About the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Published by rocaau on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

bishop-agafangel1.jpgThe Australian and New Zealand Diocese of ROCA is one Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA). Its ruling Hierarch is Metropolitan Agafangel, first Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

161030-10-2.jpgThe Australian diocese is spiritually cared for by Bishop John of Melbourne, vicar of the Australian Diocese.

rocabishops2014.jpg sinod-bishops-2011.jpg

The Russian Orthodox faith has been present in Australia since the 19th century. The Orthodox Church adheres to the Eastern Orthodox faith, as expressed by the seven Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Our Australian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has its roots in the Russian spiritual and cultural tradition. However, it shares the Orthodox faith and way of life with millions of believers worldwide. The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad rejects the many un-Orthodox innovations which even some “orthodox” local churches have accepted in the 20th century. The adoption of such innovations have caused divisions in the Church of Christ, which attests to their being inspired by the enemies of God.


patriarch-tikhon.jpgThe Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was born in the complicated spiritual and political situation following the Russian Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Some Russian Bishops found themselves outside of Russia, separated from communication with the imprisoned Patriarch of Moscow. With the Patriarch’s blessing, they formed a governing body, which was to operate until normal church life would be re-established. Meanwhile, pious émigrés and refugees from the communist countries spread all over the world. Everywhere, they founded churches, parishes and monasteries. Sadly, the godless conditions in the homeland turned out to be prolonged. Therefore, the descendants of the Russian refugees are today joined by a multitude of converts from diverse cultural backgrounds, who all find their spiritual home in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

The fathers of the Orthodox Church hold that believers must acquire humility and enter into the mind and life of the Church in order to be sanctified and transformed in their own spiritual and temporal life. The aim for each believer is to grow closer to Christ, our God – which is achieved by following the examples of the Apostles and Saints of the Church, who truly lived with and in the Church.

Throughout its nine-decade history, some church members and groups have occasionally asserted that the conditions under which the ROCA was formed no longer exist. One such group in 2007 united with another Russian organisation, called the Moscow Patriarchate, and is now known as the ROCOR(MP). Others withhold from any artificial or worldly unions, without however proclaiming judgement on the spiritual life of individuals who find themselves subject to various other church bodies. The traditional Russian Church Abroad holds to this view, concentrating first and foremost on Her own mission – the salvation of the souls entrusted to Her.
The Australian and New Zealand Diocese of ROCA found itself without a Bishop in 2007, when a large portion of the clergy and people left the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to submit themselves spiritually to the Moscow Patriarchate. The remaining faithful in Australia at that time requested and received the protection of Bishop Agafangel, then head of the Temporary Higher Church Administration, now First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America. Metropolitan Agafangel is hence the ruling Bishop of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.


Interestingly, Australian was home also to one of the Saintly Bishops of our Church - Metropolitan Philaret. Vladyka Philaret, originally Bishop of Brisbane. Vladyka Philaret had already experienced persecution for Christ in China, later became the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In 1983, he proclaimed the anathema against the heresy of ecumenism (which primarily attacks the Orthodox doctrine on the Church of Christ) and in 1981, he glorified the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian land. These two events in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad most clearly expressed the faith that Orthodox Christians today must hold to, addressing two very prevalent heresies - ecumenism and sergianism. Metropolitan Philaret called the Orthodox of all nationalities, including Patriarchs and Bishops, to remain steadfast in the faith through his first, second, and third sorrowful epistles. Sadly, for many, his voice was one “crying in the wilderness”, which they chose not to listen to. Metropolitan Philaret’s relics were later found incorrupt, and he has now been solemnly glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Read a short life here. Through the prayers of our Holy Hierarch Philaret, may God guide also us today to attain both to a strong faith and to purity of life, looking to his example!

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is in communion with its sister churches: The True Orthodox Christians of Greece, the Bulgarian old calendar Orthodox Church, the Romanian old calendar church, and the Free Serbian Church Australian and New Zealand Diocese.


How to support the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Bishop of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese

  • Prayer for our Bishop, the first Hierarch - Metropolitan Agafangel
  • Praying at the services at our parishes and communities
  • Taking part of the Mysteries (with the blessing of your spiritual father and the serving priest), thus remaining in personal, full Communion with the Body of Christ, the Church.
  • Prayer for all the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad:
    Metropolitan Agafangel, Archbishop Andronik, Archbishop Sophrony, Archbishop John, Archbishop George, Bishop Athanassy, Bishop Gregory, Bishop Kirill, Bishop Dionisy, Bishop Irinei, Bishop Nikon, Bishop Joseph, Bishop Nikolai
  • Prayer for all the clergy, monastics, and people of the the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
  • Prayer for all your enemies and friends, family and close ones
  • Moral support for the faithful people near you by regular contact
  • Attending any special events arranged by the clergy or people.
  • Support the Synod of Bishops financially:

    Account name/Beneficiary: ROCA Synod of Bishops
    Account number: 7901326459
    Bank: First Niagara Bank, N.A.
    Location: 726 Exchange Street, Buffalo, NY 14210 US
    International transfers SWIFT code - FNFGUS33
    Local Clearing Code - 222370440

    PayPal transfers can be made on this page: http://sinod.ruschurchabroad.org/synod-home.htm

  • Support the ROCA Assistance Fund:

    Account name: ROCA Assistance Fund
    Address: P.O. Box 7343, Alexandria, VA 22307
    Please contact Fr John Hinton, the administrator of the Fund for details for transfer:
    Telephone: +1-703-717-0260
    email: rocafund@cox.net

  • Support the local parishes financially by paying your parish dues
  • Support the charitable institutions of our Church, such as the Haitian Orthodox Mission
  • Support the monasteries of our Church worldwide
The clergy of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese


Metropolitan Agafangel
First Hierarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad

Bishop John of Melbourne
Vicar bishop of Australia

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