Russian Orthodox Church in America


I have three questions.

1. Is the Russian Orthodox in America a part of the OCA?

2. Are there any parishes that are a part of the Russian Orthodox Church in America where the services are in English?

3. Where can I go for more information on the Russian Orthodox Church in America?


Thanks for your enquiry.

1. Prior to 1970, what is today known as the “Orthodox Church in America” was known as the “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America.” The name change took place because:

a) the ROGCCA was granted “autocephaly,” or the right to govern itself administratively, from the Patriarchate of Moscow, thus rendering the ROGCCA the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America; and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate, the Bulgarian Orthodox Archdiocese, and the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese had become members of the Orthodox Church in America immediately before or after the granting of autocephaly in 1970, thereby making the Church pan-Orthodox and certainly no longer limited to parishes of “Russian” origin; and

b) since the granting of autocephaly in 1970, somewhere between 100 and 150 new parishes and communities, most composed of faithful of many ethnic backgrounds using English exclusively in liturgical worship, have been formed. Hence, the vast majority of parishes which had identified themselves as “Russian Orthodox” belong to what is today known as the “Orthodox Church in America” and have, in many cases, dropped the “Russian” prefix and use primarily or exclusively English in the services.

2. There exists within North America the “Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church.” These parishes, perhaps 50 in number, are within the canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, although there is no diocesan structure in North America. Many of these parishes also use English primarily or exclusively in worship.

3. There also exists the “Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,” sometimes called the “Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” or the “Russian Orthodox Church in Exile.” On May 17, 2007, after several decades of estrangement, the canonical relationship between the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate was restored. ROCOR has more parishes than the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, but not as many as the over 600 parishes and communities of the Orthodox Church in America. Many ROCOR parishes also use English in liturgical worship, especially those parishes with a considerable number of converts; some parishes employ English exclusively in worship.

Based on the above, there is no body which bears the title “Russian Orthodox Church in America.” If you have specific questions, however, please feel free to address them to me and I will be happy to respond to your specific needs and interests.

I would encourage you to visit other parts of the OCA website in detail and especially for you:

The Orthodox Faith

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction

Orthodox Christians in North America, 1794-1994