What on earth is ‘ЯOAC’?

Here again for blog readers' information is ROAC in a nutshell.

ROAC is the 'Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church' based in Suzdal', Russia, not to be confused with ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia based in New York City, but ROCOR figures in its history.

After the collapse of the USSR, even though there was still an Orthodox church in Russia, ROCOR set up a vicariate in its mother country, promoting a Fr Valentin, formerly a monk and priest in the Russian Church for about 30 years, to bishop. But then he broke with that church and started his own, promoting himself to metropolitan.

In Eastern vagante fashion, like the separated Russian Old Believers and crazy Greek Old Calendarists it claims to be the real Orthodox church. The Orthodox communion sees ROAC as outside that communion and so technically it's a non-Orthodox group.

Most disturbingly, it seems to be engaging in dodgy online activity, recruiting 'disaffected young men who have drifted from one fundamentalism to another' (to quote Joseph Willcoxson) to move to their compound in Colorado and be rebaptized by people they've never met. (I can't think of any Christian church that operates like that.) Just as disturbing, its young followers have followed and harassed online at least one person who changed his mind and ended his online association with the group.

(To be fair, that seemed the doing of a strange American cleric who's likewise bounced between churches and the metropolitan sacked him when he found out.)

Anatoly Rusantsov (alias Metropolitan Valentin) strikes me as a wily Russian con man who, since he once was an Orthodox priest and so knows how to make churches and services look and sound right, is taking advantage of pious but ignorant Russians for fun and profit.

Putting up a page 'proving' 'lines of apostolic succession' is a dead giveaway of a vagante (bogus) group. 'Quaaaaaack, quack, quack!'

Or as a nice third-generation American girl of Russian heritage and from a family of Orthodox priests put it, 'Раскольникам - анафима!'

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