This is the official website and authoritative voice of the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AUTONOMOUS CHURCH OF AMERICA (ROAC). No other English language based website (other than the sites linked herein) claiming to speak for His Eminence, Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, or any of the individual Hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AUTONOMOUS CHURCH (ROAC), should be considered as genuine or valid.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
1) 1) We believe that the Orthodox Church was instituted by God through the power of the Holy Spirit being One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic and is neither of man nor a product of the human mind, but is by the revelation of Jesus Christ. This revelation was preached by the Divine Apostles, confirmed by the Holy Ecumenical Councils, passed down by the wisest and greatest teachers in the world, and sealed by the blood of the martyrs. Therefore, the Church neither adds nor subtracts anything from what She has received from Christ through the Prophets, Apostles, and Holy Fathers. For this reason, She remains steadfast in the decisions of the Ecumenical and Pan-Orthodox councils. We reject the idea that the Church is a form of piety which is the fruit of a philosophical or historical evolution, or the fruit of human reason and ingenuity.
The desired purpose of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church in America is to evangelize in order to bring about purification, enlightenment, and divinization in Christ of those living in the United States. To this end, She preserves unsullied the Apostolic faith and Tradition as the sole means of salvation and the sole route to perfection. This faith was revealed and entrusted to the Church by God the Word Himself. The Church has therefore a missionary nature; and thus seeks to pass on the light of Orthodoxy to those who are outside of Her and bring everyone into Her bosom.
3) We accept and revere all the Holy and Ecumenical Councils, as well as the decisions of the Quintisext Council of 692, the First-Second Council of 879 held in Constantinople under St. Photius the Great, and the Tome of the Synod of Blachernae held in 1351 under St. Gregory Palamas (and the holy Patriarch Kallistos I) as having ecumenical and catholic force. We also love and obey the decisions of the Holy Pan-Orthodox Councils of 1583, 1587, and 1593, which condemned the so-called “Frankish” or “New” Calendar (instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582) as a departure from the catholicity of the Church. In respect to this, we acknowledge as a generally accepted and universally binding monument of the Orthodox Faith, the Patriarchal Tome of 1756 regarding the Baptism of heterodox, as well as the Synodal Singilion of 1848 pronounced by the Patriarchs of the East. The mission of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church is identical to the mission of Christ's whole Church; i.e., by means of divine grace (in which man can participate or acquire through the Mysteries of the Church), a correct confession of the Orthodox faith, and the struggle to keep God's commandments, She seeks to save all Her members and bring them to a state of spiritual perfection, which is a sanctification and deifying union with God Himself.
4) The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. As such, She cannot recognize any heterodox church or religious community outside Her as a parallel expression of the Catholic faith or continuation of the Church of Christ and the Apostles. The Orthodox Church confesses one Baptism and one Eucharist, just as Christ is one hypostasis and one person. The Orthodox Church pursues Her sanctifying mission of salvation through Orthodox faith, acts, and divine vision, but more particularly though the highest communion between God and man in the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. There can be no division or sundering of the catholicity of the Church such as the heresy of Ecumenism, which falsifies and adulterates the true faith and tradition. There can only be a falling away from the catholicity of the Church; for that which is whole is not subject to division. For this reason, Ecumenism is the greatest temptation today for the Orthodox, who are called to emulate Christ in the desert and reproach Satan, resisting the temptations of the “favors,” the “glory,” and the “kingdoms of the world,” which it promises in exchange for the soul.
5) Thus, the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church continues the Holy Tradition of the truth of the Orthodox Catholic Church, introducing no innovation and revering the holy struggle of our predecessors. Since the 4th century, the Church's unity has been expressed through the use of a single calendar, which was established at the First Ecumenical Council for that very purpose. Its acceptance in the liturgical life and the Eucharistic experience of the Church has been reaffirmed time and again since then, both through Synodal acts and through oral tradition. She prays that those who follow the “New” Calendar innovation will return to the Sacred Tradition of the Holy Ecumenical Councils. The Calendar change was instituted unilaterally in 1924, at first in the Greek Church and in the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and then slowly spread like a disease to other local Churches (but never universally), thus opposing the catholicity of the Church both in its method of implementation and in its goal. The unilateral introduction of the “New” Calendar was an uncanonical and uncatholic act of local hierarchs that violated the external manifestation of the catholicity and solidarity of the world-wide Orthodox Church. The changing of the calendar was an attempt to conform the external signs of Church's unity to the heterodox churches of Western Europe, at the expense of unity within the Orthodox Church Herself. The calendar change was the result of a secularized mentality that suffered from an inferiority complex toward the West and it was only forced through during a time of national disaster. The Church calendar is one of the external manifestations of the unity of the Orthodox Churches, and to dispose of it in favor of unity with heretical churches is to violate the catholicity of the Church.
