Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
|Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей
Chapel in ROCOR headquarters,
75 E 93rd St, New York.
|Primate||Patriarch of Moscow & All Rus' Kirill
|Headquarters||Patriarchal: Moscow, Russia
Jurisdictional: New York City, NY
|Language||Church Slavonic (primary);
(also English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Haitian Creole, and others)
|This article forms part of the series|
|Eastern Orthodox Church
in North America
|List of monasteries in the United States|
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Russian: Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей, Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov' Zagranitsey), also called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, or ROCOR, is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
ROCOR was formed as a jurisdiction of Eastern Orthodoxy as a response against the policy of the Bolsheviks with respect to religion in the Soviet Union soon after the Russian Revolution of 1917. It separated from the Russian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1927 after the imprisoned Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) pledged the Church's qualified loyalty to the Bolshevik state.
After decades of separation, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia officially signed the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate on May 17, 2007, restoring the canonical link between the churches.
The church has around 400 parishes worldwide and an estimated membership of over 400,000 people. Of these, 138 parishes and 10 monasteries are in the United States, with 27,700 adherents and over 9,000 regular church attendees. ROCOR has 13 hierarchs, with male and female monasteries in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and South America.
- 1 Formation and early years
- 2 Church of the refugees (1922–1991)
- 3 Conflict with ROC after the Soviet fall
- 4 Views on the Moscow Patriarchate, pre-reconciliation
- 5 Movement towards reconciliation
- 6 Schism
- 7 Seminaries and educational level of clergy
- 8 Western Rite
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Formation and early years
In 1920, near the end of the Russian Civil War, after the White Russian Army under Admiral Alexander Kolchak had suffered defeat and the Bolsheviks occupied Siberia, a mass exodus of Russian refugees moved into Manchuria. Within three years, more than 90,000 refugees settled in Harbin, Shanghai, Dairen, Hailar and the smaller towns along the Chinese branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Lacking adequate lodgings or employment, many migrated to the Americas, Europe or Australia.
In 1920 the Soviet government revealed its hostility to the Russian Orthodox Church. On November 7, 1920, Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, issued an ukaz (decree) instructing all Orthodox Christian bishops under the authority and protection of his Patriarchate, should they be unable to contact the Higher Church Administration, to seek protection and guidance by organizing among themselves. Some Russian bishops and other hierarchs interpreted this as authorization to form an emergency synod of all Russian Orthodox hierarchs to permit the church to continue to function outside Russia. To add urgency to the synod's motives, in May 1922 the Soviet government proclaimed its own "Living Church" as a "reform" of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On September 13, 1922, Russian Orthodox hierarchs in Serbia met in the town of Sremski Karlovci and established a synod of bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, the foundation of ROCOR. In November 1922, Russian Orthodox in North America held a synod and elected Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky) as the primate of an autonomous Russian exarchate in the Americas. This led to a three-way conflict in the United States between the exarchate, ROCOR (sometimes known as "the Synod" in this period), and the Living Church (which asserted its rights as the legitimate (Soviet-government-recognized) owner of all Eastern Orthodox properties in the United States).
Church of the refugees (1922–1991)
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At first the Russian Orthodox Church's hierarchy within Russia had resisted Bolshevik rule. After arrests and persecution of much of the Church’s leadership, Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky (one of the Assistant Deputy Patriarchs) agreed in 1927 to negotiations with the State Political Directorate from his prison cell. Sergius pledged the Church’s qualified loyalty to the Bolshevik state (an act his defenders claim saved the Church from total liquidation). This pledge caused a deep schism that prompted many disillusioned believers to go underground, where they formed what became called the Russian True Orthodox Church. Sergius’ accommodation also alienated the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
While distancing itself from both the Bolsheviks and Sergius, in 1927 ROCOR declared "The part of the Russian Church that finds itself abroad considers itself an inseparable, spiritually united branch of the Great Russian Church. It doesn't separate itself from its Mother Church and doesn't consider itself autocephalous." ROCOR believed that it spoke for all of the Russian Orthodox outside Russia.
