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.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Archbishop THEODORE of Otrada and Northern Caucausus
In the world Vladimir Alexandrovich Gineyevsky, Archbishop Theodore was born on April 5, 1955, in the Kuban of the Otradnaya Region, where he grew up surrounded by catacomb Christians. In 1972, while living in Makhachkape, he became acquainted with the then-Archimandrite Valentine (Rusantsov) and became his spiritual son. Over the next several decades, he became Archimandrite Valentine's irreplaceable assistant. In 1973, he followed Fr Valentine to Suzdal where he was appointed reader in the Kazan church. In 1976 he was tonsured into monasticism. He was later ordained first as hierodeacon and then as priest of the St Constantine cathedral in Suzdal, and finally to the rank of hegumen. Supporting the labors of Archimandrite Valentine, he took a most active part in the regeneration of church life in Suzdal.
In 1990, following the initiation of the persecution of Archimandrite Valentine, he petitioned for retirement, and together with Archimandrite Valentine and the Suzdal believers, he transferred to the Russian Church Abroad. He was then raised to the rank of archimandrite, became secretary of the Suzdal Diocesan Administration, and undertook great labors to regulate the life of the diocese.
On March, 19, 1994, in accordance with a decision of the Temporary Higher Administration of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was consecrated as Bishop of Borisovskoye and Sanino, a vicariate of the Suzdal Diocese. As a result of intrigue initiated by Archbishop Mark and his faction, the consecration was not immediately recognized by the Hierarchal Council of the ROCA. Following the reconciliatory Lesna Council of the ROCA in December of 1994, the foreign bishops recognized his consecration and invited Bishops Theodore and Seraphim to a session of the Hierarchal Synod of the ROCA in New York. Trampling upon their expressed word, at this session, the Hierarchal Sobor revealed their true motive for inviting the Russian Bishops to New York, imposing uncanonical bans on the Russian Bishops. Archbishop Valentine and Bishops Theodore and Seraphim were informed by this Hierarchal Sobor (which wished to remove them as a cause of trouble with the Moscow Patriarchate) that they would remain bishops only if they would agree to never return to Russia, accepting instead residence in another remote place such as Australia. As mentioned previously, at the diocesan assembly of the Suzdal Diocese and the sessions of the THCA, it was decided to cease submission to the Hierarchal Council of the ROCA in view of its uncanonical policies. Since 1996 Bishop Theodore has served as secretary, and then as chancellor of the Hierarchal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROAC).
Archbishop Theodore is ardently loved by the believers for his kind and simple manner and unfailing goodwilll. In the diocese and Synod he bears a huge load of administrative work, helps Metropolitan Valentine in all his labors, and carries out numerous pastoral journeys.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Archbishop SERAPHIM of Sukhumi and Abkhazia
Vladyka Seraphim is a Catacomb bishop who spends the majority of the year traveling all around Russia, Georgia, and other places, visiting his parishes. He is quiet, very modest, and simple.
In order to safeguard the Catacomb communities in which he serves, very little is made public knowledge about the life and struggles of Vladyka Seraphim. It is commonly-known that, in his youth, he was under the omophorion of St Schema-Bishop Peter (Ladygin) (+1957), and he was at one time with Catacomb priest, Fr Michael Rozhdestvensky (+1988). Vladyka Seraphim, a native of the very mountainous Caucasus region, in which many Catacomb communities can be found, has been blessed with the agility of a good climber. In spite of his age, he has used this talent to help repair roofs in Suzdal. There, at times and without the slightest apparent fear or hesitation, he has been seen walking along the roof ridge without rope slings. When he needed to turn around, he just jumped up and turned himself around without losing his footing.
Vladyka is always prayerful, and he knows the Psalter and the entire Horologion by heart. He also has the hobby of making wooden crosses for newly tonsured monks and for parish churches.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Archbishop VICTOR of Daugavpils and Latvia
Archbishop Victor was born in 1944, and tonsured into monasticism in 1988. He was consecrated a bishop on June 21, 1995.
