Thomas E. FitzGerald


The period from about 1945 to about 1965 was one of slow but gradual transition for the Orthodox Church in the United States. Yet, it was a transition marked by two major characteristics, which appear to be in opposition. First, the political changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union occurring during and after World War II not only affected the condition of the Orthodox Church in that part of the world but also had a profound impact upon a number of the Orthodox jurisdictions in this country. Differences in the evaluation of the political and ecclesiastical situations in the old country frequently led to further divisions among the Orthodox in this country.

The second characteristic of this period of transition was the gradual development of the Orthodox Church from one comprising chiefly immigrants to one comprising persons born in this country and nurtured by its educational system. Although this process had been actually taking place from at least the 1920s, it appears to have become more pronounced in the postwar period. While migration of Orthodox from the Balkans, Russia, and the Middle East by no means ceased, the quotas imposed by the government in the 1920s assured that the numbers of the earlier period would never be repeated.

The changing character of church membership in the postwar period, in turn, provided greater stability for the development of parishes and diocesan institutions for the larger Orthodox jurisdictions, especially the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Russian Orthodox Metropolia, and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. While cultural differences and Old World rivalries did not cease to affect the members of the various jurisdictions, there was evidence of a greater interest in forms of Orthodox cooperation that would bring together the clergy and laity of the various jurisdictions, especially at the local level. There were also some important indications that Orthodox theologians were in a better position to express their distinctive teachings within ecumenical forums.


The Russian Orthodox parishes and diocesan administrations in the United States were greatly affected by both political and ecclesiastical developments in the Soviet Union that began as early as 1939. From that year, the threat of war began to provide a basis for a new relationship between the church and the Communist government. This dramatic change brought to an end the overt persecution of the church by the state that had begun in 1917. Antireligious activities were abruptly terminated and the services of the church and its hierarchs were accepted by the government as the country entered into battle with the Nazis. From the perspective of the church, what was at stake was not a political system but the motherland itself. The most obvious expression of this modus vivendi was that the Soviet government permitted the election of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) as patriarch in 1943 and Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky) as patriarch in 1945. This concordat between the church and the Soviet government would have an affect not only upon the place of Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union but also upon Orthodox Christianity throughout the world.185

Patriarch Alexis of Moscow initiated a concerted effort to strengthen the position of the church in the Soviet Union and to increase the activities of the Church of Russia within the affairs of world Orthodoxy almost immediately after his installation in 1945. Closely related with these goals was his desire to reconcile the dioceses and paradiocesan administrations of the Russian Orthodox in Western Europe, America, and the Far East that had separated from the patriarchate in the period following the death of Patriarch Tikhon in 1925. The Moscow patriarchate clearly recognized that the newfound and limited freedom of the church in Russia could be greatly damaged by the ecclesiastical dissidents in Europe, America, and the Far East. Likewise, the Moscow patriarchate recognized that the attempt to assert its position within world Orthodoxy would be weakened by the existence of Russian Orthodox dioceses in the so-called diaspora that were not in full communion with their mother church.186

The Russian Orthodox Synod Outside of Russia, the Karlovtsy Synod Abroad, presented the Moscow Patriarchate with its greatest opposition. As we have noted, this body united the Russian Orthodox jurisdictions in Europe, America, and the Far East in 1937. The concordat between the church in Russia and the Soviet government was not well received by most of the bishops of the Synod Abroad. Following the election of Patriarch Sergius 1943, the bishops of the Synod Abroad met in Vienna on 8–13 October 1943. Under the leadership of Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), formerly of Kishinev, the eight bishops authored a resolution that denounced the election of the new patriarch and opposed the new relationship between the church and state in the Soviet Union. In a portion of their harshly worded statement, the bishops of the Synod Abroad said: The election of Metropolitan Sergius to the throne of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is an act that is not only uncanonical, not even religious, but rather political and elicited by the interests of the Soviet Communist party authorities and their leader-dictator, Stalin.... The election of a Patriarch and the convocation of the Synod is necessary to Stalin and his party as a means of political propaganda. The Patriarch is only a toy in his hands.187

While many Russian Orthodox in Western Europe and America were less critical of the developments in the Soviet Union, the Synod Abroad clung to its official position even after the subsequent election of Patriarch Alexis in 1945. The Synod Abroad refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the official church in Russia and continued to view its bishops as «pseudobishops» who were the instruments of the Communist government.

