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Statement by Patriarch Nikon

Regarding claims by Independents
to our name, succession and history

There are many in the independent movement who claim to be us or claim to have our Orthodox lines. We deny all such claims.

The claims of our lines from Bishop Ignatius (W.A.) Nichols an The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America.

Since Bishop Ignatius Nichols was consecrated as an Auxiliary bishop in 1932 but left and married in June 1933 he had no authority to transmit our lines to anyone. In Orthodoxy a bishop gets his authority from the Church. When he leaves the Church he leaves all authority to act as a bishop.

Any who claim our lines from any act after Bp. Ignatius left this church never received Orthodox lines from Ignatius. Their claim thus shows them to be old catholics making a groundless claim to our lines, our name and our history.

In 1934 Ignatius Nichols was claiming to be an Archbishop of the Metropolitan Synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in America which appears to be an independent jurisdiction with no canonical ties to Orthodoxy. Dewittow and Plummer were also clergy of this independent jurisdiction.

Any claim to lines of Apostolic Succession would be independent and not canonical lines.

When he died in 1947 he had been the pastor of a local Vermont Community Church for about 5 years. This also shows he was not an active "orthodox" or independent bishop in 1946 and did not turn control of the Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil to Turner as some would claim. The old Forbes group claims Turner was consecrated by Ignatius in 1939, 6 years after Ignatius had left The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America and our group The Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil.

The Forbes group has no ties in any manner to The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America. When Turner entered the Antiochian Church as a priest he renounced any claim to anything to do with his previous Church which was not The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America. He was an independent bishop and prior to joining the Antiochian Church he was not a canonical bishop or in our lines. Turner only had independent lines unless he was ordained into the Antiochian Church.

When Forbes left the Antiochian Church as a married priest he sought and received consecration by 2 independent bishops who had no claim on the lines of Apostolic succession of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America. You never really hear these independents claim the Antiochian Church lines.

Forbes took the name "Holy Orthodox Church - American Jurisdiction", a name similar to that of the Church Ignatius had been with. Forbes claimed control over the Society of Clerks Secular as the only living member and took control of the Societies property in New York.

Decree

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Bishop Sophronios Beshara

Many independents claim lines from Sophronios and The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America based on a consecration by Metrpolitan Noli. They usually claim the Metropolitan assisted Sophronios but this is incorrect.

Fact: We have a copy of this Certificate in our files

Fact: The Certificate is typed on Noli's letterhead

Fact: The Certificate was signed by Metropolitan Noli

It is possible that Bp. Sophronios co-consecrated by assisting but it appears he was only a witness.

Some also claim the Bishop Sophronios later headed this Church which is false. Aftimios was the Archbishop of the Church and corporate President until his death in 1966. By that time Bp. Sophronios had been dead for more that 25 years.

Bishop Sophronios congratulated Abp. Aftimios on his marriage and did not, as some would claim, attempt to suspend his Archbishop and try to take over the Church. Such an act would be contrary to the canons of the Church.

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Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh

Archbishop Ofiesh was a canonical Orthodox Archbishop. He was appointed to head the new canonically established American Church by the Russian Synod of Bishops in North America (Moscow Patriarchate), a Synod he had been a member of. He headed the new American Church from 1927 and was corporate president from 1928 until his death in July 1966. Since he was never called before a tribunal as required by the canons if a bishop violates the canons, he coninued to be a canonical Orthodox bishop until the day he die although he was mistreated and abused by Orthodox clergy while he headed the Church and even now. All those who dare attack a canonical bishop violate the Sacred and Divine canons, show they do not know the canons of their church and show themselves to be unchristian and spiteful. By their acts and according to the canons such acts incur deposition from Holy Orders, or in plain english they defrock themself.

Therefore, We the North American Holy Synod of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America - American Orthodox Patriarchate deny the claims by independent groups that they have our lines of Apostolic Succession, that they are us under any other name, that they have any right to claim our Church history and that they are Orthodox.

Canons

Letter

Status

Declaration

Schism

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