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The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which has sometimes abbreviated its name as the "B.A.O. Church" or the "BAOC," aspires to be the self-governing national church of an independent Belarus, but it has operated mostly in exile since its formation, and even some publications of the church acknowledge that it sometimes had to struggle for viability. It has been hampered by the hostility of successive Belarusian governments, a lack of canonical acceptance from the main national Orthodox churches and, in much of the diaspora, a relatively small number of people who identify with the Belarusian nationality.

Members of the church initially belonged to the Polish Orthodox Church that was granted autocephaly by Constantinople following the First World War. On July 23, 1922, at the Sobor in Minsk, the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Metropolia was resurrected. The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Belarus survived until 1938 when it was destroyed by the Bolsheviks. It was revived in the late 1940s. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has attempted to establish itself in Belarus, where most Orthodox Christians belong to a jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. Western governments have accused the Belarusian government of actively persecuting the BAOC.

The present Primate of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Iziaslav (Brutskiy) who resides in the USA. Metropolitan Iziaslav (Brutskiy) was ordained to the episcopacy on February 22, 1981 by Metropolitan Andrey, along with Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skrypnyk) and Archbishop Orest of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. He succeed Metropolitan Andrey, who died in May 1983. Metropolitan Iziaslav (Brutskiy) was elected Primate at the Third Sobor of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church abroad, in May, 1984 in Manchester, England.

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