Archbishop Victor is the head of the Latvian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church under the jurisdiction of the Synod of ROAC. The Latvian Church is greatly persecuted by the Latvian government, which desires that all Orthodox parishes within its borders be canonically-subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As a result, on many occasions the faithful have been harassed or arrested, and churches, dwellings, and diocesan buildings have been set on fire or have been vandalized. For resisting submission to the Ecumenist Patriarchate of Constantinople, the ROAC/LOAC faithful in Latvia are denied legal recognition by the government, which, while granting legal recognition to heterodox confessions in Latvia, even goes so far as to deny Archbishop Victor's flock the right to place crosses on their temples.
Vladyka Victor has ten parishes in Daugavpils, Riga, Tukumsa, and Jurmala. Two of these parishes are involved in building projects for the erection of a Cathedral dedicated to the Holy Equal-to-the- Apostles Saint Prince Vladimir in Daugavpils and for the construction of a monastery dedicated to the Holy Protection of Mother of God in Tukumsa.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Archbishop ANTHONY of Vyatka and Yaransk
Bishop Anthony was born in 1925 into a family of Catacomb Orthodox Christians. His parish priest was Protopriest Nikita (Ignatiev).
The future Bishop Anthony was made a priest on the 12th of January 1966 by Catacomb Archbishop Anthony (Galinski-Mikhailov). He was among those priests who were received in 1980 under the omophor of St Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesenski), First-Hierarch of the ROCOR (+1985). He joined the ROAC (at that time the FROC) on the 15th of November, 1991. On the 13th of August, 1998, he was tonsured by Bishop Theodore of Borisovsk and Sanino into monasticism with the name of Anthony, after St Anthony the Great.
On May 24, 1999, Father Anthony was made bishop of Yaransk. He is responsible for Catacomb parishes.
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop HILARION of Smeli
Vladyka Hilarion was born in 1926. He was a spiritual son of persecuted priest Father Mitrophan. In 1952, he entered the Theological Seminary in Kiev, but he was expelled for his connections with the Catacomb Church. He was persecuted throughout his life.
In June 1993, he was tonsured, and on September 19 of the same year he was made a hieromonk by Archbishop Lazar (Zhurbenko) of the ROCOR.
On September 29, 1996, hieromonk Hilarion was received into the ROAC. In 1998, he was made an Archimandrite and then made Bishop of Sukhodolsk. From February 2001 he has been Bishop of Smeli. He is responsible for Catacomb parishes.
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop TIMOTHY of Orenburg and Kurgan
In the world Anatoly Alexeyevich Sharov, he was born on October 3, 1954, into a peasant family in the village of Ivanovka, Orenburg province, and graduated from the historical department of the Orenburg pedagogical institute. In November, 1989, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gabriel of Khabarovsk (MP) and served in the town of Magadan. During his time there, he also completed a correspondence course with the Moscow Theological Seminary.
In 1991, confessing before the Church of God his will to strive “to serve the Church even unto confession and martyrdom”, “firmly standing for the truth, for the purity of the Orthodox faith”, Archimandrite Timothy and his community were received into the Free Russian Orthodox Church (FROC). Later, on November 24, 2000 in the St Constantine church, Archbishop Valentine, together with Bishops Theodore, Seraphim, Victor and Anthony, carried out the hierarchal consecration of Archimandrite Timothy to the bishopric of Orenburg. In the Fall 2002 synod meeting of the ROAC, Bishop Timothy was made ruling-bishop of Orenburg and Kurgan.
Vladyka Timothy continues to serve the faithful in the village of Ivanovka, Orenburg province, in a small church he built, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. He helps to improve church life through publishing educational leaflets, and he sometimes submits articles for Vertograd-Inform Information bulletin (a journal published by members of ROAC from Moscow and St Petersburg).
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop IRINARCH of Tula and Briansk
Bishop Irinarch was born in 1967 into a family of believers in the Nizhni-Novgorod region, where he attended church from childhood onward. He arrived in Suzdal in 1984, where he later met then-archimandrite Valentine, became part of his parish, and, in 1987, was tonsured into monasticism. In 1990, the future-Bishop Irinarch left the MP along with then-archimandrite Valentine and many other clergy and believers, repudiating it, and becoming a part of the FROC. He was later made a priest-monk and eventually an archimandrite.
