Following is what has been published about this Church and our clergy by members of the ethnic and independent groups.

Claims about the American Orthodox Catholic Church (THEOCACNA) and our clergy.

Canonical claims

Some of the claims made by Orthodoxwiki writers;

That Aftimios was a canonical Bishop!

That Archbishop Aftimios retired to marry in 1933.

Then they go on to state that he deposed himself by marrying.

They also claim that Bishop Sophronius later suspended Archbishop Ofiesh and excommunicated Bishop Ignatius (who they also state left the Church in June 1933).

That Sophronius became head of THEOCACNA after he suspended Aftimios and excommunicated Ignatus.

As you know one bishop cannot act against another so this would be contrary to the canons and this bishop is supposed to be buried next to St. Raphael.

That "Bp. Ignatius and Bp. Zuk" stated the canon on married bishops was a European and Asiatic canon with no bearing on the American church which clearly shows this church never adopted that canon.

This is supported by the writings of a Greek Priest who acknowledges that not all Churches adopted that canon.

That Ignatius, after marriage, ordained Alexander Tyler Turner a priest and consecrated Turner bishop in 1939 into an independent church and not this canonically established Church.

That a Syrian bishop came to American without permission to raise funds in America and he attempted to steal our clergy away from this Church.

That the Russian Church accepted some of our clergy without the required letters.

That other clergy including a suspended priest were accepted back into an ethnic jurisdiction without letters.

That Mariam stated Abp. Aftimios intended to continue to act as a married Bishop and he did.

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Documented is a newspaper article stating Bp. Sophronius congratulated Abp. Ofiesh on his marriage.

What is not mentioned by these writers is that Abp. Ofiesh was never called before a Tribunal. He was never found guilty of any canonical violations.

In fact, many years later Metropolitan Saliba allowed a priest to remarry and remain a priest which also would be a violation of the canons and we understand his Patriarch had told him to do as he pleased.

Met. Philip was not declared to have deposed himself for allowing this. His Church was not ignored by all other Orthodox jurisdictions.

There was never a canonical reason to turn their backs on this Church. The facts are simple;

The ethnic Churches all wanted to be the American Church.

The Russian Church had the canonical authority to Charter the American Church (once) which they did in 1927.

This crushed the plans of the other orthodox Church leaders so they decided not to recognize their new sister "American" Church. In fact they quietly refused to ignore THEOCACNA until in 1929 the Greek Orthodox Archbishop told Abp. Aftimios that he, the Greek Archbishop, was over all Orthodox in America. There was no canonical authority for that claim. We declared this the formal beginning of the Schism in American Orthodoxy

Abp. Ofiesh established the Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil within THEOCACNA in 1931.

After Abp. Ofiesh married in April 1933 the ethnic groups began to use that as their excuse for not being in communion with the American Church. It is just an excuse!

The canons do not direct any to ignore or punish a Church for the act of one of the clergy

Actually the ethnic Churches violated the canons in numerous ways by their actions, taking our clergy, churches, members, and by insulting and attacking Abp. Ofiesh long after he reposed.


Many independent groups will claim their lines from this Church or that they are us under a different name. This is a lie and can be proven false. They are Episcopi Vagants.

When Ignatius left this Church he left all authority from THEOCACNA. When he ordained it was for the Holy Orthodox Church in America and not for THEOCACNA. When Turner and the others entered the A.O.C.A. he became an Antiochian priest and gave up any claim to any history or membership in HOCA or any other Church.

They claim Ignatius started the Society of Clerks Secular of St Basil in THEOCACNA (the American Church) in 1931. Actually the Society was started by Abp. Ofiesh, head of this Church in 1931. Ignatius was consecrated in Sept. 1932. Ignatus left this canonical Church in June 1933. When he left he let all authority of this Church, he married, and became a bishop of an independent church. He later started the society in his new independent church home.

One Alexander (Paul) Tyler Turner, of the Western rite, was ordained by Ignatius (William Albert) Nichols who had been an Auxiliary bishop of our Church. Ignatius left this Church in about June 1933, married, and in 1934 was ordaining as an "Archbishop" of the Metropolitan Synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in America, which appears from our information to be an independent (Episcopi Vagant) jurisdiction. We know Ignatius started to use the name of the Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil after leaving this Church. It appears the Society was a copy of the one in our Church.

It would appear that Turner was ordained into an independent jurisdiction buy Ignatius, a former canonical bishop who became an Episcopi Vagant. Ignatius had left the canonically established Church without a letter of Excardination and began ordaining with old Catholics and those claiming to be Orthodox. When Ignatius died Turner became the head of the independent Society Ignatius started after leaving the American Church and in 1961 Turner received into the Antiochian Church as a priest.

The Metropolitan Synod - Holy Orthodox Church in America was listed at 321 W. 101st St., NYC which was the home address for Archbishop Georgius (Plummer), consecrated by Ignatius in 1934 I believe, and Witowski (call De Wittow) who was ordained by Ignatius in 1934 and consecrated by Georgius and Ignatius and a third bishop in 1936 at the same Church. When Plummer died DeWittow married his widow. Their Church was also a Rosicrucian hall or temple.

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Time Line

1927 - THEOCACNA Chartered
1928 - THEOCACNA Incorporated
1929 - Schism Occured in American Orthodoxy
1931 - Society of Clerks Secular of St Basil est.
1932 - Ignatius Nichols Consecrated into THEOCACNA
1933 - Abp. Ofiesh married
1933 - Ignatius leaves THEOCACNA and married

When a bishop leaves the Church he leaves all authority to act as a bishop. He can no longer pass on the lines of apostolic succession of that church.

All acts by Ignatius (Wm. A.) Nichols were done independent of and w/o authority or mandate of THEOCACNA.

1934 - Ignatius now with independent synod;
a. Archbishop of
b. Metropolitan Synod of the
c. Holy Orthodox Church in America
1934 - Ignatius consecrated Plumer
1934 - Ignatius ordains Witowski
1936 - Plummer & Ignatius Consecrate Witowski
1939 - Ignatius consecrates Turner

At sometime here Ignatius began using the Society of Clerks Secula of St Basil name independent of THEOCACNA.

1945 - Time Magazine article about THEOCACNA & original Society
1947 - Ignatius died
1947 - Turner becomes head of this independent Socety
1957 - Turner in talks with Antiochian Church
1961 - Turner & 3 Society members incardinated into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (NY)
1966 - Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh, presiding bishop of THEOCACNA, reposes
1974 - Last "Basilian" leaves Antiochian Church
1974 - Forbes consecrated by 2 independent bishops
1995 - Mariam Ofiesh is THEOCACNA Director
1999 - Mariam Ofiesh retires from Corp. board
2000 - THEOCACNA files for US Service Mark
2000 - Mariam Ofiesh Reposes
2003 - THEOCACNA Synod declares itself Patriarchate
2005 - Service Mark makes our name and logo the legal Church property
2007 - C. Bartholomew incorporates a church in Fla illegally using our name and logo claiming to be head of THEOCACNA.

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The Orthodox Canons and traditions differ than those of the Roman Catholic Church. When an Orthodox priest or bishop leaves his Church he leaves all authority and has no sacramental authorty. Since Orthodoxy does not recognize Episcopi Vagants no acts of a "former bishop or priest" are or can be recognized. Priests and bishops are not viewed as irregular as in the catholic church. Since when they leave they leave all authority to act they cannot pass on lines of apostolic succession. No Episcopi Vagant is Orthodox.

2009 - Victor Prentice