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Claims

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Claim:

The HOC-AJ is THEOCACNA under another name.

Fact:

This is a claim many in the independent movement make. The Holy Orthodox Church-American Jurisdiction HOC-AJ is not and never was part of or a continuation of THE HOLY EASTERN ORTHODOX CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC CHURCH in NORTH AMERICA (Short name: American Orthodox Catholic Church as listed in our Constitution.) Their clergy have never been part of this Church and their Metropolitan has proven himself to be unchristian in his attack upon us, his claims and unapproved use of our name & Logo. It appears their present "Metropolitan" is a former Roman Catholic priest. It should be noted that none of these independent groups ever seek unity with the Original Church. They just claim to be us.

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We view their jurisdiction, as most, as an independent Old Catholic Church claiming the Orthodox name. They use Catholic logic in their claims of Apostolic Succession. The Orthodox do not recognize Episcopi Vagantes since in Orthodoxy all authority stays with the Church so when a bishop leaves he cannot pass along any Apostolic Succession. A case to consider is Bishop Ignatius Nichols who left the Church shortly after Abp. Ofiesh married and became a Charismatic protestant minister and he himslf married. Therefore any acts that followed his leaving this Church were done without any authority of this Church or any Orthodox Church. In Orthodoxy no lines of Apostolic Succession were available to transfer to anyone. If anyone claims such lines they claim them as Old Catholics and have no claim on this Orthodox Church Abp. Ofiesh headed until his death in 1966. Since The Society of Clerks Secular of St Basil were established within this Church the Society remains a part of this Church. Any members who left this Church left the Society. When they re-established a Society of the same name they were not associated with this Church of the Origial 1931 Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil.

It should be noted that both SCOBA ethnic clergy and independent clergy make many false claims about this Church. This is nothing new to us. Then they comment on how we are Defensive on our website. If its defensive to pubish the truth to let the public know the truth and to help them avoid being misled by schismatic SCOBA clergy and independent clergy who make false claims of being us then we are defensive. We do so to protect the soul of those who might be deceived and mislead by those who lack Sacramental Authority.

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Claim:

Organized in 1927 by Archbishop +Aftimios Chartered in 1932 in New York with 82 continuous years of service to both the Western and Eastern Rite Orthodox. Reorganized in 1974 by Archbishop +Francis W. Forbes as Holy Orthodox Church-American Jurisdiction

Fact:

The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America also known as The American Orthodox Catholic Church was Chartered by the Synod of Bishops in North America (Moscow Patriarchate) and Abp. Ofiesh was appointed first Archbishop of this Church. Abp. Ofiesh then incorporated the Church in 1928 and became Archbishop-President of the Church. We have been in existance for 81 years as of 2008. Any changes are made by the full Synod and not by one bishop.

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Claim:

With the initial plan for the ethnic bodies of orthodoxy to unite as a single American Orthodox Church aborted, the identifying designation "American Orthodox Church" was to take on a totally different posture and purpose when, in 1932, it became the distinctive identity of the original Orthodox Western Rite canonical apostolate in America.

FACT: The Short name given this Church is "American Orthodox Catholic Church" as stated in our Constitution, not the American Orthodox Church as so many independents claim. They will trace their claims back to Walter Propheta, DeWittow and Plummer but none were associated with this canonically established Church. They use the catholic logic to prove their lines but such claims are not recognized in Orthodoxy.

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Claim:

The current name of the original Orthodox Western Rite apostolate in America, THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH, AMERICAN JURISDICTION, is the result of the 1974 restructuring of the Orthodox Western Rite AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. [They claim they were] instituted in 1932 by the Late Archbishop Aftimios (Ofiesh), then the presiding archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of Brooklyn.

FACT:

The Holy Orthodox Church, American Jurisdiction (HOCAJ) is not the direct continuation of the "The American Orthodox Catholic Church" that was established in 1927 by the Russian Synod of Bishops and incorporated in 1928 by Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh of blessed memory. THEOCACNA has never ceased and is the Western Rite of our Church and also offers Eastern rite services. Since we are the Western rite within Our Canonical jurisdiction any others who claim to be us are misleading you. Since they are not associated with the original church they claim to be and have never been part of this Church corporation the independents always seem to claim to have changed our name and continue as this Church under their new name.

