Holy Orthodox Church in North America
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The Holy Orthodox Church in North America (HOCNA) is an Orthodox Christian church located primarily in the United States and Canada, with additional communities in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Republic of Georgia. Many of HOCNA's clergy had been part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). HOCNA was incorporated in 1987 by a group of former ROCOR clergy, and received its first two episcopal consecrations from the synod of bishops of Archbishop Auxentius of Athens of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece. HOCNA's current Primate is Gregory, 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 Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1964. From that time until the monastery was accepted by ROCOR in 1965, it commemorated the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
In 1986, Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Boston severed its ties with ROCOR and placed itself under 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 30 clergy who had left ROCOR founded HOCNA together with the monastic community of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In subsequent years (1988, 1991, 1996, 2004, 2006, 2012, and 2013), seven 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 Americas; one monastic community; one convent, one hermitage and two parishes in Greece. These monastic communities and parishes are served by four bishops who live in North America. 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
Up until mid-2019, HOCNA had maintained communion with the True Orthodox Church of Greece (Synod of Archbishop Makarios of Athens). However, in that year, Archbishop Makarios' synod issued a “Confession of Faith” which included a condemnation of the name-worshiping heresy, as well as other heresies. As a result of this, on April 20, 2019, HOCNA announced it was breaking communion with synod of Archbishop Makarios. This leaves HOCNA officially outside of communion with any other Orthodox body.
Following this decision, the senior bishop of HOCNA, Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto, announced he was leaving HOCNA and petitioning to join the synod of Archbishop Makarios of Athens.
Although some canonical and administrative difficulties currently preclude concelebration, HOCNA clergy will minister to the laity in the traditional Orthodox churches that share their views on the Ecumenical Movement in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia, 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 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).
- Official HOCNA sites