ask an eastern orthodox Christian

Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Russian Orthodox Church

Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Russian Orthodox Church

What would you like to know about the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith? Submit your question.

By Nicholas Damascus

What’s the difference between the OCA (Orthodox Church of America) and the ROCOR ((Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)?

The Ancient Christian Church established by Christ and the apostles was, for the first 1,000 years, essentially known as the Orthodox Church. It consisted of five historic patriarchal centers — four Eastern Orthodox Sees (jurisdictions), Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and the See of Rome in the West. In 1054 the See of Rome left the other four centers and marked the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church. 

The four Eastern Orthodox centers continued to be united in faith, doctrine, apostolic tradition, sacraments, liturgies, and services as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church without any alteration, additions, or subtractions from Christ’s original teachings. 

In later years, through missionary efforts, other jurisdictions were founded and added to the Eastern Orthodox Church as in the churches of Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and many more. 

The OCA (Orthodox Church of America) and ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), with some traditional differences, are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, “the one holy, catholic (not Roman Catholic), and apostolic Church established by Christ and the Apostles.” All Eastern Orthodox jurisdictional churches, as in Greek Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Alexandrian Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, etc., are the same Church and are in full communion with each other. 

All the bishops, metropolitans, or patriarchs of all jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church are equal in their sacramental office when it comes to voting in any ecumenical council. Given this structure, the EOC from the beginning has always been conciliar and not governed by one individual as in the Roman Catholic Church. 

More detailed information can be found at the following site about the Orthodox Church of America (0CA) https://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Church_in_America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)  https://orthodoxwiki.org/Russian_Orthodox_Church_Outside_Russia

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