Some of the members of the Synod Abroad also looked upon the Hitler regime quite differently than did the Russians in the Soviet Union. Many Russian exiles looked to German National Socialism as an adversary to Soviet Communism. In 1938, for example, Metropolitan Anastasy of the Synod Abroad wrote a letter to Adolph Hitler to thank him for assistance given for the construction of the Russian Orthodox cathedral in Berlin. A portion of the letter states:

We see a special providence in the fact that precisely now when in our homeland churches and shrines are being destroyed and desecrated, this church is founded and built. Together with many other omens, the construction of this church strengthens our hopes that an end is approaching for our long-suffering country. He who manages destiny will send us a leader and that leader will raise up our land and give it once more national greatness, just as He sent you for the German people.188

Shortly after the close of the war in Europe, Patriarch Alexis sent a letter on 10 August 1945 to the leaders of the Synod Abroad. The letter reviewed from the perspective of the Moscow Patriarchate the development of the Synod Abroad. References were made to both Patriarch Tikhon and Patriarch Sergius, who repudiated the activities of the Synod Abroad. Adding his voice to theirs, Patriarch Alexis stated that the Synod Abroad existed in clear violation of the canons of the church that dealt with organization and polity. He referred to the Synod Abroad as a «Renegade Assembly» that had done great damage to the church. In spite of this, however, the patriarch appealed to the leaders of the Synod Abroad to repent of their sins and reestablish a canonical relationship with their mother church.189

Responding indirectly to the appeal of the patriarch, Metropolitan Anastasy, the presiding hierarch of the Synod Abroad, wrote a letter to the Russian Orthodox faithful in January 1946. This letter reviewed the Synod Abroad's own understanding of its development. The metropolitan claimed that the Synod Abroad was organized as a result of a directive given by Patriarch Tikhon in 1920. Having said this, Metropolitan Anastasy affirmed that the Synod Abroad could not unite itself with the Patriarchate of Moscow because its bishops have collaborated with the atheistic government. «Having linked their fate with the government which has never ceased to proclaim its atheism,» he said, «the clergy have lost their power to preach the truth. To please the government, even the highest and most responsible of the bishops are not ashamed to propagate the manifest untruth that there was never any religious persecution in Russia.» Metropolitan Anastasy concluded his letter by stating that any ecclesiastical actions taken by the Moscow Patriarchate against the Synod Abroad would be considered without authority.190

In the United States, the Russian Orthodox Metropolia began to take a more conciliatory position with regard to the Patriarchate of Moscow as early as 1943. In that year, a majority of the Metropolia bishops voted to commemorate in the liturgical services the new patriarch of Moscow. An official delegation from the Metropolia went to Moscow in 1945 at the time when a council was being held to elect a new patriarch. Although the American delegation was not permitted to participate in the deliberations, its members did meet privately with Patriarch Alexis after his election. These developments occurred in spite of the fact that the Metropolia was still officially associated with the Synod Abroad.191

These conciliatory actions of the leaders of the Metropolia enabled the Patriarchate of Moscow to issue a decree on 14 February 1945, that stipulated the conditions by which the Metropolia could be reconciled to its mother church. The essential portion of the decree indicated that the primate of the Metropolia would have to be approved by the patriarchate and that the bishops of the Metropolia would have to abstain from political activities directed against the government of the USSR. Naturally, reconciliation would also mean that the Metropolia would have to disassociate itself from the Synod Abroad.

