Alaskan Old Believer parish joins ROCOR

Nikolaevsk, Alaska, May 22, 2023

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The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia now has a second canonical Old Rite parish in America.

In 1983, the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Erie, Pennsylvania, joined ROCOR and the parish leader was ordained as its first priest—Fr. Pimen.

There are many parallels between the Erie parish and the Old Believer community in Nikolaevsk, Alaska, which is now on the same path, reports Sokritaya Rus’.

The village of Nikolaevsk was founded in 1968. Today there are about 350 inhabitants. The community was originally of the priestless Old Believer tradition, but in 1983, a bishop in Romania ordained Nikolai Yakunin to the priesthood, who is now leading the community—with his son, Deacon Vasily, and about 20 families—into ROCOR.

Fr. Nikolai and Dcn. Vasily will be at the Erie parish for the feast of the Ascension, where they will be received by Chrismation and ordained by His Grace Bishop John of Caracas. And like the Erie parish, the Nikolaevsk community will celebrate the services in English.

The community will have to build a new church, as the old church building will remain under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualist Church.

Read more about the Nikolaevsk community in this 2013 article form The Atlantic. Read more about the Erie parish here.

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