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Eastern Orthodoxy in North America represents adherents, religious communities, institutions and organizations of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in North America, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and other North American states. Estimates of the number of Eastern Orthodox adherents in North America vary considerably depending on methodology (as well as the definition of the term "adherent") and generally fall in range from 3 million to 6 million. Most Eastern Orthodox Christians in North America are Russian Americans, Greek Americans, Arab Americans, Ukrainian Americans, Albanian Americans, Macedonian Americans, Romanian Americans and Bulgarian Americans with Americans from other Eastern European countries and growing minorities of converted Americans of Western European, African, Latin American, and East Asian descent.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Statistically, Eastern Orthodox Christians are among the wealthiest Christian denominations in the United States,and they also tend to be better educated than most other religious groups in America. They have a high number of graduate (68%) and post-graduate degrees (28%) per capita.
An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master’s and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees.
Russian traders settled in Alaska during the 18th century. In 1740, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated on board a Russian ship off the Alaskan coast. In 1794, the Russian Orthodox Church sent missionaries—among them Saint Herman of Alaska – to establish a formal mission in Alaska. Their missionary endeavors contributed to the conversion of many Alaskan natives to the Orthodox faith. A diocese was established, whose first bishop was Saint Innocent of Alaska. The headquarters of this North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church was moved from Alaska to California around the mid-19th century.
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as its primate, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church; the Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019.
Saint Herman of Alaska was a Russian Orthodox monk and missionary to Alaska, which was then part of Russian America. His gentle approach and ascetic life earned him the love and respect of both the native Alaskans and the Russian colonists. He is considered by many Orthodox Christians as the patron saint of North America.
It was moved again in the last part of the same century, this time to New York. This transfer coincided with a great movement of Eastern Catholics to the Eastern Orthodox Church in the eastern United States. This movement, which increased the numbers of Eastern Orthodox Christians in America, resulted from a conflict between John Ireland, the politically powerful Roman Catholic Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Alexis Toth, an influential Ruthenian Catholic priest. Archbishop Ireland's refusal to accept Fr. Toth's credentials as a priest induced Fr. Toth to return to the Eastern Orthodox Church of his ancestors, and further resulted in the return of tens of thousands of other Uniate Catholics in North America to the Eastern Orthodox Church, under his guidance and inspiration. For this reason, Ireland is sometimes ironically remembered as the "Father of the Orthodox Church in America." These Uniates were received into Eastern Orthodoxy into the existing North American diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time large numbers of Greeks and other Eastern Orthodox Christians were also immigrating to America. At this time all Eastern Orthodox Christians in North America were united under the omophorion (Church authority and protection) of the Patriarch of Moscow, through the Russian Church's North American diocese. The unity was not merely theoretical, but was a reality, since there was then no other diocese on the continent. Under the aegis of this diocese, which at the turn of the 20th century was ruled by Bishop (and future Patriarch) Tikhon, Eastern Orthodox Christians of various ethnic backgrounds were ministered to, both non-Russian and Russian; a Syro-Arab mission was established in the episcopal leadership of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, who was the first Eastern Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in America.
In Christianity, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is a diocese of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is led by an archbishop who administers the archdiocese from the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The archbishop has both a cathedral and co-cathedral: the mother church, the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul and the co-cathedral, the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis.
Saint Alexis Toth was a Russian Orthodox church leader in the Midwestern United States who, having resigned his position as a Byzantine Catholic priest in the Ruthenian Catholic Church, became responsible for the conversions of approximately 20,000 Eastern Rite Catholics to the Russian Orthodox Church, which contributed to the growth of Eastern Orthodoxy in the United States and the eventual establishment of the Orthodox Church in America. He was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1994.
One of the effects of the persecution and administrative chaos wreaked on the Russian Orthodox Church by the Bolshevik Revolution was a flood of refugees from Russia to the United States, Canada, and Europe. The Revolution of 1917 severed large sections of the Russian church—dioceses in America, Japan, and Manchuria, as well as refugees in Europe—from regular contact with the mother church. In 1920 Patriarch Tikhon issued an ukase (decree) that dioceses of the Church of Russia that were cut off from the governance of the highest Church authority (i.e. the Patriarch) should continue independently until such time as normal relations with the highest Church authority could be resumed; and on this basis, the North American diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (known as the "Metropolia") continued to exist in a de facto autonomous mode of self-governance. The financial hardship that beset the North American diocese as the result of the Russian Revolution resulted in a degree of administrative chaos, with the result that other national Orthodox communities in North America turned to the Churches in their respective homelands for pastoral care and governance.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
A ukase, or ukaz, in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar, government, or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law. "Edict" and "decree" are adequate translations using the terminology and concepts of Roman law.
