Orthodox Church in America Bulgarian Diocese
The Orthodox Church in America Bulgarian Diocese is one of three ethnic dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Its territory includes parishes, monasteries, and missions located in six states in the United States, as well as one province in Canada – California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, and Washington, D.C. The former Archbishop of the Bulgarian Diocese was the Most Reverend Kyrill (Yonchev), who also served as the Archbishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Since his repose on June 17, 2007, however, Metropolitan Herman serves as locum tenens of the diocese, pending the election and installation of a new bishop for the diocese.
Established in 1963 the diocese was originally under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). It had its origins in the decision of Metropolitan Andrew (Petkov), then head of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia (named at that time the Bulgarian Diocese of North and South America and Australia), to regularize his relations with his mother church, with whom he had broken after World War II and subsequently was elected to the rank of metropolitan.
In the late 1950s, Andrew petitioned to be accepted into the Russian Metropolia but had been rebuffed by them for unclear reasons, so in 1963 he petitioned and was approved by the Holy Synod of the Church of Bulgaria to be readmitted to the Bulgarian episcopacy and continued to lead Bulgarian Orthodoxy in America. One of his clergy, Archimandrite Kyrill (Yonchev), disagreed with his decision and was consecrated by the bishops of the ROCOR to serve as head of the Bulgarian Diocese. Due partly to Metr. Andrei's advanced age, Bp. Kyrill persuaded many Bulgarian parishes to accept his authority.
In 1976, Bp. Kyrill and his diocese left ROCOR and joined the Orthodox Church in America, thus creating its Bulgarian Diocese.
Notes and references
- Surrency, Archim. Serafim. The Quest for Orthodox Unity in America: A History of the Orthodox Church in North America in the Twentieth Century. Saints Boris and Gleb Press, 1973.
- Liberovsky, Alexis. ""Synopsis of the 5th All-American Council"". Retrieved 2007-01-01.
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