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The Holy Orthodox Church in North America or HOCNA is a schismatic Orthodox Christian church located primarily in the United States and Canada, with additional communities in Europe and Africa. Originally part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), it was incorporated in 1987 from the community of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts (which had left ROCOR in 1986) and a group of former ROCOR clergy, initially under the authority of the Greek Old Calendarists. Its current Primate is His Eminence, Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston.[1]




Holy Transfiguration Monastery

Holy Transfiguration Monastery was founded in 1961 by Father Panteleimon (born John Metropoulos in 1935), a Greek-American monk. Fr. Panteleimon was ordained a priest by the Jerusalem Patriarchate in 1964. From that time until the Monastery was accepted by ROCOR in 1965, it commemorated the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In 1986, Holy Transfiguration Monastery severed its ties with ROCOR and placed itself under the omophorion of Metropolitans Gabriel of the Cyclades and Akakios of Diavleia of the Greek Old Calendarists.

Formation of HOCNA

The following year (1987), a group of approximately thirty clergy left ROCOR to form HOCNA together with the monastic community of Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In subsequent years (1988, 1991, 1996, 2004, and 2006), five HOCNA priests were consecrated as bishops.

From the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, HOCNA has received a number of clergy and laity who share HOCNA's concerns about these churches' participation in the Ecumenical Movement.

HOCNA communities worldwide

Today, HOCNA consists of seven monastic communities and thirty-one parishes, missions and chapels throughout the United States; one monastic community and six parishes and missions in Canada; one convent, one hermitage and two parishes in Greece; one hermitage and three parishes in the republic of Georgia; one convent and three parishes in Russia; two churches in the Ukraine; one chapel in Belarus; one parish in Switzerland; six churches in Uganda; eight parishes and missions in Kenya. These monastic communities and parishes are served by five bishops and eighty-six clergymen.

Stance on Ecumenism

HOCNA's hierarchy, clergy, and laity take a very strict view of remaining faithful to the apostolic and patristic dogmas, canons, and customs of the Orthodox Church. HOCNA therefore opposes ecumenism and participation in the Ecumenical Movement as violations of Apostolic Canons 10, 11, and 45 (which forbid common worship with the non-Orthodox) and Apostolic Canons 46, 47, and Canon 1 of the Local Council of Carthage (which forbid imparting the Sacred Mysteries (sacraments) to the non-Orthodox).

This akribeia in the interpretation of these canons, together with firm adherence to the patristic maxim that "There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith," have led HOCNA to strongly condemn any Orthodox Churches which have adopted declarations and/or confessions of faith which HOCNA sees as agreeing with the heterodox but contravening Orthodox confessions (for example, the lifting of the Anathemas of 1054 in 1965, The Thyateira Confession in 1975, Balamand Agreed Statement in 1993, Agreed Statement of the Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church Chambesy, Geneva; 23–28 September 1990).

Relations with other Orthodox churches

Generally, HOCNA recognizes the Traditional Orthodox Churches that share their views on the Ecumenical Movement in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia as valid churches. Although some canonical and administrative difficulties currently preclude concelebration, HOCNA clergy will minister to the laity in these other Churches, if requested in certain circumstances, with the permission of their bishop.

HOCNA also maintains ties with the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos and many monastics in the Sketes who are not commemorating the Patriarchate of Constantinople for reasons of Faith in the same way as the Traditional Orthodox Churches mentioned above.

HOCNA is well known to and maintains cordial relationships with the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Church of Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai, and the Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos, although they are not in communion.

HOCNA is not in communion with the majority of Orthodox Churches worldwide, and generally considers these churches to be subject to the Anathema Against Ecumenism promulgated by the ROCOR in 1983 for ecumenism and participating in joint prayers with non-Orthodox, especially those Orthodox Churches belonging to the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the National Council of Churches (NCC). Since ROCOR's May, 2007 signing of an Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarch, HOCNA finds itself in the unique position of still respecting ROCOR's Anathema Against Ecumenism, while the authority that issued it, has fallen under its own anathema.


In addition to the controversy generated by HOCNA's staunch position against ecumenism, there has been alleged sexual abuse by HOCNA[2], both within Holy Transfiguration Monastery (HTM)[3][4] as well as certain clergy at large. HOCNA supporters have dismissed such accusations as unsubstantiated slander and/or libel while opponents suggest HTM and parishes left ROCOR to avoid church discipline.

By ROCOR church decree, no final decision was rendered on the alleged sexual abuse. After HOCNA was accepted by Archbishop Auxentius’ Holy Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Greece, ROCOR's aforementioned decree was reviewed by this Synod, and the case was dismissed on grounds that church canons were not followed.

Also, no HOCNA monastics or clergy at large have ever been formally indicted in civil court nor has any monastic or clergy filed a libel lawsuit for defamation of character against individuals alleging sexual abuse.

Please note the external archive links below supporting HOCNA's position as well as the opponent's position.


External links

Official HOCNA Sites

Anti-HOCNA publications

HOCNA's Defense

The Holy Orthodox Church in North America has made available the following documents in order to refute the accusations made against them:

  • [1] Answer to Pokrov
  • [2] Clarifying the Record


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