Indications from both sides seemed to show a genuine willingness for reconciliation. Representing the Patriarchate of Moscow, Archbishop Alexis of Yaroslav and Rostov came to the United States in September 1945 and met with leaders of the Metropolia in order to work toward reconciliation. A series of meetings took place with both clergy and laity. However, no agreement could be reached. For the representatives of the Metropolia, the critical issue appears to have been the degree of autonomy that the church in America would enjoy.192

A significant statement on the status of the Russian Orthodox Church in America was published on 18 October 1946 in the Russian language newspaper Novoye Russkoye Slovo in New York. Popularly known as the Letter of the Five Professors, the document analyzed the position of the Metropolia and proposed a course of action. The authors recognized that the difficult position of the Metropolia was determined by two major facts. First, it had broken its ties with the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1933 and was viewed by the mother church as being in schism. Second, the Metropolia had subordinated itself to the Synod Abroad in 1937.193

Since the time of this affiliation, the authors also noted that significant changes had taken place in the relationship between church and state in the Soviet Union. A new relationship had developed during the war that led to the election of new patriarchs in 1943 and 1945.

Also of importance is the fact that the authors of the Letter of the Five Professors noted that significant developments had taken place with regard to the Synod Abroad. In advance of a Communist victory in Yugoslavia, the Synod Abroad moved its headquarters to Munich, Germany, in 1944. While centered in Serbia, the Synod Abroad had maintained some form of canonical association with the Church of Serbia. However, according to the Letter of the Five Professors, the synod lost the blessing and protection of the Church of Serbia when it moved its headquarters to Germany. Because of this move, the professors declared that the Synod Abroad «lost ties with the universal Church.» The professors then continued:

Subordinating ourselves to this Synod, our Church (the Metropolia) in substance subordinates itself to a group of bishops who really have no jurisdiction themselves. Because of this, some people are inclined to speak only of our cooperation with the Synod. This term «cooperation,» however, is not correct because the acts of 1936–1937 definitely subjected our Church under the Synod Abroad.194

Claiming that the existence of the Synod Abroad had no basis in the canonical tradition and that it was not recognized formally by any autocephalous church, the professors recommended that the Metropolia formally break its ties with the Synod Abroad and work to establish full communion with the Patriarchate of Moscow. Such a new relationship, they argued, should recognize a broad autonomy for the Metropolia that «would remove all influences of the Soviet government, direct or indirect, on our church.»195

The authors of the letter recognized the need for a canonical relationship to exist between the Metropolia and the Patriarchate. But, they also recognized the need to keep the Metropolia free from political influence coming from the Communist government in the Soviet Union.

The Seventh Council of the Metropolia, bringing together clergy and laity from the parishes, was held on 26–29 November 1946 in Cleveland. The majority of the delegates agreed with the general positions expressed by the Letter of the Five Professors. They voted overwhelmingly in favor of a historic resolution that requested Patriarch Alexis of Moscow to unite the Metropolia to his fold and to be its spiritual head upon the conditions that the Metropolia retain its autonomous status and the right of self-government. In the same resolution, the delegates stated that the relationship between the Metropolia and the Synod Abroad was terminated. Finally, the delegates affirmed that the Metropolia would remain a self-governing church even if the Patriarchate failed to accept the conditions of reconciliation.196

While this resolution was approved by a majority of the delegates, the bishops of the Metropolia were deeply divided over the issues. No agreement could be reached among them in Cleveland. Over the next twelve months, it became clear that four bishops were in favor of the resolution, and four were opposed. Metropolitan Theophilus led those who accepted the resolution, and Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) led those who refused to accept it. Eventually, Archbishop Vitaly and the three other bishops left the Metropolia and reestablished a jurisdiction of the Synod Abroad in North America. About fifty parishes eventually left the Metropolia and accepted their authority. The Metropolia retained about 200 parishes.197

