Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
|Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church|
|Current bishop||Bishop Sviataslau (Lohin) of Navahrudak and North America|
|See(s)||Brooklyn, New York|
|Territory||Australia, Belarus, Canada, the UK, and the USA|
|Liturgical language(s)||Belorussian, Church Slavonic|
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire attempts began in Belarus to establish an independent Belarusian Orthodox Church. It is believed that the impetus for these efforts came from the descendants of Belarusian Catholics of the Union of Brest who had been forcibly returned to Orthodoxy in 1795 when Russia conquered the region. Despite the efforts in 1922 of the Metropolitan of Minsk to establish an independent church under his oversight, the Orthodox Church in Polish-occupied Belarus came under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Poland.
It wasn't until 1942 that an All-Belarusian Council in Minsk, presumably organized with Nazi support, declared the Orthodox Church in the region independent as the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (BAOC). When the Soviet Union reclaimed Soviet Belarus and occupied eastern interwar Poland the hierarchs of the BAOC fled into the Diaspora, where they joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
The action of the BAOC's hierarchs was largely accepted, but a small group of nationalists in Germany opposed the dissolution of the BAOC and arranged for new hierarchs to be consecrated for the Church, presumably by the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Despite their efforts the BAOC again gradually dissolved. Its last hierarch, Bishop Andrey (Kryt) of Adelaide, declared the revival of the Church in 1972 under his leadership as metropolitan.
In 1981, Metropolitan Andrey consecrated Bishop Iziaslauv (Brucki) of Polatsk along with Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skrypnyk and Archbishop Orest of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Following the death of Metropolitan Andrey in 1983, Bishop Iziaslav was elected Metropolitan of the BAOC in 1984.
After the death of Metropolitan Iziaslau in 2007 the BAOC came to be led by his auxiliary, Bishop Sviataslau (Lohin) of Navahrudak. Today the Church is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and consists of three parishes each in the USA and Australia and a parish each in Belarus, Canada, and the United Kingdom.