A group of bishops who had left their sees in Russia gathered in Sremski-Karlovci, Yugoslavia, and adopted a clearly political monarchist stand. The group further claimed to speak as a synod for the entire "free" Russian church. This group, which to this day includes a sizable portion of the Russian emigration, was formally dissolved in 1922 by Patriarch Tikhon, who then appointed metropolitans Platon and Evlogy as ruling bishops in America and Europe, respectively. Both of these metropolitans continued to entertain relations intermittently with the synod in Karlovci, but neither of them accepted it as a canonical authority. Between the World Wars the Metropolia coexisted and at times cooperated with an independent synod later known as Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), sometimes also called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The two groups eventually went their separate ways. ROCOR, which moved its headquarters to North America after the Second World War, claimed but failed to establish jurisdiction over all parishes of Russian origin in North America. The Metropolia, as a former diocese of the Russian Church, looked to the latter as its highest church authority, albeit one from which it was temporarily cut off under the conditions of the communist regime in Russia.
A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, or ROCOR, is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
After World War II the patriarchate of Moscow made unsuccessful attempts to regain control over these groups. After resuming communication with Moscow in early 1960s, and being granted autocephaly in 1970, the Metropolia became known as the Orthodox Church in America.However, recognition of this autocephalic status is not universal, as the Ecumenical Patriarch (under whom is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) and some other jurisdictions have not officially accepted it. The reasons for this are complex; nevertheless the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other jurisdictions remain in communion with the OCA. The patriarchate of Moscow thereby renounced its former canonical claims in the United States and Canada; it also acknowledged an autonomous church established in Japan that same year.
Statistically, Eastern Orthodox Christians are among the wealthiest Christian denomination in the United States,and they also tend to be better educated, having a high number of graduate (68%) and post-graduate degrees (28%) per capita.
Today there are many Orthodox churches in the United States and Canada that are still bound to the Ecumenical or Antiochian patriarchates, or other overseas jurisdictions; in some cases these different overseas jurisdictions will have churches in the same U.S. city. However, there are also many "pan-orthodox" activities and organizations, both formal and informal, among Orthodox believers of all jurisdictions. One such organization is the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America (successor to SCOBA), which comprises North American Orthodox bishops from nearly all jurisdictions. (See list of Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions in North America.)
In June 2002, the Antiochian Orthodox Church granted self-rule to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Some observers see this as a step towards greater organizational unity in North America.
During the past 50 years there have come into existence in North America a number of Western Rite Orthodox parishes. These are sometimes labelled "Western Orthodox Churches" but this term is not generally used by Orthodox Christians of Eastern or Western rite. These are Orthodox Christians who use the Western forms of liturgy (Roman Rite) yet are Orthodox in their theology. The Antiochian Orthodox Church and ROCOR both have Western Rite parishes.
There are over 2000 Orthodox parishes in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of these belong to the OCA, Greek and Antiochian jurisdictions, while the rest are divided among other jurisdictions.
This is a list of all canonical Eastern Orthodox Churches in the United States. They all form the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. These churches are in full communion with one another, and are all officially recognized by one another. The Orthodox Church in America is regarded as canonical and is in full communion with all the other groups, but its self-governance is questioned.
There may be as many as seven million people in the United States who self-identify as Orthodox due to ethnicity or being baptized as children. They may also be married in the church and baptize their children in the church, but they remain unknown to parishes and do not participate in church life. Many recent immigrants who have come to America also self-identify as Orthodox, but never participate in church life. The table below does not include either of these categories, limiting itself to those Orthodox believers who attend parish churches at least often enough to be counted in the official parish statistics. They are listed as "adherents." The "regular attendees" are the number of people who attend church on a typical Sunday.
This table is sortable. The initial listing is according to canonical position in the order of the diptychs (the ceremonial rankings of jurisdictions within the Orthodox Church). For each North American branch (archdiocese or diocese), the table also lists the jurisdiction of which it is part. The Orthodox Church in America is a jurisdiction onto itself.
|Parent Jurisdiction||North American branch||Adherents||Regular Attendees||Attendees as % of adherents||Bishops||Monasteries||Parishes||Average Parish Size|
|Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople||Greek Orthodox Archdiocese||476,878||107,289||22.5%||14||20||525||908|
|American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese||10,457||4,936||47.2%||1||0||79||132|
|Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA||22,362||6,857||30.7%||2||0||101||221|
|Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America||700||185||26.4%||1||0||2||350|
|Vicariate for the Palestinian/Jordanian Communities||6,775||815||12%||0||9||753|
|Patriarchate of Antioch||Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese||74,527||27,256||36.6%||9||2||247||302|
|Moscow Patriarchate||Russian Patriarchal Parishes in the USA||12,377||1,952||15.8%||1||2||30||413|
|Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia||27,677||8,954||32.4%||8||10||136||204|
|Serbian Orthodox Church||Serbian Orthodox Eparchies||68,760||15,331||22.3%||4||18||163||559|
|Romanian Orthodox Church||Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Americas||11,203||2,158||19.3%||2||1||31||361|
|Bulgarian Orthodox Church||Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese||2,212||989||44.7%||2||2||20||111|
|Georgian Orthodox Church||Georgian Orthodox parishes in the USA||920||345||37.5%||1||1||6||153|
|Orthodox Church in America||N/A||84,928||33,797||39.8%||9||20||551||154|
This is a list of major churches within the United States which are not in communion with the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and are therefore not recognized as canonical by the worldwide Orthodox Church. However, these groups regard themselves as canonical, and may or may not recognize other churches as canonical.