Despite these developments, negotiations between the bishops of the Metropolia and the Moscow Patriarchate did not end in a formal agreement. Metropolitan Gregory (Chukov) of Leningrad came to this country on 17 July 1947 and began a series of meetings with Metropolitan Theophilus and other leaders of the Metropolia over the course of two months. The negotiations were suspended when it became clear that the Moscow Patriarchate would not recognize the conditions for reconciliation established by the Cleveland council.198

As a consequence, Patriarch Alexis issued a decree on 16 December 1947 that suspended Metropolitan Theophilus and the other bishops of the Metropolia. Essentially, the Moscow Patriarchate reaffirmed that the Metropolia was in a state of schism. At the same time, the Patriarchate appointed Archbishop Markary (Ilinsky), a bishop formally part of the Metropolia, as its Archbishop of New York and Exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate. With only a few exceptions, however, the clergy and faithful of the Metropolia continued to recognize the authority of Metropolitan Theophilus, who was in his thirteenth year as primate. While it eventually gained legal right to the historic St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, the exarchate headed by Archbishop Makary acquired no more than ten parishes throughout the country.199

The development of the Russian Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States was further affected when the bishops of the Synod Abroad transferred their headquarters to New York in 1950. The Synod Abroad had moved from Sremski-Karlovtsy, Yugoslavia, to Munich, Germany, in 1944. The new move to the United States in 1950 coincided with the migration to this country of thousands of Russian emigres from Eastern Europe and the Far East in the years following the close of the war. As the war in Europe came to a close, Russian bishops, clergy, and laity who were ardent opponents of Communism hid in isolated areas of Austria, Bohemia, and Bavaria. There, they carefully calculated their activities so that they would come under American and not Soviet jurisdiction when the war ended. For many, it was their second escape from Communism. It is understandable, therefore, that these displaced persons looked to America as the land where they could not only practice their faith but also maintain their political views without the fear of Communist advance.

The majority of these Russian exiles became associated with parishes of the Synod Abroad when they came to America, thus breathing new life into this jurisdiction. During the 1950s, the Synod Abroad claimed to have eighty-one parishes which served 55,000 members. The new exiles were not attracted to the parishes of the Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate because of its affiliation with the official church in Russia. Likewise, the exiles were generally not attracted to parishes of the Metropolia. The reasons for this varied. First, most of the Metropolia parishes had a strong Carpatho-Russian character, which was unacceptable to the new immigrants. Second, the Metropolia was on record as recognizing the Patriarch of Moscow, although there were no formal ties to the Church of Russia. Finally, the majority of the Metropolia parishes were composed primarily of American-born members whose attitude differed greatly from that of the new emigres.200

The three Russian Orthodox jurisdictions were deeply divided over issues related to the legitimacy of the church in Russia and the mission of Orthodox in America. It was only to be expected that tremendous rivalry developed. In many places, members of parishes became divided in their allegiances. Civil courts frequently had to determine which party owned parish property. As the cold war heated up, and McCarthyism began to flare, the loyalty of many Russian Americans was questioned because they recognized authority of the official church in Russia and the position of the Moscow Patriarchate. These accusations were aggravated by the anti-Communistic rhetoric of many of the newly arrived displaced persons. The division among the Russian Orthodox jurisdictions and the tragic war of words that was carried on did very little to contribute to the witness of Orthodoxy during this period.

The three Russian Orthodox jurisdictions were not the only ones to be affected by European political and ecclesiastical developments in the postwar period. The smaller Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, and Ukrainian dioceses also were divided over political and ecclesiastical events in Eastern Europe.


The Romanian diocese was the first to experience a division rooted in the political developments in the motherland. A Communist-dominated government came into existence as early as 1945, although King Michael did not abdicate until 1947. In the wake of these changes, a number of those who were associated with the earlier government and who were strongly anti-Communistic fled the country and eventually made their way to the United States.

