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1917-1946: A Tale of Two Histories
:From 1920-1926 and 1935-1946 they recognized the authority of the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; that this is so is almost embarrassingly obvious and true [proof of this recognition of authority can be seen in the list of hierarchs in the Russian Desk Calendar Reference for 1941—see original article for copy of this page from the calendar—PB]. From 1946-1970 they were in effect under no one, for five bishops separated themselves from the ROCOR, but would not recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate, and had absolutely no claim to calling themselves an autocephalous Church. Fully aware of the illegitimacy of their position, in 1971 some prominent theologians of the OCA brokered a deal with the Moscow Patriarchate, one that even the other Patriarchates protested was an uncanonical move.[]
Additionally, there are a number of concrete facts to support this interpretation:
:In 1935 Metr. Theophilus went to Sremsky Karlovits in Yugoslavia at the invitation of the Patriarch of Serbia Barnabas and under his chairmanship an agreement was worked out dividing the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad into four Metropolitan Districts: Eastern European with Metr. Anastassy as the ruling Hierarch, Western European with Metr. Evlogy as ruling Hierarch, North American with Metr. Theophilus as ruling Hierarch, and Far Eastern with Metr. Meletius (in Harbin) as ruling Hierarch... There has long been a debate as to whether Metr. Theophilus subordinated himself and the Metropolia to the Karlovits Synod by this agreement. On the principle that actions speak louder than words, note has to be taken of the fact that Bishops previously under the Exile Synod [in America] accepted the authority of Metr. Theophilus and by the same token Metr. Theophilus was very careful to follow the proper ecclesiastical protocol in asking permission of the Karlovits Synod to give the higher church awards to clergymen as well as in submitting regular reports on the life of the Church in America to Metr. Anastassy and finally in having representation up to World War II in the person of a Hierarch at the regular meetings of the Exile Synod. It is further a matter of fact that at no time did the Exile Synod see fit not to honour any of the requests of Metr. Theophilus (at the same time, in this period, there [was] no acid testing of the arrangement in terms of requesting permission for the consecration of a new bishop) (Surrency, p. 45).
[[Image:Karlovtsy 1935.jpg|right|thumb|250px|The "Karlovtsy Synod" meeting in Serbia in 1935. Seated (L to R): Metropolitans Theophilus (then primate of the Metropolia) and Anthony, Patriarch Varnava, Metropolitans Evlogy and Anastasy. Standing: Archbishops Theophan and Germogen, Bishop Dimitri.]]
Permission to consecrate a hierarch for the Metropolia was eventually requested from the Synod Abroad, however: a letter to Metr. Anastassy dated the 22nd of December 1945, permission was asked to consecrate Archimandrite John (Zlobin) as the new Bishop of Alaska. Permission for the consecration was receuved and it took place on the 10th of March (Orthodoxy Sunday) and the new Bishop promised obedience both to the Metropolia and to the Synod of Bishops Abroad (ibid., pp.54-44).
In November of 1946, at the famous Cleveland Sobor (the "7th All-American"), after a call from Moscow for the Metropolia to renew its loyalty, a vote was held which resulted in the Metropolia's separation from the ROCOR and which declared loyalty to the Patriarchate. The voters, comprised of clergy and laity, voted 187 to 61 to reunite with the Patriarchate in the USSR. The pro-ROCOR faction within the Metropolia was understandably furious, as they regarded the Patriarchate as still compromised by the Soviet power.
The history of St. John's Cathedral in Mayfield, Pennsylvania, describes the 1946 severence of ties between the Metropolia and the ROCOR as a split within one body:
:In 1946, at the Cleveland Sobor, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia indicated that the church headquarters would be moved to New York. A split then occurred in the American Metropolia, and the decision was by approximately half of the bishops to disassociate with the Russian Synod Abroad.[]
The five bishops which refused to submit to the vote at the council—which had not been ratified by a Bishops' Council as protocol dictated, probably because doing so would have ended up with a vote against ratification, as the Council majority was pro-ROCOR—then received a letter from Theophilus indicating their exclusion from the Metropolia.
Theophilus then made a semblance of entering into negotiations with Moscow's representative (Metr. Gregory of Leningrad), but whenever Gregory thought he might meet with Theophilus, the latter was strangely unavailable. Subsequently, Theophilus preached a sermon in San Francisco on [[August 7]], 1947, saying of Gregory: "You have probably heard and read that a certain Hierarch has come here. I tell you, beloved brethren, from this holy place that this envoy would greet us in order to violate our way of life, to abolish peace, to bring dissension and discord" (Surrency, p. 57). The rumor was further spread that Gregory was carrying with him some sort of heavy trunk, possibly an atomic bomb (ibid.). In October of that year, Theophilus held a council of his bishops declaring a postponing of "forming... canonical ties of the North American Orthodox Church with the Church and Patriarch of Moscow" and to "continue, as before, maintaining full autonomy in [our] church life as stipulated by the 7th All-American Sobor at Cleveland" (ibid., p. 58).
The effect of the events of 1947-48 was to declare autonomy from the ROCOR and to have Moscow believe it was about to receive its North American diocese into its fold again only to be rebuffed without explanation. The Patriarchate subsequently declared the Metropolia again in schism and called the Metropolia bishops to answer before an ecclesiastical court for canonical violations and for declaring an anathema on one of its bishops (Makary) who had decided to reunite with the Patriarchate.
By contrast, in the OCA-sponsored book, [ ''Orthodox Christians in North America 1794 - 1994''], the authors state:
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