Russian Orthodox Church in America (ROCIA)

Open Letter to an Enquirer


NOTE: Symeon (HOLDRIDGE) was originally consecrated by Denis Garrison of Maryland, a member of the independent movement. Symeon later renounced his holy orders but then returned to the independent movement. He is not and never was part of the original 1927 American Orthodox Catholic Church [THEOCACNA] as claimed. Such groups who make this claim are usually old catholics. As with all groups making such claims we deny they have any valid sacramental authority from Our Church - The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America - the original American Orthodox Catholic Church (short name) that was Chartered by the Russian Synod of Bishops in North America and Incorporated in 1928 By Abp. Aftimios Ofiesh of blessed memory.

Also it should be noted that none listed herein are or have been associated with the Church Abp. Ofiesh originally headed. Abp. Ofiesh did not found or stablish the Church as some claim

Their claims:

To begin it is safe to say that while they are conservative in their Orthopraxis they say they are somewhat liberal in their Social Justice views and practices.

They claim to be committed to the Old Calendar, following the Canons of the Undivided Church, the Creed and the Eastern Rite (Liturgy of St John Chrysostom)... With our Russian heritage showing through in such areas as: Chants, Vestments, Iconographic style, etc. However, both Vladika Symeon and the author clim they strongly believe that the liturgy must be served in the language of the parish; presently English in our parish, but Spanish and other languages are equally acceptable. I feel that I must stress that our Eparchy is in agreement that there can be no compromise on the use of the natural language of the people. Furthermore, we are passionately dedicated to Evangelism, the spread of Orthodox throughout the World.

They claim to accept only the unmodified Nicene Creed as promulgated by the fourth century Council of Nicea (and confirmed by successive councils) as the valid expression of the Faith of the Church (I.e. without the filioque). We offer the seven sacraments of the Church, which can only be valid where there are both valid Apostolic Succession and true Doctrine, with the authority of the priest who performs these sacraments coming through the validity of his Bishop. The Church is, after all, only experienced as the Faithful in Christ, gathered around their Bishop. We honor and follow Holy Tradition, as well, and believe that while the Holy Spirit is, of course, alive and working within the Church, change is never precipitous or unilateral. Furthermore, any doctrinal change would have to come through the outworking of a future Ecumenical Council. Whether it appears to be, or not, this does not conflict with being committed to Social Justice, as we feel that the Church has always been.

They claim to practice fiscally sound management, with reserves in the bank to fund future growth.

He will attempt to give you a brief history of his jurisdiction. The Russian Orthodox Church in America was NEVER part of THEOCACNA (the American Orthodox Church under Archbishop Aftimios). Vladika Symeon claims he was the 10th (and 12th) First Hierarch, an interesting claim sice the original Church only claims 3 First Hierarchs. With its fragmentation after his first retirement, due to illness, it was decided to re-charter with a new name to avoid the controversies that have since arisen.


Symeon claims he can give you much more detail concerning this and the whole history of the Church, after its chartering by the Russian American Bishops in 1927, depending on your interest level. He likes to claim his Church is THEOCACNA, but it is not and he has never been associated with the Original 1927 Church. He has originally used the THEOCACNA name but was pushed to cease using our name so he re-chartered as ROCIA. They state they have gradually worked towards the present status: a few mission parishes and a handful of dedicated priests and clergy. We are dedicated to working, not for the further disunity of the Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere, but to offer a welcoming, inclusive home for likeminded Christians, in a setting we feel resembles what the Church would have inevitably become in this country without the unfortunate intervention of the Soviet revolution in our Mother Russian homeland and all of its unfortunate consequences.

The author of some of their web pages has claimed to have spent several years in ministry to homeless and at risk teens while stating Symeon has most recently devoted his time to serving as a Mayoral appointee to the council and committees funding AIDS services in the Denver metropolitan area. Both Symeon and myself come from sectarian Christian backgrounds and are proud converts to Orthodoxy. We differ greatly in our educational backgrounds and secular vocations, as well as our previous marital status, which we feel gives our leadership a breadth that is often lacking both in smaller Orthodox groups, as well as the mainstream, SCOBA-type churches. They claim their Apostolic lineages are very different, but equally valid, by claiming their lines come from the Russian Church through Archbishop Aftimios (of blessed memory) but his come through Archbishops Vladimir and John. Their lines are questionable at least those tracing to Dennis Garrson for a couple reasons. Garrison himself continued to act as a bishop "after" he was supposedly excommunicated based on document in our files AND Garrison denounced this consecration, also documented in our files. As to being valid they claim their Orthopraxis is traditional and canonical.


Russian Orthodox Church in America (ROCIA)
Orthodox Tradition throughout the New World

Office of the Metropolitan

His Beatitude, Metropolitan SYMEON
1105 W. Deming Street
Roswell, NM, U.S.A. 88203
office: (303) 733 - 3125

Monastic Institutions:

Hermitage Skete:
HieroSchemaMonk Zossima

St. Mary Magdalene Skete:
Rassofor Nestor

Chief Executive Officer:
Metropolitan SYMEON

Corporate Directors:
Metropolitan SYMEON
Bishop IOAN
Priest Jonathan Tan

Corporate Secretary
Hieromonk Thomas

Corporate Treasurer
Priest Jonathan Tan

Colorado Registered Agent
Bishop IOAN

Secretary of the Metropolitan Archdiocese
Matthew Folletz
1105 W. Deming Street
Roswell, NM 88203
phone: 505-840-6982

His Grace, Bishop FREDERICK

Retired Hierarchs:
His Grace, Archpriest Ioan of Denver, (retired)

Their website -

This page corrected by he true and original THEOCACNA.

For details contact: