List of primates of the Orthodox Church in America

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This article is a list of primates of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).[1]

Prior to the early 1920s, all Orthodox on the North American continent (regardless of ethnicity) were under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. This North American diocese (known by a number of names throughout its history) was ruled by a bishop or archbishop assigned by the Russian Church.

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, communication between the Russian Orthodox Church and the churches of North America was almost completely cut off. In 1920, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow directed all Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia to govern themselves autonomously until regular communication and travel could be resumed. As a result, many Orthodox communities with a non-Russian background turned to Churches in their respective homelands for pastoral care and governance.

After declaring the autonomy of the North American Diocese (known as the "Metropolia") in February 1924, Archbishop Platon (Rozhdestvensky) became the first Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Since that time, the primate of the OCA has been known as Metropolitan of All America and Canada, in addition to his role as the archbishop of an OCA diocese. When the OCA (then known as the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America) was granted autocephaly by the Russian Church in 1970 (an act not recognized by all Orthodox jurisdictions), it was renamed the Orthodox Church in America, and the ruling Metropolitan was granted the additional title of His Beatitude.

Name Place of birth Birth name Jurisdiction Dates of rule Notes
Joasaph (Bolotov) Strazhkov, Kashinsky District Ivan Ilyich Bolotov Bishop of Kodiak, Auxiliary of the Irkutsk Diocese 1799 Joasaph was elected bishop in 1796, but news did not reach him until 1798. He returned to Irkutsk and was consecrated in 1799, but died during his return voyage to Alaska.
Innocent (Veniaminov) Anginskoye, Verkholensk District Ivan (John) Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands 1840–50
Archbishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands 1850–68
Peter (Ekaterinovsky) Saratov Oblast Theodore (Fyodor) Ekaterinovsky Bishop of Novoarkhangelsk, Auxiliary of the Kamchatka Diocese 1859–66
Paul (Popov) Yeniseysk Province Paul Popov Bishop of Novoarkhangelsk, Auxiliary of the Kamchatka Diocese 1866–70 With the Alaska purchase in 1867, Alaska became a territory of the United States.
John (Mitropolsky) Kaluga, Russia Stephen Mitropolsky Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1870–77
Nestor (Zakkis) Arkangelsk, Russia Baron Nikolai Pavlovich Zakkis Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1878–82 Following the death of Bishop Nestor in 1882, the Diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska fell under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg until 1887.
Vladimir (Sokolovsky-Avtonomov) Senkovka, Poltava Oblast Vasily Grigorievich Sokolovsky-Avtonomov Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1887–91
Nicholas (Adoratsky) Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1891 Bishop Nicholas was transferred to another see before traveling to North America to assume his duties as ruling bishop.
Nicholas (Ziorov) Kherson Oblast Michael Zacharovich Ziorov Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1891–98 In 1898, Bishop Nicholas was transferred to Russia, to serve as Archbishop of the Diocese of Tver and Kashin.
Tikhon (Bellavin) Toropetz District Vasily Ivanovich Belavin Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska 1898–1900
Bishop of the Aleutians and North America 1900–05 Bishop Tikhon introduced many changes to the diocesan structure, including renaming it to the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America.
Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America 1905–07 Bishop Tikhon was elevated to archbishop when the diocese was made an archdiocese in 1905. He returned to Russia in 1907.
Platon (Rozhdestvensky) Kursk Eparchy Porphyry Theodorovich Rozhdestvensky Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America 1907–14
Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1922–34
Evdokim (Meschersky) Vladimir Diocese Basil Mikhailovich Meschersky Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America 1914–18 Archbishop Evodkim returned to Russia and was appointed Archbishop of Nizhegorod in 1919.
Alexander (Nemolovsky) Volhynia Eparchy Alexander Alexandrovich Nemolovsky Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America 1919–22 Archbishop Alexander left the United States in 1922, and was replaced by Metropolitan Platon.
Theophilus (Pashkovsky) Kiev Oblast Theodore Nicholaevich Pashkovsky Archbishop of San Francisco, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1934–50 Theophilus was elected as metropolitan after Metropolitan Platon's death in 1934.
Leontius (Turkevich) Kremenets Leonid Ieronimovich Turkevich Archbishop of New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1950–65
Irenaeus (Bekish) Mezhirech, Lublin Province John Bekish Archbishop of New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1965–77 In 1970, the Russian Metropolia (also known as the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America) was granted autocephaly, and was renamed as the Orthodox Church in America.
Sylvester (Haruns) Daugavpils, Latvia Ivan Antonovich Haruns Archbishop of Montreal and Canada, Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America 1974–77 Archbishop Sylvester was appointed as Temporary Administrator in 1974, and handled the day-to-day business of the Church for Metropolitan Irenaeus, whose health was failing.
Theodosius (Lazor) Canonsburg, PA Frank Lazor Archbishop of New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1977–80
Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 1981–2002 Entered retirement after suffering a series of strokes on April 2, 2002.
Herman (Swaiko) Briarford, PA Joseph Swaiko Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 2002–2005
Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 2005–2008 Voluntarily resigned per the request of the Special Investigative Committee of the OCA on September 4, 2008.
Jonah (Paffhausen) Chicago, IL James Paffhausen Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 2008-2009 Metropolitan Jonah was the first Metropolitan of the OCA who was not raised an Orthodox Christian.
Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 2009-2012 Tendered resignation on Jul 6, 2012.
Tikhon (Mollard) Boston, MA Marc R. Mollard Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada 2012–Present Metropolitan Tikhon is the second Metropolitan of the OCA who was not raised an Orthodox Christian.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Primates of the Orthodox Church in America". oca.org. Retrieved 2009-09-14.