Bishops of the Russian Metropolia in North America

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The presence of the Church of Russia slowly expanded from the distant outpost in Alaska to a diocese that covered Alaska and the eastern expanse of northern Siberia. This diocese then developed two vicariates that eventually became separate dioceses. This list of bishopss includes those who provided the leadership in the development of the Russian church presence in North America, following the group that became known as the "Metropolia" and is now known as the OCA.

Starting as a vicariate in a distant diocese, the mission soon became part of the large missionary diocese that included Alaska and the northeastern part of Siberia where initially the seat of the ruling bishop was in Alaska but was moved to Siberia before Alaska was sold to the United States. After the sale of Alaska the vicariate in Alaska was reformed as an autonomous diocese with the bishop's seat moved to California, outside the territory of Alaska. With the growth of the Orthodox population in the eastern part of North America, the name of the diocese was changed to include all North America and the ruling bishop's seat was eventually moved to New York. As the diocese grew, auxiliary bishops were consecrated to cover the vast area and the cultural needs of the faithful. In the decades prior to the 1970 grant of autocephaly many of the auxiliary bishops began to function as autonomous heads of dioceses.

The information following lists the bishops that occupied the ruling and vicar bishop positions prior to the grant of autocephaly, listed in the succession from the point of view of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) rather than that of the Church of Russia, whose succession diverges officially at the point of the establishment of the Russian Exarchate of North America in 1933.

Early years

Diocese of Irkutsk

  • Vicariate of Kodiak: Joasaph (Bolotov) 1799-1799
  • Diocese of Kamachata, Kurile Islands, and the Aleutian Islands
  • See: New Archangel: Innocent (Veniaminov-Popov) 1840-1852
  • See: Yakutsk: Innocent (Veniaminov-Popov) 1852-1868
  • Vicariates: Two vicariates established 1858: New Archangel and Yakutsk
  • New Archangel: Peter (Ekatrinovsky) 1859-1867
  • Yakutsk: Peter (Ekatrinovsky) 1867-1882
  • Sitka/New Archangel: Paul (Popov) 1867-1870

Diocese of Aleutian Islands and Alaska

Maturing Church

Diocese of Aleutian Islands and North America

The tomos of autocephaly, signed April 10, 1970, by Patriarch Alexis of Moscow, formally ended the mission and granted self-rule to the Russian North American diocese.

See also


  • Orthodox America 1794-1976 Development of the Orthodox Church in America, C. J. Tarasar, Gen. Ed. 1975, The Orthodox Church in America, Syosett, New York