their meeting in December and signed by both Metropolitan
Ireney and Metropolitan Nikodim in March 1970 in New York. The Patri≠archal and Synodal Tomos
granting autocephaly to the Russian Orth≠odox Greek Catholic Church in America was
signed by Patriarch Alexis of Moscow on April 10 of that year, a few days
before his death. On May 18, 1970, it was solemnly handed to the delegation of
the Orthodox Church in America,
led by Bishop Theodosius of Alaska, by the locum tenens, Metropolitan Pimen, at his
headquarters in Mos≠cow.
The ceremony was attended by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.S.S.R., Jacob D.
According to the terms of agreement and of the
Patriarchal Tomos, the former Metropolia was declared to be the
"Autocephalous Ortho≠dox Church in America,"
absolutely independent and self-governing with an exclusive ecclesiastical jurisdiction
in North America, including the State of Hawaii.
As a result of the agreement, the patriarchate has
agreed to dissolve its exarchate in North America and to recall the patriarchal
exarch from the territory of the American
Church. The parishes of
the ex≠archate have been advised by the patriarchal authorities to join the
newly created autocephalous church. Those who refuse for the time being to join
the new church will be administered by one of the vicar bishops of the Patriarch
of Moscow. The Moscow Patriarchate will continue to be represented in America by a delegate of the priestly rank,
residing at St. Nicholas Cathedral in New
Conscious of being a local American church, the
Metropolitanate has often and publicly stated its belief that Orthodoxy cannot
develop in America
except in unity, and independence, in conformity with the project of Patriarch
"There should not be any illusions that this
event will, ipso facto, resolve all
difficulties in moving toward inclusive administrative unity," said an
editorical in The Logos. What is
important, however, "is the fact that with the explicit or implicit approval
of the other jurisdictions, the foundation for total jurisdictional unity has