Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles
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The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles is an Old Calendarist jurisdiction which originally comprised the two archdioceses in America and the British deanery of the Holy Synod of Milan. In February 2011 the synod granted "autonomous status" to the jurisdiction.
Before the formation of the metropolia, the history of the American archdioceses of the Milan Synod were administratively independent and in communion with no one. Both archdioceses were previously closely tied to separated jurisdictions related to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In 1977, Archbishop Hilarion of Texas was elected under the oversight of Archbishop Joseph McCormack, who was a spiritual son of Archbishop Palladius Rudenko and had been made a bishop ten years earlier. The Abbey of the Holy Name, the spiritual center of the Archdiocese of New York and New Jersey, has been the continuation of a monastic compound extending back over 100 years. Archbishop John LoBue was originally the spiritual son of Metropolitan William H. F. Brothers (died 1979) who, originally an Old Catholic cleric, had been ordained as a Western rite bishop at St. Nicholas' Cathedral, New York, in 1933, and who had extensive ties to Metropolitan Anastassy of ROCOR.
As traditional Orthodox communities, formed primarily of Western converts continued to develop in Europe, Archbishop Auxentios of Athens, primate of the True Orthodox Church of Greece (died 1994) first established a west European diocese in 1978 by elevating Archimandrite Gabriel to the episcopate of Lisbon. Six years later a second bishop, Tiago of Lisbon, was established for western Europe. In 1984 Archbishop Auxentios blessed the westerners with self-governance. With this blessing, the Western Synod quickly grew beyond Portugal. In 1990, after a period of upheaval in the TOC of Greece during which Metropolitan Gabriel departed for the Orthodox Church of Poland, the Western Synod elevated Bishop Evloghios of Milan to be its second metropolitan, re-establishing an Orthodox episcopate in the see of St. Ambrose for the first time since the Great Schism of 1054. The Archbishop of Milan was chosen as Primate of the Synod of the West (hence the popular title “Milan Synod”) and became known for its stance against ecumenism as well as its frequent use of pre-schism Western services.
In 1990, the Western Synod entered into communion with Metropolitan Mystyslav of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Exile, which in 1991 became the Orthodox Patriarchate of Kyiv. In 1994, Patriarch Volodymyr Romaniuk recognized the autonomy granted by Archbishop Auxentios and confirmed it with his blessing before his death in 1995. Factionalization in the Ukrainian Church forced the bishops of the Synod of Milan to separate from the newly elected patriarch, former Bishop Filaret Denisenko of the UAOC, and in 1997, the bishops of the Western Synod elevated Metropolitan Evloghios to Metropolitan of Milan and Aquileia, restoring the original rank of the Autonomous Church of Milan.
In 1997, the archdioceses of Texas and of New York were received into the Milan Synod. To correct any deficiencies or perceived ambiguities in their consecrations, which were performed while they were associated with the various splinters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, they were accepted through the rite of Cherothesia. (The clergy of North America, originally an independent jurisdiction known as the Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite.)
The Milan Synod's American archdioceses operated under the formal headship of Archbishop Hilarion of Texas from 1997 to 2011, with two bishops and a generally stable presence of approximately 25 to 30 parishes during most of this period.
Discussions towards establishing an independent American metropolitanate in communion with the See of Milan began in November 2010. Previously the second ranking archbishop for the United States, Archbishop John LoBue of New York, was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan of North and South America for the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles in Milan, Italy.
The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles was created by order of the Holy Synod of Milan on February 27, 2011.
Two new bishops were elected to act as assistants to the metropolitan. One was consecrated the week of February 27 in Milan and the others were to be announced.
On 12 July 2011, Metropolitan John Lobue and Metropolitan Anghelos of Avlonos entered into full communion with Metropolitan Raphael of the True Orthodox Church in Russia (TOCR). This event is now celebrated as the "Day of Unity" by all three churches.
On March 5, 2011, the Chancery of the Holy Synod of Milan made public statements that negotiations were taking place to unite the Synod of Milan to the Patriarchate of Moscow and that they rejected communion with anyone who did not agree with their position. While the public response of the metropolia was a refusal to accept the claim as authoritative statement from Milan, the response among the American clergy was divided. The majority of the clergy, siding with the metropolitan, opted to strengthen the new metropolia's bonds with their sister churches throughout the world. A minority, however, began dealing with the patriarchate in secret from the metropolitan, revealing their change in affiliation after it occurred. Upon early discovery, a provisional statement was released for signature for future incoming clergy rejecting ecumenism and modernism. It is debated[who?] as to whether the open publication of the document halted the schism in the metropolia or accelerated it.
On April 4, 2011, the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia formally recognized that, for the present, communion with the Holy Synod of Milan had been broken by the latter and reaffirmed its communion with the other True Orthodox churches in communion with the metropolia.
- Metropolitan John, Archbishop of New York and First-Hierarch of the Holy Synod
- Archbishop Hilarion of Texas
- Bishop Fanourios of Lincoln
- Bishop Joseph of Edmonton, Exarch of Western Canada
- Bishop Christodoulos of Miami and Cuba
- Bishop Seraphim of Manhattan and Long Island