Holy Orthodox Church in North America
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The Holy Orthodox Church in North America or HOCNA (also known as "the Panteleimonites") is an Orthodox Christian church located primarily in the United States and Canada, with additional communities in Europe, Africa and South America. Originally part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), it was incorporated in 1987 from the community of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts (which had left ROCOR in 1986) and a group of former ROCOR clergy, initially under the authority of the Greek Old Calendarists. Its current Primate is Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery was founded in 1961 by Father Panteleimon (born John Metropoulos in 1935), a Greek-American monk. Fr. Panteleimon was ordained a priest by the Jerusalem Patriarchate in 1964. From that time until the Monastery was accepted by ROCOR in 1965, it commemorated the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
In 1986, Holy Transfiguration Monaster of Boston severed its ties with ROCOR and placed itself under the omophorion of Metropolitans Gabriel of the Cyclades and Akakios of Diavleia of the Greek Old Calendarists.
Formation of HOCNA
The following year in 1987, a group of approximately thirty clergy left ROCOR to form HOCNA together with the monastic community of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In subsequent years (1988, 1991, 1996, 2004, and 2006), five HOCNA priests were consecrated as bishops.
HOCNA communities worldwide
Today, HOCNA consists of five monastic communities and twenty-one parishes, missions and chapels throughout the United States; one monastic community; one convent, one hermitage and two parishes in Greece. These monastic communities and parishes are served by three bishops, all living in the United States. There are also two parishes in the jurisdiction of HOCNA in the Republic of Georgia, one in the capital and another monastery.
Stance on ecumenism
HOCNA's hierarchy, clergy, and laity take a very strict view of remaining faithful to the apostolic doctrine, canons, and customs of the Orthodox Church. HOCNA therefore opposes ecumenism and participation in the Ecumenical Movement as violations of Apostolic Canons 10, 11, and 45 (which forbid common worship with the non-Orthodox) and Apostolic Canons 46, 47, and Canon 1 of the Local Council of Carthage (which forbid imparting the Sacred Mysteries (sacraments) to the non-Orthodox).
This akribeia in the interpretation of these canons, together with firm adherence to the patristic maxim that "There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith", have led HOCNA to strongly oppose any Orthodox Churches which have adopted declarations and/or confessions of faith which HOCNA sees as agreeing with the heterodox but contravening Orthodox confessions (for example, the lifting of the Anathemas of 1054 in 1965, the Thyateira Confession in 1975, Balamand Agreed Statement in 1993, and the Agreed Statement of the Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church Chambesy, Geneva; 23–28 September 1990).
Relations with other Orthodox churches
Generally, HOCNA recognizes the Traditional Orthodox Churches that share their views on the Ecumenical Movement in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia as valid churches. Although some canonical and administrative difficulties currently preclude concelebration, HOCNA clergy will minister to the laity in these other Churches, if requested in certain circumstances, with the permission of their bishop.
HOCNA also maintains ties with the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos and many monastics in the Sketes who are not commemorating the Patriarchate of Constantinople for reasons of Faith in the same way as the Traditional Orthodox Churches mentioned above.
HOCNA is not in communion with the majority of Orthodox Churches worldwide, and generally considers these churches to be subject to the Anathema Against Ecumenism promulgated by the ROCOR in 1983 for ecumenism and participating in joint prayers with non-Orthodox, especially those Orthodox Churches belonging to the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the National Council of Churches (NCC).