On November 23, 2003, in the temple of the Mother of God in Suzdal, Archimandrite Irinarch was consecrated Bishop of Tula and Briansk by now-Metropolitan Valentine aling with Archbishop Theodore of Borisovsk and Sanino, and Bishop Ambrose of Khabarovsk.
He is quiet, prayerful, and has served in Suzdal for many years and is well-loved and respected by all. Along with his parishes, he is establishing a women's convent in his diocese.
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop ANDREI of Pavlovskoye
By decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox
Autonomous Church, taken on May 13/26, 2006, (Protocol
#54) Archimandrite Andrei (Maklakov), rector of St. Nicholas Church in
New Jersey (USA) was chosen to become the Bishop of Pavlovskoye, Vicar
Bishop of the Suzdal Diocese. Archimandrite Andrei's consecration to
the episcopate was performed on June 8/21, 2006.
Fr. Igumen Andrei's candidacy (Maklakov) was originally put forth by
the American clergy of the ROAC in 2004. At the Synod of Bishops
meeting on December 13/26, 2004, it was resolved that Fr. Andrei should
be considered a candidate for the episcopacy, and that his biography and
that this recommendation together with his biography should be sent to
all of the bishops for their response.
Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, First Hierarch of the
ROAC, presided at the all-night vigil held in the Tsar Constantine
Cathedral for St Theodore, the first Bishop of Suzdal and Enlightner
of the entire Suzdal region. Concelebrating with him were the Secretary
of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Theodore of Borisovsk and of
Otradnaya, and His Grace Irinarkh of Tula and of Bryansk, together with
a large number of clergy from the Suzdal Deanery as well as clergy who
came in from other cities throughout Russia. Following the dismissal at
the First Hour, in the center of the church, the Order of Election to
the Episcopacy was performed. The next morning, following the blessing
of water, the akathist to St Theodore, and the Hours, Archimandrite
Andrei, Bishop elect for the see of Pavlovsk, made his confession of
faith before the Gospel and the Cross, pronounced his oath and
hierarchical vows to be loyal to the holy Canons of the Church, to the
First Hierarch and the Sobor of Bishops in all things, even if the
people or the powers that be in this world should require him to
After the little entrance and the singing of the thrice holy hymn,
Archimandrite Andrei was consecrated as Bishop of the see of Pavlovsk.
The consecration was performed by Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and
of Vladimir, Archbishop Theodore of Borisovsk and of Otradnaya, and by
Bishop Irinarkh of Tula and of Bryansk. The newly consecrated bishop
partook of the Holy Mysteries of Christ from one chalice together with
the rest of the clergy, and then received their congratulations.
Following the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan
Valentine handed the bishop's crozier-the symbol of episcopal
authority-to the newly consecrated Hierarch, and told him that God
had been preparing Fr. Andrei for this moment for a long time, testing
his patience, humility and loyalty to the Holy Church, and the dogmas
and Canons of Orthodoxy, through many and various temptations. His
service included time spent in Rome and in Denmark. Vladyka briefly
described Vladyka Andrei's life journey, and cautioned him that,
above all, a bishop should not be a scandal for anyone, and should not
lead anyone into the sin of judging, but should lead his flock along
the path of Christ, swerving neither to the left nor to the right.
Vladyka Andrei will be mainly performing his archpastoral service in
the USA, tending to the True Orthodox Christians of the Russian Church.
Afterwards, all present were invited to a banquet held in the church
next door to the cathedral, which has been arranged as a trapeza. After
the banquet was ended, Bishop Andrei conversed with the parishioners
and answered a multitude of questions. Vladyka said that he is an
American himself, who has lived for more than thirty years amongst the
Russian Orthodox diaspora. He was ordained to the priesthood in the
ROCOR by St Metropolitan Philaret, and that he had been under the
spiritual tutelage of His Eminence Archbishop Andrei (Rimarenko) of
Rockland, who himself was a spiritual son of the last Optina elder
Nektary. Vladyka explained that in America, his flock is not large, but
that at the present time there is a split taking place in the ROCOR,
and that many people, priests and lay people alike who do not want to
join the MP, do not know where to go. Many of them are casting an eye
in the direction of our Church since it has kept the essence of
Orthodoxy and continues to hold on to the best traditions of the ROCOR.