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Claim:

The American Orthodox Church was originally chartered by a Special Act of the New York Legislature (1932), subsequently revised (1956) under the same Special Legislative Act. It is the embodiment of the Russian Orthodox restoration of the Western Gregorian Rite within Orthodoxy as was first established by the Russian Orthodox Synod of Bishops, St. Petersburg, Russia (1870) and its subsequent establishment in America

Fact: To be a Diocese or Mission of this Church Abp. Ofiesh would have had to be listed as Corporate President according to the Church constitution. If he were the listed corporate president his successors would be the head of all jurisdictions of this Church today. That would mean the head of the 1928 corporate Church established by Abp. Aftimios would also head any of our dioceses or missions as required by the 1927 Church constitution. We are not associated with any 1932 or 1937 NY group.

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Claim:

The restored Rite was authorized for the exclusive use of the new Western Orthodox converts and other westerners who would subsequently enter the Western Rite apostolate of the Orthodox Church.

FACT:

We have not restored any rite! We use the only approved rite in North America - The Western Rite or St. Andrew's Service Book, as published by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese with minor changes in names of clergy to remember at Mass.

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Claims:

Upon completition of the restructuring process, the Holy Orthodox Church, American Jurisdiction was chartered under the corporate Laws of the State of Tennessee in 1976. [The original NY Charter, now dated as 1932 and previously dated as 1937 is claimed to remain in force.]

Fact:

We are incorporated under our full and legal name as of 1951 in New York by merger.

Claim:

Foreign motherland judicial and patriarchal (Antioch and Constantinople) influences and domestic inter-jurisdictional interferences forced the Moscow Patriarchate to direct Abp. Aftimios to abandon the unification effort, to disband the Russian archdiocese in Brooklyn and turn over its property and assets to the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Fact: Abp. Ofiesh viewed this Church as an autocephalous jurisdiction and was not directed to close the Church. The Cathedral was taken from him in Court, an act contrary to the canons, and the Church attorney stated if he appealed he could get the Church back but +Aftimios was tired of fighting.

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Claim:

At least 2 bishops are necesary to a canonical consecration.

Fact:

The Canons require at least 3 bishops to Ordain a bishop, letters from all the other bishops of the synod who do not attend, and all such matters are headed by the Patriarch or Metropolitan of a canonical jurisdiction.

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THE AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

This is a slang name used by independents to cover all their claims as to who they are.

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Claim:

By the time Father Forbes had returned to the Basilian Order, exercising his responsibilities as superior-general, a number of unaffiliated groups were styling themselves as "The American Orthodox Church." In order to distinguish the original Orthodox Western Rite Jurisdiction in America clearly from the several groups claiming a similar posture of identity, the original Orthodox Western Rite Jurisdiction, first officially known as The American Orthodox Church, was Legally re-chartered under the religious non-profit corporate Laws of the State of Tennessee as "The Holy Orthodox Church, American Jurisdiction (closed in 1985 and listed as inactive)."

It is also claimed that the original State of New York Legal charter of religious corporate enablement remains in force to this day.
[NOTE: This NY corporation is not in our original name - "The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America" or our short name "American Orthodox Catholic Church".]

FACT:

Throughout their claims you will notice they never claim to be associated with the original 1928 Church corporation that was formed and incorporated by Abp Ofiesh because that is who we are.

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Legal Note:

It should be noted that Identity theft, as well as service mark infringement and dilution are criminal acts. It is assumed that such acts are to defraud others and could also include theft by deception if any donations are give or other valuables are taken by a phony usurper who claims to be us. When such acts occur we have decided the best way to handle the matter is to lodge a criminal complaint with local authorities while having the Church attorneys handle the civil aspects.

2008 - Most Rev. Victor Prentice
All Rights Reserved

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