A Romanian diocese had been established in the United States in 1932. Bishop Polycarp (Morusca) arrived from Romania to serve as head of this diocese in 1935, which came to be known as the Romanian Orthodox Missionary Episcopate. On the eve of the war, Bishop Polycarp returned to Romania in 1939 with the intention of providing a personal report to the synod of the Church of Romania on his activity. Although he continued to maintain some contact with his diocese in America, Bishop Polycarp was never permitted to return to the United States. This fact, together with the political changes in Romania, gradually thrust the diocese into a crisis. A candidate to replace Bishop Polycarp was proposed by the Patriarchate of Bucharest in 1947. However, because of the new Communist regime in Romania, many of the newly arrived Romanian emigres were suspicious of the potential dangers inherent in the church-state relationship there.

A congress of clergy and lay delegates met in Detroit in 1950. At this meeting, Father Andrei Modolvan was elected to serve as bishop. His election was approved by the Patriarchate, and he was consecrated on 12 November 1950, in Sibiu, Romania. When Bishop Andrei returned to this country, he immediately began to encounter opposition, especially from those emigres who had left Romania with the Communist takeover. They claimed that the official church in Romania had compromised itself because of its relationships with the government. Because of this, they challenged the legitimate authority of Bishop Andrei.

Representing the majority of parishes, the opponents of Bishop Andrei convened a congress in July 1951 in Chicago. They declared that the parishes that they represented were completely autonomous from the Church of Romania, and they established a new diocesan jurisdiction independent from the authority of Bishop Andrei. It was titled the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. At the same congress, Viorel Trifa was selected to be a bishop. Since Bishop Polycarp was still alive in Romania and viewed as a political prisoner of its Communist regime, the bishop-elect was at first proposed to be a vicar bishop. A former political activist, he had arrived in the United States in 1950 and became an ardent critic of both political and ecclesiastical developments in Romania.

Viorel Trifa was consecrated a bishop by bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States in 1952. At that time, he took the name Bishop Valarian. Many of the other Orthodox jurisdictions in America viewed the development of this diocese as irregular and the consecration of Bishop Valarian as questionable. Following the death of Bishop Polycarp in Romania in 1958, Bishop Valarian Trifa was recognized by his diocese as its formal head, and he began to seek closer relationships with the Russian Orthodox Metropolia. In 1960, he was once again consecrated a bishop by bishops of the Metropolia, and his diocese began an affiliation with the Metropolia. The diocese consisted then of about thirty parishes.

Bishop Andrei died in 1963. Three years later, a diocesan congress with representatives from about twelve parishes that remained under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Bucharest elected Father Victorin Ursache as the new bishop. With approval of the Patriarchate of Bucharest, he was consecrated in August of that year in Windsor, Ontario. Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was the presiding hierarch.201


Political developments in Bulgaria in the period following World War II also had an effect upon the Bulgarian Orthodox diocese in the United States. The synod of the Church of Bulgaria had acted in 1922 to establish a mission to unite the several parishes that had come into existence. Not until 1938, however, was a diocese formally established. Bishop Andrei (Petkov) came to this country in the same year to head the new diocese. With the outbreak of war, Bishop Andrei returned to Bulgaria.

In the wake of the Communist victory in Bulgaria, Bishop Andrei returned to this country in 1945 and identified himself with anti-Communistic factions. Two years later, in 1947, he led his diocese to a formal break with the Church of Bulgaria. At a meeting of clergy and lay representatives in 1947, it was resolved that the diocese was an inseparable part of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. However, the delegates declared that as long as the Communist regime existed in Bulgaria, they would not accept decisions from the synod of the Church of Bulgaria but would maintain only a spiritual relationship.202

In response to this decision, the Church of Bulgaria refused to accept the actions of the assembly and dismissed Bishop Andrei from his duties as bishop. For the most part, however, the Bulgarian Americans were solidly behind their bishop and firmly opposed to the Communist government in Bulgaria. Under the leadership of Bishop Andrei, his diocese remained in a state of formal separation from the mother church from 1947 to 1962. During this period Bishop Andrei made some overtures to the Russian Orthodox Metropolia to establish a relationship with it. However, no agreement could be reached.