World War II
During World War II, when the Church of England requested the right to pay a high-level visit to the Russian Orthodox Church, General Secretary Joseph Stalin met with its metropolitans. Though some historians say that Stalin needed the church to win the war, by that point the USSR had already survived Stalingrad and Kursk, gaining a superior position with its allies. Stalin took action on the eve of the Teheran Conference, wanting the ROC to impress the Anglican delegation and convince them that there was no religious persecution. He hoped that this would sway British public opinion and cause them to press their government to support an early invasion of Normandy to divert Nazi efforts away from his front. The overall position of the Soviet government toward the church had become less aggressive on the eve of WWII. The polls showed that most of Soviet State citizens confessed to belonging to some faith (see League of Militant Atheists, section Disbandment) and some historians believe that Stalin wanted to exploit the unifying potential of the church in prospect of the coming war.
Stalin was told by Metropolitan Sergius that the most pressing needs of the church was to convoke a sobor, elect a patriarch, and restore the synod (which had been dissolved in 1935). Stalin approved everything and used military air transport to bring the bishops to Moscow allowing the sobor to open four days after his meeting with the metropolitans. He appointed Georgii Karpov (a major general in the NKVD) as the Council for the Russian Orthodox Church Affairs. All matters concerning church-state relations were to go through him. Sergius turned down Stalin’s offer to fully subsidize the sobor and his offer of financial aid. He succeeded in obtaining Stalin’s permission to reopen the seminaries and theological schools "in as many eparchies as the Church would see fit". He also allowed the reopening of churches and the return of the monthly Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate to publication.
Upon Metropolitan Alexii’s suggestion, Stalin allowed a list of imprisoned priests and bishops to be given to Karpov for consideration of release (but many on the list had already been executed in the persecution of 1937-38). The former German Embassy was requisitioned to serve as the official residence of the patriarch and as his offices. Although Stalin had said that Karpov would be a liaison between the church and the government, his CROCA interfered with many internal church affairs. Karpov was the decisive voice in the creation of the Church Statute of 1945, its main author being one of his assistants. He also ignored protests of the Patriarch when the USSR began liquidating monasteries again in 1946 and forced the hierarchy to submit.
While churches were opened relatively quickly in land conquered from the Nazis, a long bureaucratic process was needed to open a church on Russian soil (taking up to three years and instantly derailed by anyone in the bureaucratic chain). The hierarchs of the ROCOR condemned this new arrangement with Stalin, saying that the Moscow patriarch had “made an alliance with Satan.”
The relationship between members of the ROCOR and the Nazis during World War II (when Germany turned against the USSR) has long been an issue addressed by both the Church and its critics. A 1938 letter written by Metropolitan Anastassy to Adolf Hitler, thanks him for his aid to the Russian Diaspora in allowing the building of a Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Berlin and praises his patriotism. This has, however, been defended as an act that occurred when "little was known…of the inner workings of the Third Reich."
The ROCOR itself has stressed how well its clergy handled themselves at this time. In a document made during their Second Ecclesio-Historical Conference in 2002, a statement was released noting “the attempt of the Nazi leadership to divide the Church into separate and even inimical church formations was met with internal church opposition.”
After the end of World War II, the Patriarchate of Moscow broached the possibility of reunification between Moscow and ROCOR, presumably at the behest of the Soviet government, which had adopted a more conciliatory attitude towards religion during the war and was presumably trying to capitalize on its wartime alliances to win a more respectable position internationally. This wasn't deemed possible at that time by the ROCOR, given that the USSR was still a communist state.
