The True History of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolc Church in North America (THEOCACNA)from her being canonically chartered on February 2, 1927 by Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Here we will trace the history of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolc Church in North America (THEOCACNA) from her founding in February 2, 1927 by Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in America (the bishops called herein Metropolia).
The original canonically established Church and corporation continue today as they were established in 1927 (Inc. 1928). All claims to be our successor or us under a different name are false claims by independents who willfully mislead the public and they have no sacramental authority from THEOCACNA.
One such group claiming to be THEOCACNA publish that on May 6, 1998 (an independent) THEOCACNA was finally incorporated for the first time as the Russian Orthodox Church in America by its present First Hierarch, Metropolitan Symeon (Holdridge) of Denver.
This is only one of the groups claiming to be THEOCACNA. Symeon (Holdridge) has an interesting claim to lines and Church history and he even admits that you must use your imagination.
He states "...you must understand that there are two conflicting notions of what a Church is. One is the governmental idea of legal entities. The other is the spiritual concept of the Church is the gathering (Synod) of her bishops". He goes on to state "If you attempt to trace the history of the HEOCACNA, as he calls THEOCACNA, as an entity, you will not have much success and will need to twist the facts to meet whatever your own agenda is. However, if you follow the acts of a clearly discernable ongoing Synodia of Bishops not associated with any other National Orthodox Church, there you will see the ongoing identity of the Russian Orthodox Church in America (ROCIA) as the direct descendent of the Church first chartered by the Russian Orthodox Bishops in 1927".
The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in America has perfect continuity and apostolic succession from the founding of the Church on the first Pentecost until today. It must be noted here that the group calling themselves the Russian Orthodox Church in America is in no way connected to THEOCACNA and never have been. The independent clergy and groups do not!
They claim "Our roots go back to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles. The Apostle Andrew evangelized ancient Scythia (now Ukraine) and accurately prophesied the future site of a Church in Kiev, in Ukraine". Symeon goes on to state "However, Orthodoxy is also united in faith, theology and for the most part, worship".
The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (American Orthodox Catholic Church) is the indigenous and autocephalous Orthodox Church for all of North America. Founded in 1927 by Bishops of the Synod of Bishops in America (the new world) of the Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate. Although the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (American Orthodox Catholic Church) is supposed to have filial and brotherly ties to the Holy Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, nonetheless, we are the canonical Orthodox Church for all North Americans. The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (American Orthodox Catholic Church) is not in communion with the other autocephalous Churches and Patriarchates of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church throughout the World due to the 1929 Schism in American Orthodoxy. The widow of Archbishop Aftimios of blessed memory sat on the corporate board of directors until 1999 when she retired from the board due to her declining health. She reposed in 2000.
The Russian Orthodox Church in America under Holdridge makes false claims to be THEOCACNA and to be in communion with all the Orthodox Churches worldwide. They repeatedly claim the original Russian Synod who chartered THEOCACNA were the Russian Orthodox Church in America since it is the name Holdridge uses since he cannot call himself THEOCACNA. You can see his claims to being Orthodox have been denied by the Ethnic and his re-consecration by Denis Garrison, himself an independent bishop, does not make Holdridge a canonical bishop. After Garrison had laid hands on Symeon (Stephen Holdridge) he was closing down some independent Church corporations and gave on American Orthodox Church over to Holdride, a Delaware corporation I believe, that was allowed to be closed down by the state for non-payment of the annual reporting fee. At the time Garrison laid hands on Holdridge he was not associated in any way with THEOCACNA and is not today.
The first of the Orthodox Churches of the East to bring the message of Orthodoxy to North America was the Russian Orthodox Church who served North America as it's mission territory. In 1794, monks from a Russian monastery founded an Orthodox mission on Kodiak Island, which then belonged, together with all the lands of Alaska, to Russia. By 1840, a Russian Orthodox Bishop had been consecrated for the lands in Alaska. In 1872, his seat of authority was moved to San Francisco, and, in 1905, the Russian Orthodox Church moved its Diocesan and administrative headquarters to New York City.