Finally, in 1962 the division ended. The Church of Bulgaria formally recognized Bishop Andrei and his diocese. This reconciliation, however, led to a new division. At a diocesan assembly in Detroit in 1963, the leaders of eighteen parishes charged Bishop Andrei with violating the provisions of the diocesan reorganization in 1947. Claiming that the official church in Bulgaria was a tool of the Communist government, the representatives of these parishes proceeded to establish a new diocese and to elect Father Kyrill Yonchev as their bishop. He was consecrated a bishop in 1964 by bishops of the Russian Orthodox Synod Outside of Russia.203


Division among the Serbian Orthodox in America in the postwar period also reflected political developments in Yugoslavia. The Church of Serbia acted to establish its own diocese in this country in 1921. Five years later, Father Mardarje Uskokovich was consecrated as its first bishop. Following the death of the bishop in 1935, the diocese was directed from Yugoslavia until 1940, when Bishop Dionisije was dispatched to this country to take charge of the diocesan administration. With the postwar political developments in Yugoslavia, Bishop Dionisije became more and more vocal in his opposition to the Communist government, although he claimed to remain faithful to the official church in Serbia.

The Church of Serbia acted to reorganize its diocesan administration in the United States in 1963. At that time, it divided the single diocese into three dioceses. Each diocese was designed to contain no more than twenty parishes each. In the midst of this reorganization, Bishop Dionisije was accused of financial mismanagement and removed from authority by the synod of the Church of Serbia. Three new bishops were appointed to lead the dioceses.204

Representatives from a majority of the parishes refused to accept the removal of Bishop Dionisije and the ecclesiastical reorganization effected by the Church of Serbia. These representatives believed that the actions were based upon political motivations. As a result of this, the representatives established their own independent diocese, with Bishop Dionisije as its head. They declared that this diocese was completely autonomous and free from the official church in Serbia as long as Yugoslavia is under Communist control. In subsequent letters to other Orthodox Church leaders, Bishop Dionisije claimed that the actions taken against him were a direct result of his anti-Communistic position.205

The division led to a series of lawsuits involving the authority of the Church of Serbia over its administration in this country and property rights. The Supreme Court of Illinois at first decided a case in favor of the Bishop Dionisije faction. It ruled that he had been improperly removed from his position and that the diocesan reorganization was invalid. However, in 1976 the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision. The High Court determined that civil courts must accept the rulings of duly constituted religious bodies when they adjudicate disputes over internal discipline and government. This decision was seen as a landmark one for churches with a hierarchical form of internal government.206

Although Bishop Dionisije lost the court case, about fifty Serbian Orthodox parishes continued to accept his leadership. From time to time, he sought to align his diocese with such bodies as the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Alexandria. This was done because most of the larger Orthodox jurisdictions in this country failed to recognize this independent Serbian Orthodox diocese.207


Both political and ecclesiastical developments in Albania also stand behind a further division of Albanian Orthodox Christians in America in the postwar period. The Russian Orthodox Archdiocese set about to organize the handful of Albanian parishes in 1908, when Theophan Noli was ordained a priest. Father Noli was a forceful advocate of the use of Albanian in the liturgical services for the Albanian immigrants whom he served, especially in Boston. In 1918 he became the administrator of the Albanian Orthodox Mission in America, which continued to maintain a tenuous relationship with the Russian Orthodox Archdiocese. Father Noli returned to Albania and served in the Albanian Parliament from 1921 to 1924. During this period, he participated in a synod in 1923 that declared the Church of Albania to be autocephalous. Father Noli was ordained a bishop in the same year. The Patriarchate of Constantinople did not formally recognize the autocephalous status and continued to claim jurisdiction over the church in Albania until 1937.