Conflict with ROC after the Soviet fall
ROCOR and ROC conflict over Palestinian properties
After the rise of the Communists, most of the Church properties in Palestine remained in the hands of those opposed to their ascendancy. The majority of these joined with the ROCOR. Some properties of the ROC remained completely closed until 1941, when the Politburo ordered the churches reopened. The Soviets invited all Orthodox prelates in the Middle East to go to Moscow to witness the installation of Patriarch Alexei I. In 1952 the Soviets reopened the Russian Palestine Society under the direction of Communist Party agents from Moscow, replaced Archimandrite Vladimir with Communist-trained Ignaty Polikarp. They won over many Christian Arabs with Communist sympathies to the ROC. The members of other branches of Orthodoxy refused to associate with the Soviet-led ROC in Palestine.
When Israel became a state in 1948, it transferred all of the property under the control of the ROCOR within its borders to the Soviet-dominated ROC in appreciation for Moscow's support of the Jewish state (this support was short-lived). The ROCOR maintained control over churches and properties in the Jordanian-occupied West Bank until the late 1980s.
In 1997 Patriarch of Moscow Alexei II attempted to visit a ROCOR-held monastery in Hebron with Yasser Arafat. "The Moscow-based church has enjoyed a close relationship with Arafat since his guerrilla fighter days." Upon arrival Arafat and the patriarch were refused entry by the ROCOR clergy, who held that Alexei had no legitimate authority. Two weeks later police officers of the Palestinian Authority arrived; they evicted the ROCOR clergy and turned over the property to the ROC.
Alexei made another visit in early January 2000 to meet with Arafat, asking "for help in recovering church properties" as part of a "worldwide campaign to recover properties lost to churches that split off during the Communist era". Later that month the Palestinian Authority again acted to evict ROCOR clergy, this time from the 3-acre (12,000 m2) Monastery of Abraham's Oak in Hebron.
Views on the Moscow Patriarchate, pre-reconciliation
After the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius of 1927, there were a range of opinions regarding the Moscow Patriarchate within ROCOR. A distinction must be made between the various opinions of bishops, clergy, and laity within ROCOR, and official statements from the Synod of Bishops. There was a general belief in ROCOR that the Soviet government was manipulating the Moscow Patriarchate to one extent or another, and that under such circumstances administrative ties were impossible. There were also official statements made that the elections of the patriarchs of Moscow which occurred after 1927 were invalid because they were not conducted freely (without the interference of the Soviets) or with the participation of the entire Russian Church. However, these statements only declared that ROCOR did not recognize the Patriarchs of Moscow who were elected after 1927 as being the legitimate primates of the Russian Church—they did not declare that the Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate were illegitimate bishops, or without grace. There were, however, under the umbrella of this general consensus, various opinions about the Moscow Patriarchate, ranging for those who held the extreme view that the Moscow Patriarchate had apostatized from the Church (those in the orbit of Holy Transfiguration Monastery being the most vocal advocates of this position), to those who considered them to be innocent sufferers at the hands of the Soviets, and all points in between. Advocates of the more extreme view of the Moscow Patriarchate became increasingly strident in the 1970s, at a time when ROCOR was increasingly isolating itself from much of the rest of the Orthodox Church due to concerns over the direction of Orthodox involvement in the Ecumenical Movement. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, there wasn't a burning need to settle the question of what should be made of the status of the Moscow Patriarchate, although beginning in the mid-1980s (as the period of glasnost began in the Soviet Union, which culminated in the ultimate collapse of the Soviet government in 1991), these questions resulted in a number of schisms, and increasingly occupied the attention of those in ROCOR.
There are certain basic facts about the official position of ROCOR that should be understood. Historically, ROCOR has always affirmed that it was an inseparable part of the Russian Church, and that its autonomous status was only temporary, based upon Ukaz 362, until such time as the domination of the Soviet government over the affairs of the Church should cease:
- "The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is an indissoluble part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and for the time until the extermination in Russia of the atheist government, is self-governing on conciliar principles in accordance with the resolution of the Patriarch, the Most Holy Synod, and the Highest Church Council [Sobor] of the Russian Church dated 7/20 November 1920, No. 362."