The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (American Orthodox Catholic Church) gets it's authority from the canonical charter issued by the Synod of Bishops of the American Russian Dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church, sometimes called the Metropolia by the Charter they issued for the creation of theis new American Church. The Russian Orthodox Bishops carried out the will of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia when they chartered THEOCACNA on February 2, 1927, as a separate American Church, an autocephalous American Orthodox Catholic Church.
On May 13 (O.S.), 1917, Archbishop Evdokim (Basil Mikahailovich Mischersky), the Russian Orthodox Archbishop for North America, assisted by Bishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) of Canada and by Bishop Stephen (Dzubay) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, consecrated in Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City, Aftimios Ofiesh, a Syrian Archimandrite under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Bishops in North America of the Moscow Patriarchate Bishop of Brooklyn, New York. Was the validity of Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh's episcopate recognized by Patriarch Tikhon? Let us look at one of several examples that clearly prove that it was;
On August 14, 1921, Patriarch Gregory of Antioch wrote to Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, submitting a proposal to establish his Antiochian jurisdiction in America. However, the Russian Patriarch (who had served as Archbishop of America prior to the Russian Revolution) stated in his reply dated January 17, 1922, "the 'Russy Antaki' conflict must be resolved with the approval of the Russian authorities in the New World and their supporter Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh". In other words, the Patriarch of Antioch must first obtain permission of the Russian Orthodox Bishops in North America including Bishop Aftimios before the 'Antiochians' could establish their jurisdictions.
In 1923, Metropolitan Platon, with the approval of Patriarch Tikhon, elevated Bishop Aftimios (Ofiesh) to Archbishop.
Our Charter is claimed by many independents who claim they are THEOCACNA under our original names or other names and they attempt to claim their line trace, for the most part, through Ignatius Nichols. This is clearly false since Ignatius left THEOCACNA without the required letters in Sept. 1933 and in 1934 was ordaining for an independent Church nt associated in any way with the Orthodox Churches in North America at that time and they were not under a Patriarch.
The completed Constitution was dated December 1, 1927 and stated: "that the American Orthodox Catholic Church is independent (autocephalous) and autonomous in its authority in the same extent as the Orthodox Patriarchates of the East and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches now existing."
"Furthermore, the American Orthodox Catholic Church has original and primary jurisdiction in its own name and right over all the English speaking Orthodox Catholic Christians of the Eastern Churches and Rite residing or visiting in the U.S. and Alaska and the other territories of the U.S., in Canada, Mexico and all North America".
1. It should be noted that the Russian branch of the Orthodox Catholic Church has the oldest and most numerous establishment of Orthodox Catholic faithful and churches in America and by reasons of its first evangelization of America natives and its century of sole Orthodox mission hierarchy in America, it is canonically responsible for the care and development of, as well as authority over, Orthodoxy in America.
2. Archbishop Aftimios was a true visionary. He had the heart of a missionary; and he, like Patriarch Tikhon before him perceived the absolute essentiality of establishing a native American Church. The Charter was issued by the Metropolia to Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh on February 2, 1927 and Archbishop Aftimios became the first Ruling Hierarch of the Church.
THEOCACNA was chartered as an autonomous and autocephalous American Orthodox Catholic Church. Archbishop Aftimios was the Presiding Bishop of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (American Orthodox Catholic Church).
Many believe that Archbishop Aftimios and his successors have been the only canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States since 1929. Archbishop Aftimios died at age 85 in 1966. THEOCACNA lives on as the same original Church Abp. Ofiesh headed and incorporated in 1928.
One independent, Symeon (Holdridge) claims the Ofiesh heritage lives on in the Russian Orthodox Church in America just because they claim to be THEOCACNA under another name. He later renounced his ordination by Garrison.
Another independent group claims to be us under the name the Holy Orthodox Church - American Jurisdiction. Carl Bartholomew who claims to be the successor of Francis Forbes, a former Antiochian Priest who left the Antiochian Church and was consecrated by 2 independent bishops who were also not part of this Church (THEOCACNA) but members of another independent jurisdiction. They claim their lines to Ignatius also. We sued Bartholomew in US District Court in 2010 for infringement and stated identity theft in the court documents.
3. There are many competing independent "Russian jurisdictions" who falsely claim to be canonical but none have any sacramental authority from THEOCACNA. We have detailed information on a website.