Organizational Structure of the OCA


I was a visitor on your website. I have a question on the organizational structure of the OCA for my research. I would greatly appreciate your help.

Who does Metropolitan Theodosius report to? The Patriarch of Constantinople?

What is the relationship between the OCA and the Russian Orthodox Church?

If you could email an organizational chart which relates the Orthodox Churches in terms of a structure that would be wonderful.

I grew up in the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church


As an autocephalous Church, Metropolitan Theodosius, our Primate, does not “report” to any hierarch abroad. The OCA is not “under” any of the other autocephalous churches but, rather, is the youngest and 15th autocephalous Orthodox Church, having received autocephaly from the Mother Church of North American Orthodoxy, which is the Russian Orthodox Church. [It was the Russian Church which first sent missionaries to North America in 1794 and which first organized an ecclesiastical structure on this continent, being for many years a missionary diocese and then a metropolitanate of the Russian Church.]

While administratively self-governing [autocephalous], the OCA is in communion with all of the other autocephalous churches throughout the world. While some of the latter have yet to recognize our autocephalous status—a situation that, if one reads through the history of the Church, had been faced by every autocephalous church at one point in time—all accept us as a canonical body with a canonical hierarchy. North America has posed unprecedented conditions for Church life, but as time goes on there is no doubt that the unique situation of the Church here will change.

I do not have an organizational chart as such, but I will offer the following to provide you with a better understanding:

The Primate of the OCA is the Archbishop of Washington, DC, and is also Metropolitan of All America and Canada. As part of his responsibility to the People of God who make up the Orthodox Church in America, as well as to world Orthodoxy, the Metropolitan maintains brotherly relations with the other autocephalous churches as a part of his office. The Primate is the presiding hierarch of the

Holy Synod of Bishops, which includes all ruling bishops of the OCA’s dioceses. The Holy Synod meets twice every year. In between sessions of the Holy Synod, the Lesser Synod meets. Each diocese is headed by a ruling bishop and has oversight over

the OCA’s dioceses, each of which consist of a number of

parish communities which are headed by parish rectors, who guide the life of the parish community in harmony with

their respective parish councils.

Parishes in a given region or area constitute a deanery which, unlike the national Church or the diocese, is not an administrative body.

This gives a brief outline of the OCA’s structure; it is in no way meant to exhaust the various administrative units and other elements of the OCA’s structure and ministry, but it gives the basic “flow chart,” so to speak.