"Unfortunately," said Vladyka Andrei, "the most important thing
for many in the ROCOR has been the keeping of their 'Russianness,'
and not their Orthodox Faith. Four years ago, the so-called Patriarch
Alexis sent a letter to the Bishops of the ROCOR, in which he said that
without us, i.e. without the MP, you can certainly be Orthodox, but you
can't remain Russian for long. But for us, for believing people, the
most important thing is not to be Russian, but to be Orthodox. We do
not believe in and worship Russia, but we worship Jesus Christ, Who
spared not His own Jewish nation, spared not the Roman empire, nor the
Byzantine empire, and will not spare Russia either, if it does not keep
the True Faith. For us, what is important is to be Russian Orthodox,
with the emphasis on the Orthodox part, rather than to be Russian, but
"Many in the diaspora," continued Vladyka Andrei, "fail to
understand what is going on inside Russia at the present moment, and
think that the massive effort to rebuild churches and regild their
domes is a sign of a genuine religious renaissance in Russia and
amongst the Russian people. Many are not aware that there are still
catacomb Christians in Russia, who never for a moment belonged to the
MP, or else belonged in ignorance. These people have remained unbroken
by the difficulties that they experienced, have remained loyal to the
Canons and the dogmas of the Faith, have striven to keep their faith
and their consciences pure, and never stained them by joinging with the
false church, which is the MP. And having come to Suzdal, I can now say
that I am convinced that this is so." "In America, we have absolute freedom of religion; this is one of the founding principles upon which our government was established, and therefore it is impossible that there should be any kind of
governmental force, which weighs upon our conscience there. We are deeply in awe at the experience of your Faith, here in Russia, pressured as it is by the state authorities and their sanctioned church authorities in turn, which you have had to endure in order to preserve your spiritual freedom. Of course, the American authorities understand that the MP represents a "church of spies," and that just as earlier it served the purposes of the Soviet government, so now it serves the interests of Putin's government. But the government in the US does not understand our church matters well enough that they could defend the Church Abroad, or Her canonical and dogmatic purity."
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop JAMES of Sukhodolsk
His Grace Bishop James, (in the world, Apollon Viktorovich Antonov), was born on February 5, 1974, into an Orthodox Greek family in a small village in Georgia, and was baptized the same year in the Georgian Patriarchate. After finishing high school, he entered the Physics & Mathematics department of the Dnepropetrovsk State University.;
In 1993, the young student experienced a true conversion to the Faith, began to study the history of the Church, and in the following year, while in Odessa on business, was received into the Free Russian Orthodox Church, and ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Lazar (Zhurbenko) of Tambov and Odessa. He served as deacon in the Church of St. Nicholas the Martyred Tsar until mid 1995. Then, on September 29th, 1996, he transferred to the Suzdal Diocese of the Free Russian Orthodox Church, and was assigned as a cleric to the St. Blessed Xenia of Petersburg Church in Sukhodolsk, Luganskaya oblast.
On August 9th, 1997, Bishop Theodore of Borisovsk and Sanina ordained Fr. Deacon Apollon to the priesthood in the Tsar Constantine Cathedral in Suzdal.
On October 8th, 1998, in the church of St. Blessed Xenia of Petersburg, he was awarded the gold pectoral cross by Archbishop Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir for his many labors in connection with the building of that church.
Soon afterwards, Fr. Apollon was tonsured into the little schema, and was given the name James in honor of St. James the Apostle. On January 28th, 2001, in the church dedicated to the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God "Joy of all who sorrow" in the city of Smela, in accordance with the resolution of the Synod of Bishops, His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine promoted Hieromonk James to the rank of Igumen and Archimandrite.
In 2005, the Synod of Bishops chose Archimandrite James as a candidate for the episcopacy. On February 10th, 2008, on the feast of the holy New-martyrs of Russia, in the church dedicated to the feast of the Holy Cross and St. Nicholas in the city of Suzdal, by decision of the Sobor of Bishops, he was consecrated Bishop of Sukhodolsk, vicar of the Suzdal Diocese.