Holy Orthodox Church in North America
The Holy Orthodox Church in North America or HOCNA, also known as the Panteleimonites or as HTM - Boston, is a jurisdiction whose monasteries and parishes originally formed under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After breaking from the Greek Archdiocese and being received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, it broke from the latter in 1986, after allegations of sexual misconduct at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts, citing ROCOR following the ecumenical movement. Today, HOCNA consists of a number [how many?] monastic communities, missions and parishes throughout the United States, Canada, Greece, Russia, Georgia, Africa and South America. HOCNA regards itself as being the last true remnant of the Orthodox Church.
Within the Greek Archdiocese
Archimandrite Panteleimon (Metropoulos), the leader of HOCNA, had grown up in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. During his time in the Greek Archdiocese, he attracted many [approximately how many?] to the monastic life, founding Holy Transfiguration Monastery and with a Holy Trinity Convent. A number [how many?] of parishes also formed under his influence. He had been tonsured as a monastic on Mount Athos where he was advised [by whom?], because of the allegedly increasing modernism and ecumenism of Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America, the primate of the Greek Archdiocese, to break from that jurisdiction and join himself and his followers to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. And so in the mid-1960s, Panteleimon [and those who followed him] joined ROCOR.
Break with ROCOR
In January 1986, four former members of Holy Transfiguration Monastery came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the monastery's superior, Fr Panteleimon. In response to these allegations, the synod of bishops of the ROCOR set up a commission to investigate HTM; the commission consisted of Archbishop Anthony (Sinkevich) of Los Angeles and Bishop Alypy (Gamanovich) of Chicago and Detroit.
The commission presented its findings to the next meeting of the Synod, held in Mansonville, Canada. Six accusers presented testimony to the Synod. Fr Ephraim, Dean of the New England Deanery, spoke in defense of Fr Panteleimon. Fr Panteleimon was questioned, denied the allegations, but agreed to be relieved of his duties as superior. On May 16/29, 1986, the Synod suspended Panteleimon and appointed Fr Isaac as temporary administrator. In a subsequent meeting of the Synod, on November 12/25, 1986, the Synod suspended both Panteleimon and Isaac, and ordered a commission to investigate allegations against Isaac. Fr Justin was appointed as administrator.
In December 1986, despite the decisions of the Synod, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery elected Isaac as its superior. Then, on December 12, 1986, the monastery notified Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov) of New York that it was leaving ROCOR because of modernism and ecumenism.
Fr Alexey Young in his history of the ROCOR writes that a few weeks before the schism, Fr Panteleimon had this to say about the ROCOR:
"The Synod Church [the ROCOR] is a real standard of Orthodoxy.... Therefore, discerning where the Truth is found, we remain in unity under our bishops in the midst of many trials...because grace abides in the Synod... We uphold our Synod primarily and foremostly as a standard of Orthodoxy. All others have betrayed the Truth. This was demonstrated of late by the election of our new Metropolitan (Vitaly)..."
Overtures with the Old Calendar Greeks
On August 19 / September 1, 1986, the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR formally deposed Panteleimon, Isaac, and all the clergy who followed them into the schism . The Synod stated that "...all the clergymen who have withdrawn with Archimandrite Panteleimon who dare to celebrate the divine services, ignoring their suspension, and thus violate the canons and pronounce upon themselves a sentence of condemnation."
Panteleimon and HTM then joined a synod of the Greek Old Calendarist movement headed by Akakios of Diavlia and Gabriel of the Cyclades. After ROCOR forwarded documents about Panteleimon to Akakios and Gabriel, the latter quit the synod. Finding itself with only one bishop, HTM started negotiations with another synod, that of Archbishop Auxentios of Athens (the so-called "Auxentiites"). Despite warnings from Akakios, as well as Panteleimon's previous opinion of Auxentios (once calling him the "garbage pit of Orthodoxy" because Auxentios was deposed for consecrating a homosexual to the episcopate for an undisclosed sum of money), HTM quit Akakios and joined the Auxentiite synod.
In 1995, Maximos of Kephalonia replaced Auxentios. He then asked ROCOR for the same documentation that was provided to Akakios and Gabriel. Upon receiving the documentation, Maximos quit the synod, leaving HTM and the bishops ordained by Auxentios. The latter incorporated a new organization called the Holy Orthodox Church in North America or HOCNA.
Today, HOCNA consists of Holy Transfiguration Monastery and an estimated 30 parishes throughout the United States and Canada, the most famous of which is St Nektarios American Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle, Washington. Administratively, HOCNA is divided into 3 metropolises - Boston, Seatle, and Toronto. HOCNA has three hierarchs:
- Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston
- Makarios, Metropolitan of Toronto
- Moses, Bishop of Roslindale, Massachusetts
All three were monks at HTM under Panteleimon.
- HOCNA Metropolis of Boston
- HOCNA & The Orthodox: a publication of The Byzantine & Antiquities Studies Institute - formerly the official website of HOCNA, now an independant publication.