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The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian church based in North America. While the OCA is in full communion with most Eastern Orthodox churches in the world, the OCA's autocephaly is not fully recognized. The OCA consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions in the United States, Canada and Mexico.: 68 In 2011, it had an estimated 84,900 members in the United States.
Orthodox Church in America
|Primate||Metropolitan Tikhon (Mollard)|
|Language||English, Church Slavonic, Greek, Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, French, Aleut, Tlingit, Yup'ik|
|Liturgy||Byzantine Rite, Western Rite|
|Headquarters||Alexandria, VA, United States|
|Territory||United States, Canada|
|Possessions||Mexico, formerly Australia and South America|
|Recognition||Autocephaly recognized by the Russian (since 1970), Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, and Czech and Slovak Churches|
|Branched from||Russian Orthodox Church (1963)|
|Separations||Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (1924), American Orthodox Catholic Church (1927)|
|Members||84,900 total adherents, 33,800 regular attendees: 68|
|This article forms part of the series|
|Eastern Orthodox Christianity|
in North America
|List of monasteries in the United States|
The OCA has its origins in a mission established by eight Russian Orthodox monks in Alaska, then part of Russian America, in 1794. This grew into a full diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. By the late 19th century, the Russian Orthodox Church had grown in other areas of the United States due to the arrival of immigrants from areas of Eastern and Central Europe, many of them formerly of the Eastern Catholic Churches ("Greek Catholics"), and from the Middle East. These immigrants, regardless of nationality or ethnic background, were united under a single North American diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
After the Bolshevik Revolution, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow directed all Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia to govern themselves autonomously. Orthodox churches in America became a self-governing Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America in 1924 under the leadership of Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky), popularly called the Metropolia (from Russian: митрополия). The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America was granted autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970, and renamed the Orthodox Church in America. Its hierarchs are part of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
Unlike most Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States, the OCA does not have an affinity towards any particular foreign nationality, but most OCA members are ethnically Euro-American, and most OCA clergy are those who are born and raised in the United States. However, the OCA does have other minority ethnic dioceses for Romanian, Bulgarian, and Albanian immigrants. Additionally, as a consequence of history, certain ethnic groups (particularly Ruthenian Americans and Alaska Natives) are disproportionately represented in the OCA compared to the general population. Liturgical and church traditions, such as forms of singing, vestments, iconography, use of Church Slavonic, and architecture broadly reflect those of Russian Orthodoxy.
The OCA states that currently the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, Serbian, and Czech and Slovak churches recognize the autocephaly of the OCA. Among the churches that do not recognize it is the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which argues that the Russian Church did not have the authority to grant autocephaly, partly because the Russian Church at the time was considered to be heavily influenced by the Soviet government. The Ecumenical Patriarch also cites Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, which asserted the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantinople in dioceses located "among the barbarians" (i.e. outside the Roman Empire), as the source of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's authority in the matter. The remaining churches do not recognize the OCA as autocephalous, although they do recognize the self-governing nature of the church. While the subject of political and ecclesiastical dispute, this controversy does not impair the communion between the OCA and the wider Eastern Orthodox Church.
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