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Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (OCA)

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The first [[priest]]s to service the Romanian community did so on an itinerant basis. The oldest Romanian Orthodox parish was organized in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1902, while the first parish in the United States was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1904. These parishes were affiliated with, for Canada, the [[Metropolitan]] of Moldava and, for the United States, the Metropolitan of Transylvania. These metropolitans provided some priests with theological training, but a class of untrained priests formed in America who were ordained by [[Bishop]]s [[Stephen (Dzubay) of Pittsburgh]], [[Adam (Philipovsky)]], and [[Arseny (Chagovtsov) of Winnipeg]]. These two groups formed separate factions that caused fragmentation and conflict.
In 1928, the Metropolitan of Transylvania Nicolae Balan sent Fr. Trandafir Scorobet to survey and report the status of the Romanian Orthodox parishes in America. At a meeting on [[January 30]], 1928, with the Romanian [[clergy]] in Cleveland, Ohio, he recommended reorganizing the church in America with the establishment of an episcopate. Then, on [[April 25]], 1929, at a general congress of clergy and laity in Detroit, Michigan, an Autonomous Missionary Episcopate was formed under the canonical jurisdiction of [[Holy Synod]] of the [[Church of Romania]]. The resolution of the congress was accepted by the Romanian Patriarchate with Decree No. 10210 in November 1930 and the Romanian Holy Synod proclaimed the establishment of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
On [[January 26]], 1935, the Holy Synod of Romania elected [[Archimandrite]] Polycarp (Morsca) as the first bishop of the new episcopate. After his consecration in Europe on [[March 24]], 1935, Bp. Polycarp arrived in the United States and was enthroned in Detroit during the Church Congress on [[July 4]], 1935. A statute for the episcopate was also enacted at the congress. Bp. Polycarp was able to heal the factional disputes by accepting what he found, but expected order and discipline thenceforth. He established the foundations for many church organizations and, in 1937, was instrumental in the acquisition of property in Michigan, called Vatra, that became the headquarters for the episcopate. After formally inaugurating the headquarters, Bp. Polycarp returned to Romania in 1939 for a session of the Holy Synod, but was prevented by the pressure start of a political group World War II from returning to the United States.
During the time of World War II the administration of the episcopate operated in a subdued manner awaiting the return of Bp. Polycarp. After the war, his return was again stopped, this time by the new Communist government from Romania, like a continuation of the previous intervention of the philo-communist group from Washington DC, happened before the Word War II. While prevented from returning he advised his community by a letter on [[July 30]], 1947, that he still considered himself the bishop of the Episcopate. But, later in the year, by a letter on [[December 8]], 1947, he advised that by a law (No. 166 of 1947) funding for the episcopate had been eliminated and the Episcopate was dissolved in the view of the government, and that he, Bp. Polycarp, was placed in retirement.
The next moves were typical of Communists of the time. In a letter of [[April 4]], 1949 to the Episcopate Council of America, Bp. Polycarp wrote that under a new law for the Church of Romania the leaders for Romanian Orthodox communities outside Romania would be sent by the Patriarchate "with the approval of the government." Under this new policy of governmental control, a Bp. Antim Nica was appointed for the American Episcopate, but the [[diocese]] in the United States refused to accept him. In May 1950, at Detroit, Michigan, using a new tactic, an episcopate, the [[Romanian Orthodox Missionary Episcopate in America]], was chartered. An American citizen, Fr. [[Andrew (Moldovan) of Detroit|Andrei Moldovan]], at that time pastor of the parish in Akron, Ohio, was called to Romania to be [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated bishop]]. Although repudiated by the majority in the older episcopate, Bp. Moldovan, upon returning to the United States, immediately began lawsuits for control of the diocesan properties.
Under the leadership of Fr. John Trutza, the efforts of the Moldovan episcopate were turned back and control of the properties remained with the older episcopate. Then, at the Council of [[July 5]], 1951, the episcopate declared itself completely [[autonomy|autonomous]] for both administrative and spiritual matters. The Council then elected a lay [[theologian]], Viorel D. Trifia, as [[vicar bishop]] of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. Thus, he came to exercise leadership of the diocese due to the continued absence of Bp. Polycarp who remained a political prisoner of the communist government of Romania.
The newly elected bishop was consecrated with the name Valerian on [[April 27]], 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by three Ukrainian bishops. Under Bp. Valerian the Episcopate entered a new era of activity, even as he came under continuous attack, first in the media and then in the courts. After Bp. Polycarp's death in 1957, Bp. Valerian then became the titular Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
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