Russian Orthodox Church in Exile

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The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCE/ROCIE) is a jurisdiction formed in 2001 in protest against and breaking from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), primarily over the latter's ongoing rapprochement process with the Moscow Patriarchate. The ROCE still sometimes uses the ROCOR/ROCA name and regards itself as the true ROCOR.

The two jurisdictions are sometimes distinguished as ROCOR (V) (ROCE) and ROCOR (L) (the mainstream ROCOR), the initial in parentheses referring to the primate of each group.

The ROCE was led by Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov) of New York, who had retired as the primate of the ROCOR, but passed away on September 25, 2006. Upon the formation of the ROCE Metr. Vitaly was declared by the ROCE to have been retired forcibly by his enemies in ROCOR. According to their description of events, he then removed to Canada, where he governed the ROCE. It is contrarily claimed by critics of this jurisdiction that the aged Vitaly was kidnapped and was essentially a figurehead, being unfit for episcopal governance. Courts in Canada and New York have rejected this claim after taking into account multiple court-mandated psychiatric evaluations.[1]

According to its website, the ROCE currently has twelve parishes, missions and home chapels, along with one convent, in the United States; eight parishes, missions and chapels, along with two monastic sketes, in Canada; two parishes and one convent in South America; eleven parishes and missions in Europe; and a "deanery" of clergy and monastics in Russia, at twenty-three parishes and three monasteries. The ROCE also has a handful of clergy and laymen throughout the world which hold allegiance to it but may not have any parish associated with them, and a number of communities across Russia which remain unlisted to avoid unwanted attention from the state.

Notes

  1. New York Supreme Court, Part 34, Index No. 500180/2001, Chemodakov v. Oustinow, p. 11

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