This article deals with the separation of Syrian Parishes in North America from the North-American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church as an example of a separation of national parishes and formation of an independent diocese with a transition to a jurisdiction of another local church, in this case the Antiochian Patriarchate. Notably, the transition of the parishes from one jurisdiction to the other took place in the spirit of fraternal love and understanding and was not accompanied by rows and mutual accusations. Patriarch of Antioch did not establish his parishes in the USA and Canada without prior arrangement and by way of an accomplished fact, but addressed with messages to Patriarch Tikhon and to the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which accommodated the needs of the Antiochian Church. Church life of the Syrian parishes was made comlicated exclusively by discord among the Syrian bishops. Several parishes decided to go over to the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate, whereas some of them, headed by bishop of Brooklyn Euthymios, remained in the Russian Church. Soon, bishop Euthymios got married and was deposed, while bishop Sophronius went into schism. The issue of the Syrian parishes in North America was dealt with by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1923, when it was decided that the Syro-Arabic parishes in North America be divided between Russian and Syro-Arabic bishops. After 13 years, in 1936, the Bishops’ Council was forced to get back to the issue of relations with the Syrian parishes in the USA and Canada. The Council decided not to object to the Syrian parishes going over to the Church of Antioch, which was a sensible position. This article includes a report by metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) to the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad that took place in Sremski Karlovci in 1923. This report dealt specifi cally with Syro-Arabs in North America. The metropolitan argued in favour of the idea of transition of Syrian parishes from the jurisdiction of the Russian Church to that of the Antiochian Church and supported this both by characteristic features of church life in North America and the desire to give fi nancial help to the ancient Antiochian Church. Importantly, metropolitan Antony found it possible to withdraw from a literal understanding of the canons, which was for the real benefi t of the church.
Syrian Orthodox diaspora in America, Antiochian Patriarchate, contacts between Patriarch Tikhon and Patriarch Gregory, Metropolitan Antony and canon law, Orthodoxy in America, national dioceses in America and Canada