Soon after becoming a bishop, Theophan Noli was elected premier. However, after serving for about six months, he was banished from Albania in the midst of a political upheaval. After spending eight years in Germany, Bishop Theophan was finally admitted to the United States in 1932, where he resumed leadership of the Albanian Orthodox diocese. He devoted much of his time to translating liturgical books into both Albanian and English. He also became an advocate of Pan-Orthodox cooperation.208

The Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephaly to the Church of Albania in 1937 and recognized Archbishop Christopher (Kissi) as its primate. Through the intrigues of the Communist government, Archbishop Christopher was deposed, imprisoned, and replaced as primate by Archbishop Paisi (Vodica) in 1949. The Patriarchate of Constantinople refused to recognize the uncanonical removal of Archbishop Christopher as primate and continued to recognize his authority. Consisting of twelve parishes, the Albanian Orthodox Diocese in America under Archbishop Theophan, however, recognized the new primate and sought to develop a relationship with him.

Chiefly as a result of this difference, a small number of clergy and laity withdrew from the diocese and sought to come under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In response to their petition, the Patriarchate sent Bishop Mark (Lipa) to the United States in 1950 to serve these parishes. An administration serving no more than three parishes was established in 1956.209


A new wave of political refugees from Ukraine arrived in the United States especially during the period between 1949 and 1955, Among these were clergy and laity who had established Ukrainian Orthodox Church organizations either in Ukraine or in Western Europe during World War II or in the wake of the war. At the time of their arrival, there were already in existence in the United States two separate Ukrainian Orthodox dioceses. One of these, led by Metropolitan Bohdan (Shpilka), was under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It contained about twenty parishes. The other jurisdiction, known as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States, was led by Archbishop Mstyslaw (Skrypnyk) and contained about one hundred parishes. The clergy of this jurisdiction generally did not receive recognition from other Orthodox in America because of canonical questions associated with its origin in the Ukraine in 1921 and the manner by which its first bishops were ordained.210

These new Ukrainian immigrants of the early 1950s generally preferred to remain a part of the church organizations with which they had been associated in Europe. These organizations were essentially transferred to the United States after having been organized in refugee centers of Europe in the years after the war. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States was established in this country in 1950 under the leadership of Archbishop Hrihoriy (Osiychuk). About twenty parishes constituted this jurisdiction. The Holy Ukrainian Auto-cephalic Church in Exile was established in this country in 1954 under the leadership of Metropolitan Polycarp (Sikorsky). About ten parishes constituted this jurisdiction. The life of both of these jurisdictions has been characterized by extreme Ukrainian nationalism and a general unwillingness to become involved in Pan-Orthodox cooperation or witness.211

The postwar period was one in which new divisions arose among some of the Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States. As was the case in the period following World War I, political developments during the course of World War II and in its wake had a profound impact upon the Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The political and ecclesiastical developments in the Soviet Union and the Balkans also had a profound impact upon the Orthodox faithful of Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian, and Ukrainian backgrounds in the United States.

Many Orthodox in America sought to maintain canonical ties to their mother church in spite of the latter's association with Communistic governments. Other Orthodox in America, especially newly arrived political exiles, came to believe that canonical ties with the mother church had to be broken because of perceived political involvement in the latter's administrative affairs. The divisions that afflicted many Orthodox dioceses in America reflected not only ecclesiastical concerns but also political ideologies.

During the period following World War II, divisions within many Orthodox jurisdictions were aggravated by the political and nationalistic ideologies of newly arrived emigres who were strongly anti-Communist. As we have seen, the diocesan divisions usually reflected divergent political perspectives. The new emigres had little concern for the unity of Orthodoxy in America or for the witness of the Orthodox faith in this society. On the contrary, they frequently viewed their diocese and their parishes as political associations that existed not only to maintain ethnic traditions but also to challenge the authority of the government and the church in Communist-controlled lands. Often with little real knowledge of the mission and purpose of the church, persons with specific political ideologies sought to use particular dioceses in order to advance their political and ethnic creeds.

