The following brief report and accompanying photo appeared on March 9, 2020 on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In a move which appears to reject the Muscovite Schism, the two parishes and one monastery comprising the new “Vicariate for the Orthodox Christian Communities of Slavic Tradition” have departed the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), of which the primate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), serves also as diocesan bishop.
The natural home for Russian Orthodox communities in the US wishing to transfer out of ROCOR would have been the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Unless informed otherwise, we can assume that the OCA’s sycophancy to the Moscow Patriarchate—and, by extension, to the Kremlin—made such a move impossible for these communities.
For the broader context of this development see the extensive Ukraine section in our Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020.
Archbishop Elpidophoros Announces the Creation of a New Vicariate in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
On Monday, March 9, 2020, following approval of the Mother Church of Constantinople last November after the request of the Holy Eparchial Synod, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, announced the creation of the Vicariate for the Orthodox Christian Communities of Slavic Tradition.
The new Vicariate will report directly to Archbishop Elpidophoros and at the beginning includes hundreds of faithful belonging to the following three Orthodox communities: Saint Matrona of Moscow Cathedral of Miami, Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Monastery in North Fort Myers, Florida, and Saint John the Forerunner and Baptist Cathedral of Brooklyn. The clergy of the Vicariate are Very Rev. Archimandrite Alexander Belya, Very Rev. Archpriest Vasiliy Deyak, Rev. Archpriest Oleksandr Belya, Rev. Archpriest Ioann Spasyuk, Rev. Protodeacon Rostislav Zadorozhnyy and Rev. Deacon George A. Hero.
Archbishop Elpidophoros has appointed Very Rev. Archimandrite Alexander Belya as the first Vicar of the Vicariate.