The term All-American Sobor applies to the periodic general councils of the North American diocese of the Church of Russia. This term was superseded by the All-American Council with the granting of autocephaly by the Mother Church of Russia, the last Sobor also being the first Council under autocephaly.
The idea of holding a general meeting of the clergy and laity of the diocese arose during clergy meetings conducted by Abp. Tikhon during 1905. The feeling among the clergy present at these meeting was supportive and viewed as a return to the canonical and ecclesiastical norms of the church. Initially proposed to be held in New York after the transfer of the diocesan see from San Francisco, the site of the first Sobor was set for Mayfield, Pennsylvania. The representation established for Mayfield Sobor included in addition to the bishops priests from all the parishes and one lay delegate from each parish.
First All-American Sobor
The first Sobor of the Orthodox diocese in America was convened on March 5, 1907. The Sobor began with a prayer service at the St. John the Baptist Church in Mayfield, followed by a greeting from Abp. Tikhon and the election of Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky as chairman. As he was not able to assume the position due to other responsibilities during the Sobor, Abp. Tikhon named Leonid Turkevich, who had received the second most votes, to be chairman. The principal business of the Sobor was to establish the diocese on a more formal and legal basis, including establishing a statute for the diocese, regularizing the financial basis for the diocese, and under Abp. Tikhon’s guidance recognition of the diversity in the diocese in regard rituals and usage. But, the Sobor ended on a sad note as Abp. Tikhon announced his departure for America and return to Russia.
Second All-American Sobor
The second Sobor was originally planned to be held in 1918 after Abp. Evdokim returned from the All-Russia Sobor of 1917. However, with the chaos caused by the Red October Revolution in Russia and the extended sessions of the Russian Sobor into 1918, as well as disruptions in the United States caused by the events in Russia, the second All-American Sobor was delayed until 1919. The Second All-American Sobor was convened on February 12, 1919 at the St. Theodosius Church in Cleveland, Ohio and continued until February 15.
Among the actions taken during the Sobor were election of Abp. Alexander as the diocesan bishop since Abp. Evdokim was not returning, the establishment of a Financial Administration to handle the financial crisis caused by the loss of funding from Russia, authorizing return of Ukrainian Uniates in Canada to the Orthodox Church as members of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church,