6) The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church within America has no relations or communion with the local Churches which have accepted the calendar innovation (i.e., adopted the Gregorian calendar of the Vatican), nor with the Churches which have any communion with the pan-heresy of Ecumenism and which belong to the World Council of Churches. The contemporary movement of Ecumenism is the result of thinking that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ has lost her catholicity due to theological and political quarrels. It seeks to reconstitute the Church's lost catholicity by uniting the split parts and restoring Eucharistic communion with heterodox groups without first reaching a common theological stance. Participation in the World Council of Churches (an organization which embodies the feeling of lost catholicity and seeks to restore it) on the part of local Orthodox Churches is a radical denial that the Orthodox Church is the totality of the Church of Christ. It presupposes the denial of the existence of authentic ecclesiastical catholicity today and it recognizes the need to reconstitute a “truly authentic” catholicity.
7) When our Lord Jesus Christ asked His apostles and disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” the Apostle Peter confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And straightway Christ answered, saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but My Father, Which is in heaven. And I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail over It” (Matt. 16, 15-19). The rock upon which Christ built His Church is precisely that confession of the truth expressed by St. Peter, which the heavenly Father revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, His Son, and Word. This confession binds the Church together and makes Her one body, capable of receiving divine illumination, able and sufficient to assemble at the Eucharistic table.
8) The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America, whose jurisdiction extends throughout the United States of America, recognizes that one of the greatest dangers to the Church and Her members is secularization. Within the mind of the Church, secularization is a heresy threatening Her very foundations. Especially today, secularization is capable of destroying our unity and particularly the Orthodox lifestyle. Secularization is any action that pushes aside the workings of the Holy Spirit, seeking to promote lust for worldly power in the Church, whether in pastoral work, missionary work, or governmental duties of all Her faithful members, both clergy and laity. Secularization is one of the greatest dangers for the human dimension of the Church, since it slowly eats away at the Orthodox lifestyle and mindset.
9) The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church imparts the mysteries to Her faithful members in accordance with age-old Orthodox tradition, inasmuch as She bears responsibility for their souls. The Orthodox Church always recognizes as valid, canonical, and efficacious only those mysteries performed within Herself. Those outside the Orthodox Church (heterodox and non-Christians) who wish to become members of the Church, are accepted after rejecting every heresy (especially the one to which they belonged) and are usually received through baptism and chrismation, unless the Holy Canons permit some economy.
10) We regard the “Moscow Patriarchate” (since its re-establishment in 1943 under Joseph Stalin and still to this day) as a schismatic and heretical sect that separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1927 under Metropolitan Sergius and continues to remain until now in that evil schism. Sergianism is an ideology that attempts to reconcile the mission of the Church in the world with the mission of secular government. In his 1927 declaration, Metropolitan Sergius stated that the joys and the sorrows of the Soviet Union were the joys and the sorrows of the Church. By this declaration, Metropolitan Sergius, in effect, committed the same betrayal of the Faith that those in ancient times committed by offering incense to the idols in order to satisfy the demands of the authorities of the day. Since the time of that betrayal, even though the “Moscow Patriarchate” has become very powerful in the eyes of the world, the basic fact remains that their organization has developed outside of membership in the Church of Christ. Until the recent unification of ROCOR with the “Moscow Patriarchate,” the true Russian Orthodox Church had either fled abroad forming the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) or had gone into the catacombs. Over two hundred (200) of these catacomb communities have joined the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. We neither have communion with nor recognize the pseudo-synagogue known as the “Moscow Patriarchate” nor any of the so-called “churches” that are in communion with it or admit that the MP possesses the sacramental grace of the Church. One such group is the Synod headed by Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili. According to their ecclesiology, the grace of the Church can exist in churches that are schismatic, contrary to the 1st Canon of St. Basil the Great. (For a more in-depth examination of this question, see the excellent articles below written by His Grace, the late Bishop Gregory Grabbe, and by Vladimir Moss).
DUBIOUS ORTHODOXY OF METROPOLITAN CYPRIAN - by Bishop Gregory Grabbe
CAN HERETICS HAVE THE GRACE OF SACRAMENTS (A critical examination of the heretical ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili) - by Vladimir Moss