American Orthodoxy

American Orthodox Catholic Church" short name for "The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America" [Registered Service Mark].

This website contains historic Church information about this Church. We were Chartered in 1927 by the Russian Synod of Bishops in North America of the Moscow Patriarchate and incorporated the next year by Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh, presiding bishop of this Church.

An Article in the New York World Telegram Oct. 1, 1932 included a photograph of Archbishop Aftimios, Bishop Sophronius and Bishop Zuk with the heading "Orthodox Catholics Complete Hierarchy".

The article mentioned the three bishops make a complete Hierachy for the North American Church. This article also states Bishop Zuk was the first bishop in the American Church having no allegiance to any European "headship" (Patriarch).

This same article mentions "His Eminance Aftimios of Brooklyn, Archbishop President of the Holy North American Synod (should read North American Holy Synod) who for the last 15 years has headed the Syrian Orthodox Mission in North America as first vicar of the American jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia". We are the Church headed by Abp. Aftimios and the Synod.

This same article also mentions the recently consecrated Wm. "Ignatius" Nichols but not as a member of the synod.

The point of interest in that article mentions the jurisdicton of these bishops the following: The Church jurisdiction of these bishops is the canonical and historical successor of the Russian Orthodox jurisdiction established for North America by way of Alaska as early as 1763.

Under the ancient Canon Law, enacted by the council of Calchedon in 453 A.D. this can be the only lawful Orthodox authority or jurisdiction in America.

In 1917 Bp. Aftimios succeeded Abp. Raphael and was empowered with all the responsibilities, duties and powers that had been exercised by Abp. Raphael.

In 1927, urged on by the chaotic condition of authority in Russia and otherwise abroad, the Russian Patriarchial Bishops in this country acted upon orders and advice previously issued by the Patriarch Tikhon, of Moscow, and his successor, the present Locum Tenens, Sergius, and Commissioned Bishop Aftimios to be Archbishop and to found and head under a synodical constitution, an independent American Orthodox Catholic Church, and the three bishops pictured in the included photograph made up the Hierarchy of this Church.


Synod article
Bp. Ignatius

First Synod

Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh
Appointed first canonical Archbishop of the American Church.

Bishop Sophronius Beshara,
Bishop of Los Angeles and the only Orthodox prelate on the Pacific coast with canonical jurisdiction west of the Mississippi.

Bishop Joseph Zuk, Ukrainian bishop of the American jurisdiction.

Present Synod

of the

North American Holy Synod

Patriarch Nikon
Abp. Victor,
(Metropolitan 1997-2007)



Chorepiscopus Andrew

Synod Advisors

Archbishop-Abbot Donald
[Successor of Abp. Robert Zieger]
Archbishop James

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It should be noted that over the years bishops who have disobeyed the canons or who wanted to follow old catholic canons instead of Orthodox canons have been asked to leave the Church, resigned and walked away without the required letters and some have even claimed to be us after they left by using out name or a similar name.

In Orthodoxy the canons state that when a bishop leaves the Church he leaves all (sacramental) authority unlike the catholic and old catholic jurisdictions.

These individuals had been incardinated and were not in our Russian (Aftimios) lines. By leaving without the required (orthodox) letters they prove they are not orthodox and under the orthodox canons have made themselves inactive since they have lost all authority from the Church. If they continue in a non-orthodox ministry we view this as blaspheming the Holy Ghost.

We do not recognize any acts outside the canons as vaid or regular and they have no authority to act in our name.

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Most Rev. Victor Prentice
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