The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

First AAC of the Autocephalous OCA

This is the Revised Statute of the Orthodox Church in America which was approved at the 19th All-American Council on July 24, 2018. It replaces the previous Statute and is in effect as of August 1, 2018.

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In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Orthodox Church in America, as a local autocephalous Orthodox Church, belongs to the worldwide communion of Orthodox Churches. It unites in its fold Orthodox Christians of various national backgrounds and traditions. It grew from the Alaskan mission established in 1794 by the Church of Russia. Expanding across the United States and Canada, it became a Diocese of that Church. In 1924 this Diocese was reorganized as an autonomous Metropolitanate under the title “the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America.” On April 10, 1970, the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia granted autocephaly to the Metropolitanate. The Metropolitanate accepted and affirmed its new status and reorganized under the title “The Orthodox Church in America” at sessions of the All-American Council held in October, 1970, at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.

The Orthodox Church in America is governed by Holy Tradition, that is, the whole body of teaching and practice of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. That Tradition is expressed first of all in Holy Scripture; in the dogmatic decisions and canons of the seven Ecumenical Councils, the canons of the local councils, the canons and writings of the Holy Fathers; in the liturgical life of the Church; and in this Statute of The Orthodox Church in America (hereafter, “the Statute”). The purpose of the Statute is to apply Holy Tradition to the organization and daily life of The Orthodox Church in America.

The Orthodox Church in general and The Orthodox Church in America in particular are hierarchical in structure.

The Statute consists of this Preamble and the Eighteen (18) Articles that follow.

Article I — The Orthodox Church in America

Article II — The Holy Synod

Article III — The All-American Council

Article IV — The Metropolitan

Article V — The Metropolitan Council

Article VI — Church Officers

Article VII — The Diocese

Article VIII — The Diocesan Bishop

Article IX — The Diocesan Assembly

Article X — The Diocesan Council

Article XI — The Deanery

Article XII — The Parish

Article XIII — Monasticism

Article XIV — Stavropegial Institutions

Article XV — Ecclesiastical Courts

Article XVI — National Groups

Article XVII — Amendments

Article XVIII — Effective Date