Russian Orthodox Church in Exile

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The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCE/ROCIE) is a jurisdiction formed in 2001 in protest against and breaking from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, primarily over the latter's ongoing rapprochement process with the Moscow Patriarchate. The ROCE still sometimes uses the ROCOR/ROCA name and regards itself as the true ROCOR.

The two jurisdictions are sometimes distinguished as ROCOR (V) and ROCOR (L), the initial in parentheses referring to the primate of each group.

The ROCE is currently led by Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov) of New York, who had retired as the primate of the ROCOR but upon the formation of the ROCE was declared by the ROCE to have been retired forcibly by his enemies in ROCOR and then removed to Canada, where he governs the ROCE. It is reported by critics of this jurisdiction that the aged Vitaly was kidnapped and is essentially a figurehead, being unfit for episcopal governance.

According to its website, the ROCE currently has 8 parishes, missions and home chapels, along with one convent, in the United States; 8 parishes, missions and chapels, along with 2 monastic sketes, in Canada; 2 parishes and one convent in South America; 8 parishes in Europe; and a "deanery" of clergy and monastics in Russia. The ROCE also has a handful of clergy and laymen throughout the world which hold allegiance to it but may not have any parish associated with them.

Realistically, those parishes usually tend to be converted houses with few, if any, parishioners.

From a purely canonical point of view, this jurisdiction was formed "illegally," as no canons have actually been broken by the ROCOR (L). Upon analysis of the many justifications provided by ROCOR (V) for the formation of this church, not a single one has yet to be actually true. The claim that the ROCOR (L) have already joined into one single church (the initial argument for the schism) is obviously untrue, as there is still dialogue between the two churches related to this matter, not to mention there are no occurrences of any ROCOR (L) clergy member actively serving with an MP clergy member. It is interesting how quickly one decides to "jump ship" instead of fighting for the true faith. For example, the all-clergy conferences for the discussion of reconciliation between the ROCOR and MP churches were a perfect venue for presenting arguments (which was done by many ROCOR(L) clergy). Where were the ROCOR (V) clergy. Instead of fighting for the true faith, they chose to run away, claiming that the fight was already over. One can only imagine what would have happened had the New Martyrs of Russia chose this option to just run away.

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