diasporas, each with a different ethnic and ecclesiological basis from anything that had previously prevailed.


Migrations of Orthodox populations to one part of the world or another occurred for a variety of reasons. These no longer formed a unified and well-defined diaspora, which was loyal to some single mother-church. Determining the character of each was rather a combination of disparate origins and prospects with the evolution in situ of separate church administrations. Even where the loyalties of formerly dependent churches seemed secure, or at least formally maintained, the very passage of time might prompt a revision of the situation.

Thus, many Russians in America claimed some vague affiliation with their mother-church, even when the circumstances of the Soviet period favoured no such thing. They might go further, as they did in 1924 when they claimed effective independence, while yet remaining 'Russian' in their ways. Only much later, in 1970, did the Russian archdiocese (metropolia) in the New World negotiate its formal independence from the Moscow patriarchate8 - regardless of protests from Constantinople.9

Such independence may be one form in which diaspora situations find their resolution. The diaspora takes on a new identity and ceases to be a mere extension of its parent body. At the same time it seeks to be 'independent of nationalisms'.10 The Russian diaspora in America was initially the result of migration in search of income, which, as in Alaska, could also take the form of colonial expansion. But a different reason for diasporas was the disruption of empires which had previously ensured the ecclesial coexistence of disparate subject nations.

Liberation from the Turks led to the emergence of several independent churches in the Balkans. Thus, Constantinople accepted the autonomy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1832 and its autocephaly in 1879. Greece established its own national church in 1852 after the successful conclusion of the national uprising against Ottoman rule thirty years before. The Romanian provinces had asserted their ecclesial independence by 1885. The patriarchate

8 S. Surrency, The quest for Orthodox unity in America (New York: Saints Boris and Gleb Press, 1973), 155-62.

9 Correspondence between Athenagoras Spyrou, patriarch of Constantinople, and the locum tenens of the patriarch of Moscow, metropolitan Pimen Izvekov in Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii 9 (1970), 6-15.

10 J. Meyendorffin Contacts 77 (1970), 310.

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