Similarly, Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky) wrote in his Last Will and Testament:
- "As regards the Moscow Patriarchate and its hierarchs, then, so long as they continue in close, active and benevolent cooperation with the Soviet Government, which openly professes its complete godlessness and strives to implant atheism in the entire Russian nation, then the Church Abroad, maintaining Her purity, must not have any canonical, liturgical or even simply external communion with them whatsoever, leaving each one of them at the same time to the final judgment of the Council (Sobor) of the future free Russian Church."
ROCOR viewed the Russian Church as consisting of three parts during the Soviet period: 1. The Moscow Patriarchate, 2. the Catacomb Church, and 3. The Free Russian Church (ROCOR). The Catacomb Church had been a significant part of the Russian Church prior to World War II. Most of those in ROCOR had left Russia during or well before World War II. They were unaware of the changes that had occurred immediately after World War II—most significantly that with the election of Patriarch Alexei I, most of the Catacomb Church was reconciled with the Moscow Patriarchate. By the 1970s, due to this reconciliation, as well as to continued persecution by the Soviets, there was very little left of the Catacomb Church. Alexander Solzhenitsyn made this point in a letter to the 1974 All-Diaspora Sobor of ROCOR, in which he stated that ROCOR should not "show solidarity with a mysterious, sinless, but also bodiless catacomb." The fact that the catacomb Church had essentially ceased to exist was de facto recognized when, as Communism was about to finally collapse in Russia, ROCOR began to establish "Free Russian" parishes in Russia, and to consecrate bishops to oversee such parishes, and never recognized any alleged Catacomb bishop as having a legitimate episcopacy.
Finally, the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union precipitated a crisis in ROCOR, because the very reason that had initially resulted in its separation from the Moscow Patriarchate had been removed, and so the basis of the consensus that had previously united ROCOR began to unravel. There were those who did not believe that the Moscow Patriarchate was yet free from the control of the KGB, and that in any case they had not sufficiently renounced the policies of Metropolitan Sergius. There were also those who believed that regardless of the political situation in Russia, that the question of Ecumenism had become sufficient grounds for continued separation. But after the August 2000 All-Russian Sobor of the Moscow Patriarchate, in which the MP officially condemned the Branch Theory of Ecumenism, and also renounced in principle, if not in name, the policies of Metropolitan Sergius, the question of reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate become an unavoidable question that had to be resolved, one way or another.
Movement towards reconciliation
In 2000 Metropolitan Laurus became the First Hierarch of the ROCOR and expressed interest in the idea of reunification. The sticking point at the time was the ROCOR's insistence that the Moscow Patriarchate address the slaying of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918 by the Bolsheviks. The ROCOR held that "the Moscow Patriarchy must speak clearly and passionately about the murder of the tsar's family, the defeat of the anti-Bolshevik movement, and the execution and persecution of priests." The ROCOR also accused the leadership of the ROC as being submissive to the Russian government and were alarmed by their ties with other denominations of Christianity, especially Catholicism.
Some of these concerns were ended with the jubilee Council of Bishops in 2000, which canonized Tsar Nicholas and his family, along with more than 1,000 martyrs and confessors. This Council also enacted a document on relations between the Church and the secular authorities, censoring servility and complaisance. They also rejected the idea of any connection between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.
In 2001, the Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow and ROCOR exchanged formal correspondence. The Muscovite letter held the position that previous and current separation were purely political matters. ROCOR's response is that they were still worried about continued Muscovite involvement in ecumenism as compromising Moscow's Orthodoxy. Nevertheless, this was far more friendly a discourse than previous decades had seen.
In 2003 Vladimir Putin met with Metropolitan Laurus in New York. This event was later hailed as an important step by Patriarch Alexy II who said that it showed the ROCOR that "not a fighter against God, but an Orthodox Christian is at the country's helm."
