1917 Archimandrite Aftimios (Ofiesh) succeeds St. Raphel of Brooklyn in 1917, elected to care for the Arab Orthodox faithful under the Church of Russia’s canonical authority. He is consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn.
1921 GOA Jurisdiction Organized: Exiled former Archbishop of Athens Meletios IV had been ordering the patchwork of Greek Orthodox communities in the Americas into a “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese”. In this year, he is mysterious elected Patriarch of Constantinople and, in an unprecedented act, repeals this oversight from Athens and transfers control of his new archdiocese to Constantinople, effectively creating the GOA as it is today. Meletios IV has been criticized for being a freemason, for ecumenism in general, and for participating in Anglican Services in the US and recognizing Anglican orders. Embarrassingly, Rome condemns his behavior. He then convenes a Pan-Orthodox conference to “update” Orthodoxy with the new (Gregorian) calendar, abolition of fasting, and a married episcopate (only the calendar change is enacted). All involved reject this, but he orders the switch anyway, in conjunction with Archbishop Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos) of Athens. Meletios IV is generally acknowledged to have inaugurated the policies of ecumenism within Constantinople that spread then to much of the Orthodox Church. From 1923-1926, the New Calendar was adopted by most of world Orthodoxy. Interestingly, the Old Calendar had been the universal calendar for all Orthodox, including those in the West prior to the Schism.
1923 Jurisdiction formed by some members of Metropolia: Bishop Aftimios is elevated by Met. Platon to Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Mission of The North American Diocese of The Russian Orthodox Church. In 1924, in the canonical chaos initiated by the Bolshevik Revolution, the Arab Orthodox faithful split into two factions, one continued with the canonical authority of Russia, the other wishing to unite with the Church of Antioch. This begins the official presence of the Church of Antioch on American soil, and the situation of full-fledged multi-jurisdictionalism in American Orthodoxy, which is further complicated by the establishment, three years early, of the GOA under the Patriarch of Constantinople.
1927 Russian Synod of Bishops Charters American Church: The North American Synod of Bishops of the Church of Russia – [not associated with the OCA who were chartered 43 years later] act upon advice by Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, further blessed by his successor Metropolitan Sergius to found an autocephalous American Orthodox Catholic Church (our Short name). THEOCACNA becomes, in America, the first autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.
1928 Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh incorporated THEOCACNA: Archbishop Ofiesh, members and clergy incorporated THEOCACNA as a legal entity that continues today as the First Canonically Chartered Orthodox Church in the New World.
1929 Schism created by Archbishop Alexander: GOA Abp. Alexander told Abp. Ofiesh that he, Alexander, and not Abp. Ofiesh was over all orthodox in North America. There was no canonical basis for this claim thus creating a Schism in American Orthodoxy that continues today.
1931 First Western Rite Jurisdiction Formed: Abp. Ofiesh founded the SSB, The Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil.
1932 First Auxilary Bishop consecrated: Archbishop Aftimios consecrates Bishop Ignatius (W.A.) Nichols, a former Episcopalian priest, Auxiliary bishop of Washington, DC
1933 First Archbishop, Aftimios Ofiesh, marries: In 1933, Archbishop Aftimios married and he stated “God told me to marry”. His Synod accepted and supported his marriage. No tribunal was ever called regarding his marriage. He continued as the Canonical Archbishop head of THEOCACNA.
1933 First Auxilary Bishop leaves Church without letters: In late 1933 Ignatius Nichols left THEOCACNA without seeking the letters required by the canons.
1934 First Auxiliary Bishop begins ordaining for an independent jurisdiction and claims title of Archbishop: Ignatius began ordaining and consecrating as an independent bishop for the “Holy Orthodox Church in America”. These acts were not done for THEOCACNA, or in the name of this Canonical Church. Since he walked away against the canons he deposed himself and had no sacramental authority.
1939 Ignatius consecrates Turner an independent bishop: In 1939, Bishop Ignatius consecrated Bishop Alexander Turner, who led the SSB after Bishop Ignatius’ death in 1947, and published Orthodoxy (the first US publication by that name, though the name would later be appropriated by a ROCOR publication).
1961 Western Rite Vicariate Formed: Bishop Alexander (Turner) is received (as a priest), along with the other clergy and laity of the SSB and THEOCACNA, into the Antiochian Archdiocese on the basis of Met. Anthony (Bashir)’s 1958 Edict. It they who found the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Archdiocese, with Bishop Alexander serving as Vicar-General until his death in 1971, succeeded by (currently as of 2008) Fr. Paul W.S. Schneirla
1962 Last publishing of the Tridentine Mass (1570-1962): This will form the basis of the “Gregorian” Rite of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
1966 Repose of Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh: When he died Abp. Ofiesh was the presiding Archbishop President of THEOCACNA.
1970 OCA Jurisdiction: The Church of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate), brokers a deal to establish the OCA, from the former “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America” in exchange for the Church of Japan. This was an attempt to usurp the canonical jurisdiction of THEOCACNA.
1974 Departure of Forbes from the Antiochian Church: Citing reasons of trends in the Antiochian Church and/or neglect of the Western Rite, Fr. Francis Forbes, leaves the Antiochian Church as a priest. He later received consecration from independent Bishops and founded the Holy Orthodox Church, American Jurisdiction. [NOTE: Forbes was never a member of THEOCACNA].
1982 The OCA switches to the New Calendar.
1995 THEOCACNA Synod elects Mariam Ofiesh to the Corporate Board of Directors.
1997 New Archbishop Elected: Archbishop Victor, former Corporate Vice-President, elected Corporate and Synod President of THEOCACNA.
1999 Mariam Ofiesh Retires from Board due to her failing health.
2000 Mariam Ofiesh Reposed. Mariam Reposes 34 years after Abp. Ofiesh and is laid to rest next to him.
2003 Synod declares THEOCACNA the "American Orthodox Patriarchate"
THEOCACNA was incorporated in 1927 and has never ceased to exist. Mariam Ofiesh sat on the Church board of trustees until 1999 when she retired for health reasons. She provided THEOCACNA with a photo of her late husband in his living room in his cassock. Her biography claimed Aftimios intended to continue as a married bishop and he did. THEOCACNA views him as head of the Church until his death in 1966. Many claim to be THEOCACNA under another name, some improperly use AOCC but are provaby not Orthodox and not associated in any way with THEOCACNA.
The Forbes Group under a former Roman Catholic priest made numerous false claims about being THEOCACNA, adopted THEOCACNA’s Registered Service Mark violating US Trademark law, infringed THEOCACNA’s copyright and more. This former Roman Catholic priest with articles on Pokrov.org had claimed to be the successor of Forbes and claimed to head THEOCACNA because he incorporated in Fla under the THEOCACNA name and he claimed the synod members committed criminal acts claiming to be the true synod of the Church.
Today Antiochian priests, among others, publish false information that violates the Sacred and Divine Canons by attacking the good name of Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh, a canonical Orthodox Bishop to the day he died. We believe this is done to make it appear this church no longer exists and that their Church is the rightful orthodox church.
1. The SCOBA Churches are in Schism
2. The SCOBA clergy have no sacramental authority
3. The SCOBA Churches violate the canons by trespassing our canonical jurisdiction
4. SCOBA appears more political than religious.