Who we are
Following the 1917 Russian revolution, subsequent civil war and persecution of the Orthodox Church and its hierarchs, clergy and laypeople by the Bolshevik state, many found themselves as refugees outside of Russia. In 1920, recognizing that the prospect of the church’s continuation uncontrolled by the atheistic state was grim, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church at that time and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1981, issued a decree (ukaz). This decree instructed all Orthodox bishops currently under the authority and protection of his Patriarchate, should they be unable to contact the Higher Church Administration, to seek protection and guidance by organizing among themselves. Heeding this decree, and since there was no longer a Higher Church Administration under the Bolsheviks, Russian Orthodox hierarchs in exile met in Serbia in 1922 and established a Synod of Bishops, the foundation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).
The following years and decades saw extreme persecution of the Orthodox Church and believers in Russia. Some clergy and believers went “underground” to form the Catacomb Church. By the mid-1930s, the Church structure was almost completely destroyed throughout the country. In 1943, however, at the height of World War II, the until then persecuted Moscow Patriarchate was “re-established” by the atheistic state – for political reasons and only under its strict and complete control. But during this tumultuous time for the Russian Orthodox Church, the ROCOR grew and became established throughout the world.
In May 2006, however, under increasing pressure and influence from the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), the ROCOR convened the IVth All-Diaspora Council to discuss primarily if the time had come for it to join in Eucharistic communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. Almost half of all the Council delegates were either opposed to the proposal or felt it was premature. This opinion was reflected in the Council Resolution, which was approved unanimously by all the delegates, and which stated that unity was desired but only “in the appropriate time”, after the resolution of such important matters as the continued participation of the MP in the ecumenical movement and other points. Tragically, subsequent meetings of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops did not heed this Resolution and plans for union with the MP were accelerated, even over the objections of some bishops. Despite protests from within the ranks of bishops, clergy, and laypeople, on May 17, 2007, the larger part of the ROCOR entered into Eucharistic communion with the MP with the signing of the “Act of Canonical Communion” and that part is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Moscow Patriarchate (ROCOR-MP). A smaller part, now called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), chose to remain loyal to the historical Russian Orthodox Church and to continue its mission by not entering into communion with and being subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate. St.Xenia’s parish is part of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.