Relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia to the church in Russia

I know that there are two Russian Orthodox Church structures outside of Russia. Presumably some time after 1917 they became fairly independent, but since the fall of the Communists, has there been an establishment of a formal structure between the church in Russia, and outside of it?

ROCOR since 2007 has had the status of a Semi-Autonomous Church within the Russian Orthodox Church, which means that ROCOR is empowered to make many of its governing decisions on its own, though some decisions, like who should be the primate of ROCOR, need the approval of the Russian Orthodox Church as well.

I assume by the second Russian Orthodox structure outside of Russia, you probably mean the American Metropolia. That structure was given a tomos of autocephaly in 1970 by Moscow, which means that since that time, it has been able to elect freely its own primate without receiving the approval of the Russian Orthodox Church (as opposed to a church which is autonomous or semi-autonomous which must have its decision of primate approved by some other Church).

And those of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia who did not wish to reunite with the Russian Church within Russia (Moscow Patriarchate) split away and remain independent of both.

The other possibility is the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad - Provisional Supreme Church Authority, which rejects the unification between the Russian Orthodox Church and ROCOR.

I have understood that traditionally there are 14 autocephalous church. From what you wrote, does it mean the American Metropolia is an addition to the 14? Is the American Metropolia you refer to the same as the ROCIA? I presume they (ROCIA) are not in communion with ROCUR, but do they have some sort of recognition from the Ecumenical Patriarch?

De facto, yes. The Autocephally of the OCA is not accepted universally de jure (over disagreements on who is invested with the authority to grant autocephally), but it is accepted de facto, insofar as whomsoever the OCA elects as its primate is recognized as legitimately being the metropolitan of his see, even by those who do not accept the autocephally of the OCA.

No, they are different groups. The American Metropolia was the group which became what is now the OCA. ROCIA is not normally considered to be affiliated with canonical Orthodoxy.

The ROCIA is a non-canonical group, not affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the rest of canonical Orthodoxy.

Does the Greek church where u are allow its people to attend ROCOR?

A while ago the Greek fathers here didn’t allow it ,there have been some problems between rocor and the greeks here …I don’t know if things are better now

Thanks Cavaradossi. So, is ROCIA in schism with the rest of the Orthodoxy? Is their difference with Orthodoxy only with regards to their position with the Russian Orthodox Church, and not any doctrinal difference like the churches in resistance?


This is because until the union of 2007, ROCOR was of irregular canonical status. Now that ROCOR is a semi-autonomous Church within the Russian Orthodox Church, there is no question that one within any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction may commune in a ROCOR parish, since ROCOR’s status as a canonical Orthodox Church is now clear.

I am unsure. I think ROCIA takes the position of a walled-off church, which is to say that they have walled themselves off from concelebration with hierarchs who are a part of canonical Orthodoxy on the grounds that canonical Orthodoxy improperly engages in ecumenism. At this point in time, at least, I believe they do not fully accuse canonical Orthodoxy of heresy (for they accept our sacraments), but they nevertheless believe that their schism from canonical Orthodoxy is both justified and necessary. They are perhaps somewhat analogous to the SSPX.

A few years back ,a Greek priest said to me I cant go there because Constantinople hasn’t received any formal letter from Moscow saying that the Rocor are now part of the Russian church etc

Another Greek preist used to say that the rocor priests must be ordained again…

so I don’t know if things are different now ,havnt been to the Greeks for some time

Since 2007, that would be untrue.

That has never been true.

Thanks again Cavadorossi

I guess human nature makes things like this a bit difficult to fathom. I don’t think the parallel would be with SSPX as SSPX, in the more extreme form at least, denied the catholicity of the Pope.

There are several non-canonical groups loosely connected to Orthodoxy. In communion with no-one but themselves they seem to always have a proclivity for the Julian (old) calendar.

They are held together with loose ties. I went to such a church until the priest reposed and the church closed. I found out later they were affiliated with the Blanco TX monastery.
That monastery was closed when it was discovered they had faked a “weeping icon” of the Theotokos by putting mineral oil on it. Some of the monks were pedophiles as well, they had 10 year old ‘novices’.

Yeah, I was surprised by that statement. I’m guessing the priest in question simply didn’t know much about ROCOR.

Well the Greeks didn’t look to kindly upon rocor here…they always told their people to not go there…

Problems started when rocor was taking on priests which had been cast aside by the Greek church…not sure totally if they were defrocked by the greeks

I knew two of the monks long before the monastery. It was all very sad.

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