Traditional, Old Believers and New Generation Orthodox Churches

I.  Traditional, Old Believers,  and New Generation Orthodox Churches

This is a list of “Non-Canonical but Historically Orthodox Churches“. By “historically Orthodox” mean that a given Church, even though unrecognized by any of the nine Patriarchates, continues to follow the liturgical and canonical traditions and the theological teachings characteristic of Eastern Orthodoxy. Furthermore, there has to be a demonstrably unbroken succession — by episcopal consecration — to at least one of the Patriarchates. (Obviously, I’m writing as a Roman Catholic).

Here goes:

Six Categories:

1. Popovtsy Old Believers / Old Ritualists
2. Unrecognized Patriarchates / National Churches
3. Greek / Balkan Old Calendarist Churches
4. Russian “True Orthodox” Churches
5. Western-Rite Orthodox Churches
6. Other independent jurisdictions

I. Popovstsy Old Believer / Old Rite Orthodox / Russian Orthodox Old Rite

1. Belokrinitskaya Hierarchy / Belokrinitskoe soglasie – tracing its roots to St. Ambrose of Sarajevo in 1846, comprised of two churches in communion with each other:

i. Russian Orthodox Old Rite Church – based in Moscow
ii. Lipovan Orthodox Old – Rite Church– based in Romania

2. Novozybkovskaya hierarchy / Russian Old Orthodox Church / Old Believer “Patriarchate of Moscow” (tracing its roots to Nikola of Saratov in 1923)

3. Slavo-Georgian (Iberian) Old-Orthodox Church (break-away from the Russian Old Orthodox Church)

4. Old Orthodox Church of Russia (break-away from the Russian Old Orthodox Church)

5. Clementite” Old Believers (of doubtful apostolicity and probably no longer in existence)

II. Unrecognized Patriarchates / “National Churches” claiming Autocephaly / Autonomy

A. Claimants for Ukrainian Autocephaly

Two major claimants:

1. Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP)
2. Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) – Met. Mefodiy

Other, minor groups. The last two are active mainly in the diaspora.

3. UAOC Eparchies (Ihor Isichenko of Kharkiv and Poltava, etc.) that do not recognize Met. Mefodiy and commemorate Met. Constantine of the UOCOFUSA

4. Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – Canonical / Sobrapovorna (breakaway from UAOC) under “Patriarch Moisey” (Oleh Kulik). – Despite its name, it is notorious for its canonical infractions and heresies. In 2008 its “Metropolia of France” together with several of its bishops, seceded and joined a truly vagante organization, the “American Orthodox Catholic Church”

5. (Autonomous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (breakaway from UAOC, formerly formed one group with “Sobrapovorna” group)

Note: AUOCA has a Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of its own in addition to the Russian “True Orthodox” with which it is in communion

B. Other Unrecognized Patriarchates & National Churches

1. Macedonian Orthodox Church
2. Montenegrin Orthodox Church
3. Alternative Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
4. Orthodox Church of Italy (under the late Metropolitan Antonio (Rossi))
5. Abkhazian Orthodox Church (breakaway from Georgian Patriarchate; currently has no hierarch, and is now seeking entrance into the Moscow Patriarchate as an Autonomous Church)
6. Autonomous Orthodox Catholic Church of Portugal (Portuguese bishops and most priests in schism from Poland since 2000)
7. Belarusan Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Met. Iziaslau)
8. Italo-Greek Orthodox Church (entirely US-based)

(note: the UOC-KP or Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate is in communion with the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church of Italy, and the Alternative Bulgarian Synod. They all were apparently in communion with the Montenegrin Orthodox Church until recently, when communion was broken due to certain allegedly uncanonical acts of the latter)

III. Greek Orthodox “Old Calendarist” Churches – Paleoimerologites

A. Florinites — via the Synods of Akakios and Auxentios

Strict Ecclesiologists” / “Closed Communion” Groups

Note: All of these use the name “Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece” or “True Orthodox Church of Greece”

1.Synod of Chrysostomos (Kiousis) / Chrysostomites / Kiousites – by far the largest Old Calendarist Synod, reputedly followed by 70% of all Old Calendarists.
a. Serbian True Orthodox Church – no hierarch of its own; under the oversight of the Kiousite Synod.

2. Synod of Makarios / Lamian Synod / Lamians – broke away from the Synod of Chrysostomos in the early 2000’s

3. Bishop Niphon and another bishop – broke away from Lamians in 2006

4. Synod of Maximos of Athens / Auxentites – a tiny group, made up of the clergy and bishops who had remained loyal to the late Archbishop Auxentios of Athens after most of the Auxentite Synod ousted Auxentios and proclaimed Chrysostom Kiousis as Archbishop of Athens in 1986.

5. Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston (HOMB) formerly known as HOCNA (Holy Orthodox Church of North America). Known also as “Bostonites” and is classified as “Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist” but has a large “Russian True Orthodox” following and is actually in its origins a ROCOR break-away group. Following this group’s schism from ROCOR in 1986 it went under Archbishop Auxentios’s Synod, later headed by Archbishop Maximos. A few years later, following Auxientios’ repose, the bishops of what became HOCNA broke away from the Synod of Maximos.

a. Georgian True Orthodox Church (no hierarch of its own, and is under HOMB)

Note: None of these five “Closed Communion” Old Calendarist groups are in communion with each other or with any other Church

B. Moderate / “Open Communion” Groups

1. Synod of Cyprian / Cyprianites / Synod in Resistance (includes the Diocese of Alania, which religiously dominates South Ossetia) — is in communion with the Romanian and Bulgarian Old Calendarists (see below).

2. Metropolia of Avlon (Angelos) / Synod of Angelos of Avlon – broke away from Lamians then went into communion with Milan

Note: All these three groups trace their origins to the Florinite Synod of Auxentios. Milan and Avlon are in communion with each other

B. Matthewites

1. Synod of Nicholas
2. Synod of Gregory
3. Synod of Kyrikos (in communion with a splinter Romanian Orthodox Old Calendar group that traces its orders to ROCOR)
4. Faction of Chrysostomos of Salonika

(The Cypriot Old Calendarists are mostly Matthewites, splintered into supporters of Nicholas and – mostly — Kyrikos)

C. Other Old Calendarist Churches

3. Old Calendar Church of Romania (in communion with Synod of Cyprian)
4. Old Calendar Church of Bulgaria (in communion with Synod of Cyprian)

IV. Russian “True Orthodox” Churches

A. Breakaways from ROCOR (see also “HOCNA” above)

1. Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) under Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal

2. Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC) under Metropolitan Tikhon / Russian Catacomb Church / Tikhonites / Lazarites (after the late Lazar Zhurbenko)

3. ROCOR-PSCA – Agafangel (in communion with the Synod in Resistance and the Bulgarian and Romanian Old Calendarists)

4. Synod of Archbishop Gregory of Denver (breakaway from ROAC)

The following four churches are the splinters of the ROCOR-V that formed in 2001 around the late Metropolitan Vitaly.

5. ROCIE (former ROCOR-V) under Vladimir, Bartholomew (too sick to function) and Anastassy of Vladivostok
6. ROCOR-A or ROCIE-A (Anthony Orlov and Victor Pivovarov)
7. Breakaway from ROCOR-A group of Damascene (Balabanov) and Ioann (Zinoviev) of “Russian Orthodox Church-Archierarchical Synod”
8. ROCIE – Anthony of Belstk and Moldova and single-handed consecrations (allegedly with ROCOR-V Bartholomew’s consent)

B. Other Russian “True Orthodox” Churches

1. Russian True Orthodox Church – Metropolia of Moscow (under Metropolitan Vyacheslav and in communion with and originating from the UAOC of Met. Mefodiy)
2. Russian True Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Rafail
3. Russian Catacomb Church under Bishop Ambrose von Sievers / “Andrewites” (note: of doubtful apostolic succession)
4. Rusyn True Orthodox Church – in western Ukraine
5. The small group of deposed MP Bishop Diomid of Chukotka

(There are many others)

Note: The Greek Old Calendarist Orthodox Synods of Chrysostomos, Makarios, Kyrikos and the HOMB have “Russian True Orthodox” parishes in the Russian diaspora. Makarios and Kyrikos have their own Russian dioceses.

The Synod of Milan and the Synod of Gregory of Denver, although generally classified as Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist, are actually Russian in origin.

The Synod of Cyprian has a few Russian parishes and monasteries in the USA

V. Western Orthodox Churches

1. The Communion of Western Orthodox Churches, made up of the following Churches:

a. Celtic Orthodox Church of Bishop Maelruain
b. French Orthodox Church
c. Orthodox Church of the Gauls

2. L’ECOF (Catholic-Orthodox Church of France) – (originally canonical under the Russians then under Romania, became “vagante” in the 1990’s)

3. Lusitanian Orthodox Church
4. Milanese Apostolic Catholic Church

VI. Other Independent Jurisdictions

1. Apostolic Orthodox Church – a small Russian group in communion with UAOC (very liberal

Alternative Orthodox Structures: An Overview

As already seen, all canonical Orthodox Churches are in full or at least partial communion with each other. In competition or in parallel with this worldwide structure, some non-canonical Orthodox Churches have established their own inter-communion structures, as follows:

1)The UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate has been vigorously seeking inter-communion with as many other “non-canonical” Orthodox Churches as possible. At present, it is in communion  with the following:

• Alternative Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (no more, since Metropolitan Innocent abandoned his functions and actually the Alternative Synod is presided by Metropolitan Gervasios)

• Macedonian Orthodox Church

• Orthodox Church of Italy (Since the demise of Metropolitan Antonio Di Rosso,  Orthodox Church in Italy does not exist anymore, even though the place was take invalidate by  Basilio Grillo Micei

2) The UAOC – Met. Mefodiy is in communion with the Russian True Orthodox Church under Met. Vyacheslav as well as with the tiny “Apostolic Orthodox Church” of Fr. Gleb Yakunin in Russia.

3) The (Autonomous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America is in communion with the Russian True Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Rafail (since the ex-comunion of Metropolitan Benedict they have no communion with Raphail)

4) Old Calendarist Inter-Communion

a) The Synod of Cyprian and the Old Calendar Churches of Romania and Bulgaria as well as ROCOR-PSCA are in communion with each other

b)The Holy Synod of Milan is in communion with the Synod of Avlon (Met. Eulogios of Milan has rejected his episcopacy and proclaims himself in Communion with Moscow Patriarchate without any formal response from Moscow), hence other bodies of Traditional Orthodoxy like  Synod of Patristic Calendar ( “Avolon Synod”) no more consider Milan Synod in existence. The “Avlon Synod” is in full communion with True Orthodox Church of Rusia of Metropolitan Raphail, and the Autónomous Metropolis of USA and Britain Isles of Met. Jhon of New York)

5) Italo-Greek Orthodox, Milanese Apostolic Catholic Church and Lusitanian Orthodox Church are all in communion with each other (all use the Old Calendar but are not considered as part of the Old Calendarist – TOC movement).

As per information, the Holy Metropolitan Synod (GOX) of Patristic Calendar of Metropolitan Angelos of Avlon,  have two Metropolitan’s: Christophor of Tblisi, and Metropolitan Ioatam of Abhazia, both ex members of the Patriarchate of Georgia, who have nestablished the True Orthodox Church of Georgia.

In Latin American Church has receives a TOMOS of autonomy since the 10th of November of 2010 in order to establish the Orthodox Church of  Latin America, in dependence (sinodically) to the Synod of Avlon but independent in the governance. In future its aims to become the Latin American Synod in dependence to  Metropolitan Angelos.)


II. Traditional, and New Generation Oriental Orthodox Jurisdictions

There a number of schismatic or non-canonical jurisdictions within the Oriental Orthodox family. Some of them have separated from the mainline Oriental Orthodox Churches due several ecclesiastical and administrative reasons whereas many other claim their historical connections with Oriental Orthodox Churches or their hierarchy. It is important to note that a large number of such jurisdictions in USA claim to have their ‘Apostolic Succession’ from Mar Joseph Rene Villate.

The Malabar Independent Syrian Church/Thoziyoor Sabha

Founded by Bishop Abraham Mar Koorilose, had its origin from the Syrian and Orthodox Churches. Later the Church fall out of the Orthodox Communion and established communion and received ordinations from the Protestant Churches like Marthoma Syrian Church of Malabar.

Syro – Orthodoxe Francophone Church

A Church based in France in communion with The Malabar Independent Syrian Church

Antiochian Syriac Orthodox Church

A groups of Syrian orthodox monks ordinated by the Indian Orthodox Church and established a Church in Europe, but later broke communion as part of some illegal consecration of Bishops

The Independent Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

It is break away groups form the Antiochian Syriac Orthodox Church.

The Rene Vilatte Lineage

Federation of St Thomas Christians in USA- A federation of a number of jurisdictions in USA claiming to have their origin from Mar Joseph Rene Villate. They claim to practice  Syriac and Indian/Malankara Orthodox system of worship.

African Orthodox Church

Founded by Archbishop  Rene Vilatte.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church- Holy Synod in Exile

A groups of Bishops under the former Patriarch Merkarios established a Church. The Church is operated from USA.

Illegitimate Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church

The legitimate Patriarch Abune Antonios was deposed by the Eriterian Government  and Abune Dioskoros was installed.

Holy Synod of St. Athanasius Congregation for Egyptians and Middle Eastern Orthodox  Christians

A group started by  Maximus Youhanna, a former Coptic Orthodox member.

Celtic Orthodox Church

French Orthodox Church

Orthodox Church of the Gauls