In May 2004, Metropolitan Laurus, the head of the ROCOR, visited Russia participating in several joint services. In June 2004, a contingent of ROCOR clergy meeting with Patriarch Alexey II. Committees were set up by both the Patriarchate and ROCOR to begin dialogue towards rapprochement. Both sides decided to set up joint commissions, and determined the range of issues to be discussed at the All-Diaspora Council, which met for the first time since 1974.
The possibility of rapprochement, however, led to a minor schism from the ROCOR in 2001, taking with it ROCOR's self-retired former First Hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly (Oustinoff), and the suspended Bishop Varnava (Prokofieff) of Cannes. The two formed a loosely associated jurisdiction under the name Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCiE). It was claimed that Metropolitan Vitaly's entourage forged his signature on epistles and documents. Bishop Varnava subsequently issued a letter of apology, and was received back into the ROCOR in 2006 as a retired bishop. Even before the death of Metropolitan Vitaly in 2006, the ROCiE began to break up into eventually four rival factions, each claiming to be the true ROCOR.
After a series of six reconcilitation meetings, the ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Moscow, on June 21, 2005, simultaneously announced that rapprochement talks were leading toward the resumption of full relations between the ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Moscow; and that the ROCOR would be given autonomy status. In this arrangement the ROCOR "will now join the Moscow Patriarchate as a self-governed branch, similar to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It will retain its autonomy in terms of pastoral, educational, administrative, economic, property and secular issues." While Patriarchate Alexy said that the ROCOR would keep its property and fiscal independence and stated that its autonomy would not change "in the foreseeable future", he added that "Maybe this will change in decades and there will be some new wishes. But today we have enough concerns and will not make guesses.”
On May 12, 2006, the general congress of the ROCOR confirmed its willingness to reunite with the Russian Orthodox Church, which hailed this resolution as:
"an important step toward restoring full unity between the Moscow Patriarchate and the part of the Russian emigration that was isolated from it as a result of the revolution, the civil war in Russia, and the ensuing impious persecution against the Orthodox Church." 
In September 2006, the ROCOR Synod of Bishops approved the text of the document worked out by the commissions, an Act of Canonical Communion, and in October 2006, the commissions met again to propose procedures and a time for signing the document. The Act of Canonical Communion went into effect upon its confirmation by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, based the decision of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, held in Moscow on October 3–October 8, 2004; as well as by decision of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR, on the basis of the resolution regarding the Act on Canonical Communion of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, held in San Francisco on May 15–May 19, 2006.
Signing of the Act of Canonical Communion
On December 28, 2006, it was officially announced that the Act of Canonical Communion would finally be signed. The signing took place on the May 17, 2007, followed immediately by a full restoration of communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, celebrated by a Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, at which the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexius II and the First Hierarch of ROCOR concelebrated for the first time in history.
On May 17, 2007, at 9:15 a.m., Metropolitan Laurus was greeted at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow by a special peal of the bells, and shortly thereafter, Patriarch Alexey II entered the Cathedral. After the Patriarch read the prayer for the unity of the Russian Church, the Act of Canonical Communion was read aloud, and two copies were each signed by both Metropolitan Laurus and Patriarch Alexey II. The two hierarchs then exchanged the "kiss of peace," and they and the entire Russian Church sang "God Grant You Many Years." Following this, the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord began, culminating with the entirety of the bishops of both ROCOR and MP partaking of the same Eucharist.
Present at the signing of the Act and at the Divine Liturgy, was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was thanked by Patriarch Alexey for helping to facilitate the reconciliation between the two parts of the Russian Church. Putin then gave his remarks to an audience of Orthodox Christians, visitors, clergy, and press, saying "The split in the church was caused by an extremely deep political split within Russian society itself. We have realized that national revival and development in Russia are impossible without reliance on the historical and spiritual experience of our people. We understand well, and value, the power of pastoral words which unite the people of Russia. That is why restoring the unity of the church serves our common goals."
The entire ceremony was broadcast live on Russian television, as well as live on the official website of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The entire ceremony can be viewed on the Internet. The Royal Doors were open during the entire event, which usually occurs only during the Bright Week.
The Hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad then served again with the Patriarch on May 19, in the consecration of the Church of the New Martyrs in Butovo, where they had laid the cornerstone during their initial visit in 2004. Butovo Field was the site of numerous massacres by the NKVD, who executed tens of thousands of people from the 1930s to the 1950s. During fifteen months in 1937 and 1938 alone, 20,765 people were shot there. Finally, on Sunday, May 20, they concelebrated in a Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin.
President Vladimir Putin gave a reception at the Kremlin to celebrate the reunification. In attendance were Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and members of the Holy Synod for the Russian Orthodox Church; Metropolitan Laurus for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; Presidential chief of staff Sergei Sobyanin, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Minister of Culture and Mass Communications Aleksandr Sokolov. Before the reception the participants posed for photographs by the Assumption Cathedral.
Critics of the reunification argue that the issue of alleged KGB infiltration of the Moscow Patriarchate church hierarchy has not been addressed by the Russian Orthodox Church. They say there are other outstanding canonical and moral issues
Critics of the reunification argue that "the hierarchy in Moscow still has not properly addressed the issue of KGB infiltration of the church hierarchy during the Soviet period." It has also been noted that "some parishes and priests of the ROCOR have always rejected the idea of a reunification with the ROC and said they would leave the ROCOR if this happened. The communion in Moscow may accelerate their departure."
The signing of the act led to yet another small schism from the ROCOR, this time taking with it Bishop Agathangel (Pashkovsky) of Odessa and Tauria, and with him some of ROCOR's parishes in Ukraine, which refused to enter the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), which itself had fought schisms resulting in the establishment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, both free of Russian influence. Agafangel was subsequently suspended by the ROCOR synod for disobedience. Despite censure, Agafangel persisted with the support of ROCOR parishes inside and outside the Ukraine which had also refused to submit to the Act of Canonical Communion. Agafangel subsequently ordained Bishop Andronik (Kotliaroff) with the assistance of Greek bishops from the Holy Synod in Resistance; these ordinations signified the breach between ROCOR and those who refused communion with Moscow. At a Fifth All-Diaspora Council (composed of clergy who did not accept the Act of Canonical Communion), Bishop Agafangel was elevated to the rank of metropolitan; he now heads the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad - Provisional Supreme Church Authority (ROCA-PSCA) as Metropolitan Agafangel of New York and Eastern America.
ROCOR currently has 593 parishes and 51 monasteries for men and women in 43 countries throughout the world, served by 672 clergy. The distribution of parishes is as follows: 194 parishes and 11 monasteries in the United States; 67 parishes and 11 monasteries in the Australian diocese; 48 parishes in Germany; 25 parishes and 3 monasteries in Canada; 22 parishes in Indonesia. ROCOR churches and communities also exist in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Palestine, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.
There are twelve ROCOR monasteries for men and women in North America, the most important and largest of which is Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville, New York), to which is attached ROCOR's seminary, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary.
ROCOR also oversees the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, which acts as caretaker to three holy sites in East Jerusalem and Palestine, all of which are monasteries.
The current First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia is Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral).
Seminaries and educational level of clergy
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The educational level of the clergy is primarily oriented toward the bachelor's level of education, which is the highest degree available at the church's single seminary located in Jordanville, New York. Recent ecumenical talks with the Patriarchal church in Moscow has opened or increased the added possibility of pursuing higher educational degrees through use of the graduate level education of clergy available in Russia. The cross-sectional demographic level of education for the practicing clergy of the church remains at the bachelor's level of educational training or training by apprenticeship in local churches or church communities.