|Jurisdiction||Adherents||Regular Attendees||Attendees as % of adherents||Bishops||Monasteries||Parishes||Average Parish Size|
|Holy Orthodox Church in North America||2,212||1,703||77%||7||27||82|
|Macedonian Orthodox Church: American Diocese||15,513||1,696||10.9%||0||20||776|
Adherents of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Canada traditionally belong to several ethnic communities and ecclesiastical jurisdictions (canonical and noncanonical). According to official 2011 census data, Greek Orthodox community constitutes the largest Eastern Orthodox community in Canada, with 220,255 adherents. It is followed by other communities: Russian Orthodox (25,245), Ukrainian Orthodox (23,845), Serbian Orthodox (22,780), Romanian Orthodox (7,090), Macedonian Orthodox (4,945), Bulgarian Orthodox (1,765), Antiochian Orthodox (1,220) and several other minor communities within the scope of Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, born Rufāʾīl Hawāwīnī, was bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, vicar of the Northern-American diocese, and head of the Antiochian Levantine Christian Greek Orthodox mission. He was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil.
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox church in North America. The OCA is partly recognized as autocephalous and consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions in the United States and Canada. In 2011, it had an estimated 84,900 members in the United States.
Tikhon of Moscow, born Vasily Ivanovich Bellavin, was a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). On 5 November 1917 (OS) he was selected the 11th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, after a period of about 200 years of the Synodal rule in the ROC. He was canonised as a confessor by the ROC in 1989.
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) was an organization of bishops from Eastern Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the Americas. It acted as a clearinghouse for educational, charitable, and missionary work in the Americas. In 2010, it was replaced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
The Archdiocese of America, better known as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, is a jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was formally constituted in 1922 and has had seven Archbishops. The Archdiocese currently covers the United States and one parish in the Bahamas, and is mostly Greek-American in composition and culture.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, often referred to in North America as simply the Antiochian Archdiocese, is the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in the United States and Canada. Originally under the care of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Syro-Levantine Orthodox Christian immigrants to the United States and Canada were granted their own jurisdiction under the Church of Antioch in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. Internal conflicts divided the Antiochian Orthodox faithful into two parallel archdioceses—those of New York and Toledo—until 1975, when Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) became the sole Archbishop of the reunited Antiochian Archdiocese. The Holy Synod of Antioch granted the Archdiocese an autonomous status referred to as Self-Rule in 2003, and by 2014 the Archdiocese had grown to over 275 parish churches.
The Bulgarian Diocese of Toledo is one of three ethnic dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Its territory includes parishes, monasteries, and missions located in six states in the United States, as well as one province in Canada – California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, and Washington, D.C. The former Archbishop of the diocese was the Most Reverend Kyrill (Yonchev), who also served as the Archbishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. After his repose on June 17, 2007, Metropolitan Herman served as locum tenens of the diocese until the election of Archimandrite Alexander (Golitzin) on October 4, 2011. On May 5, 2012, he was consecrated as bishop of the diocese during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint George Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, OH.
The Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by Andrew the Apostle, who is thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, St. Andrew reached the future location of Kyiv and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city. The spot where he reportedly erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral
Western Rite Orthodoxy, Western Orthodoxy, or Orthodox Western Rite are terms used to describe congregations that are within Churches of Orthodox tradition but which use liturgies of Western or Latin origin rather than adopting Eastern liturgies such as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. While there are some ancient examples of Western Rite communities in areas predominantly using the Byzantine Rite before the Great Schism was fully consolidated, the history of the movement is often considered to begin in the nineteenth century with the life and work of Julian Joseph Overbeck.
The timeline of Eastern Orthodoxy in North America represents timeline of the historical development of religious communities, institutions and organizations of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in North America.
The Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia is one of fifteen dioceses of the Church of Bulgaria. The diocese is led by Metropolitan Joseph (Bosakov), however he submitted his resignation on February 26th, 2013, which seems to be still pending.
Orthodox Christianity in Hawaii began with early Russian missions of the 19th century and continues with multiple Eastern Orthodox churches in the Hawaiian islands.
Mark Alan Maymon is an archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America and the current Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.
The American Orthodox Catholic Church was an Orthodox Church that operated in the United States of America.
The Diocese of Berlin and Germany is an eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Moscow Patriarchate, uniting parishes on the territory of Germany. It was established in 1921. The eparchy is divided into five deaneries: Northern, Eastern, Bavarian and Hessen, Southern, and Western.
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