* * *


Dimitry Pospielovsky, The Russian Church Under the Soviet Regime 1917–1982, Vol. 1 (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984), pp. 199–203.


Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 301–325. See also William Fletcher, A Study in Survival: The Church in Russia, 1927–1943 (London: S.P.C.K., 1965); William Fletcher, The Russian Orthodox Church Underground, 1917–1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).


The English translation is found in Wassilij Alexeev and Theofanis Stavrou, The Great Revival: The Russian Church Under German Occupation (Minneapolis: Burgess, 1976), p. 91. For an elaboration on the position of the Synod Abroad, see George Grabbe, The Canonical and Legal Position of the Moscow Patriarchate (Jerusalem: Russian Mission, 1971).


«Letter from Metropolitan Anastasy to Adolph Hitler,» Diakonia 5:3 (1970): 277–278.


«Addresse du Patriarche de Moscou et de toutes les Russies Alexis aux eveques et membres du clerge de l'orientation dite karlovtzienne, 10 aout 1945,» Russie et Chretiente 1 (1945): 120–122.


«Letter of Metropolitan Anastasy, January, 1946,» Orthodox Life 27:6 (1977): 29–36.


Seraphim Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America (New York: Saints Boris and Gleb Press, 1973), pp. 52–53.


Ibid, p. 54.


«Memorandum on the Status of the Russian Orthodox Church in America,» in Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America, p. A137.




AW., p. 139.


Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America, p. 56.


Ibid., p. 54.


Ibid., p. 59.


Constance Tarasar and John Erickson, eds., Orthodox America 1784–1976 (Syosset, N.Y.: Orthodox Church in America, 1975), p. 214.


Anthony Ugolnik, The Illuminating Icon (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1989), pp. 241–249.


See The Romanian Orthodox Missionary Episcopate in America: A Short History (Detroit: Romanian Orthodox Missionary Episcopate, 1967); Vasile Hategan, Fifty Years of the Romanian Orthodox Church in America (Jackson, Mich.: Romanian Orthodox Episcopate, 1959).


Arthur Piepkorn, Profiles in Belief, Vol. 1 (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), p. 79.




Ibid, p. 80.


Some of the documents are published in Dionisije Milivojevech, Patriarch German's Violation of the Holy Canons, Rules and Regulations of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Tito's Yugoslavia (Libertyville, 111: Serbian Orthodox Diocese, 1965).


The New York Times, 22 June 1976, p. 22.


Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America, pp. 94–95; Piepkorn, Profiles in Belief, p. 81.


Metropolitan Fan Noli, Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America 1908–1958 (Boston: Albanian Orthodox Church, 1960), pp. 105–113.


Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America, pp. 92–94.


For a review of the situation in the Ukraine both prior to World War II and after it, see Pospielovsky, The Russian Church Under the Soviet Regime 1917–1982, pp. 73–77, 236–241; Bohdan Bociurkiw, «The Renovationist Church in the Soviet Ukraine, 1922–1939,» Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 9:1–2 (1961): pp. 41–42. Central to many of these difficulties was the decision of some nationalistically minded Ukrainian Church leaders to convene a council in Kiev in 1921. At this council, Vasil Lypkivsky was said to be made a bishop through a ceremony in which only priests and laymen participated. Such an act was contrary to Orthodox understanding of the episcopacy and episcopal ordinations. Lypkivsky then claimed to have ordained others as bishops and priests. Because of this, the Orthodox Church forbade sacramental contact with this group, which was generally known as the Autocephalists.


Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America, pp. 113–114.

Источник: The Orthodox Church Denominations in America / Thomas E. FitzGerald - ABC-Clio, 1995. - 184 / 182 p. ISBN 0275964388

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