There is a long history of the Western Rite in ROCOR, although attitudes toward it have varied, and the number of Western Rite parishes is relatively small. St. Petroc Monastery in Tasmania is now under the oversight of Metropolitan Daniel of the Moscow Metropolitanate. Christ the Saviour Monastery, founded in 1993 in Rhode Island and moved to Hamilton, Ontario, in 2008 (see main article for references) has incorporated the Oratory of Our Lady of Glastonbury as its monastery chapel. The oratory had previously been a mission of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America but since October 2007 has been a part of ROCOR. There are a few other parishes that either use the Western Rite exclusively or in part. An American parish, St Benedict of Nursia, in Oklahoma City, uses both the Western Rite and the Byzantine Rite.
On 10 July 2013 an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR removed Bishop Jerome of Manhattan and Fr Anthony Bondi from their positions in the vicariate; ordered a halt to all ordinations and a review of those recently conferred by Bishop Jerome; and decreed preparations be made for the assimilation of existing Western Rite communities to mainstream ROCOR liturgical practice.
The Western Rite in ROCOR, as of 2017, is currently undergoing a major renaissance, with some 25 parishes, monasteries and convents in North America and Europe under the direct supervision of the First Hierarch, with a Dean overseeing the clergy and the parishes on his behalf.
- List of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
- Eastern Orthodox Church
- White émigré
- Theodore Jurewicz
- Ivan Ilyin
- 1.^ The number of adherents given in the "Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches" is defined as "individual full members" with the addition of their children. It also includes an estimate of how many are not members but regularly participate in parish life. Regular attendees includes only those who regularly attend church and regularly participate in church life.
- Krindatch, A. (2011). Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches. (p. 80). Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press
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- "Russian Orthodox Church reunited: Why only now?". 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- Michael A Protopopov (2006). A Russian Presence: A History of the Russian Church in Australia. New Jersey: Gorgias Press.
- "An English translation of the decree, hosted by a parish of the ROCOR in Rochester, New York". Pomog.org. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Karen Dawisha (1994). Russia and the New States of Eurasia: The Politics of Upheaval. New York, NY: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.
- Pospielovsky, Dimitry (1998). The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
- Dimitry Pospielovsky, The Russian Church Under the Soviet Regime 1917–1982, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1984, p.223
- Archbishop Chrysostomos. "Book Review: The Price of Prophecy". Retrieved 2009-08-06.
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- Julie Stahl (28 January 2000). "American Nuns Involved in Jericho Monastery Dispute". CNS. Archived from the original on 2008-01-11.
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- See, for example, Resolution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia Concerning the Election of Pimen (Isvekov) as Patriarch of Moscow, September 1/14) 1971, December 27th, 2007
- Regulations Of The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Confirmed by the Council of Bishops in 1956 and by a decision of the Council dated 5/18 June, 1964, first paragraph, December 28, 2007
- The last will and testament of Metropolitan Anastassy, 1957, December 28, 2007
- The Catacomb Tikhonite Church 1974, The Orthodox Word, Nov.-Dec., 1974 (59), 235-246, December 28, 2007.
- "Russian church leader opens Synod's reunification session". 2007-05-16. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
- "Russian Church abroad ruling body approves reunion with Moscow". 2006-05-20. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- "Epistle of First-Hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, Of ROCOR to All The Faithful Clergy And Flock Of The Church Abroad".
-  Archived February 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- The Independent, Obituary: Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov, 28 September 2006
- "The Sixth Meeting of the Commissions of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate is Held": ROCOR website, downloaded August 25, 2006
- http://www.mospat.ru/text/e_news/id/9553.html. Retrieved July 29, 2005. Missing or empty
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- "Russian Church To End Schism". Associated Press. May 16, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. "Russian Orthodox Church to keep ROCOR traditions – Alexy II". ITAR-TASS. May 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-14.[dead link]
- "Russian Church abroad to unite with Moscow". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. RFE/RL website, May 12, 2006
- "The Eighth Meeting of the Church Commissions Concludes": ROCOR website, downloaded November 3, 2006
- "Act of Canonical Communion". Synod.com. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Union of Moscow Patriarchate and Russian Church Abroad 17 May 2007":Interfax website, downloaded December 28, 2006
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