What is OCCA

The Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (OCCA) is an autocephalous (self-governing) jurisdiction of Orthodox Christianity which was established in the United States about 100 years ago. The name indicates that we belong to that part of the universal ("catholic") church that is informed by the traditions of ancient ("orthodox") Christianity, especially in its non-Roman, Oriental forms. Because the Holy Spirit continues to work among us now, we allow her to lead us in new directions where that is the most faithful way to bear witness to apostolic truth - such as, for example, opening holy orders to baptized Christians who are called to minister in that way regardless of gender. Finally, we are "of America" in that unlike many Orthodox jurisdictions, we are not tied to any particular ethnic or cultural tradition in the "old country," although we respect and honor many such traditions. Instead we partake of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural society that is modern America. (We have congregations in Mexico and Australia as well.)


The Church celebrates predominantly a version of the Western Liturgy (Latin Rite) though some priests also celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (Byzantine Rite) or the Divine Liturgy of Mar Addai and Mar Mari (Oriental Rite). The Church finds itself incarnated in a Western world, but with Eastern (and Oriental) theology and patterns of thought. In particular, we consider ourselves a "Church of the Three Councils" in that we are guided by the first three Ecumenical Councils of the Church, held at Nicea, Constantinople, and Ephesus respectively over a period of about 125 years between 325 and 451 A.D. This is because our origins lie with the Syrian Orthodox Church, which does not accept the later councils usually called Ecumenical in the West, and also because we believe these three councils are sufficient to guide a modern church of the 21st century. You can find a longer discussion of this here [A Church of the Three Councils].


We strive to make a home for those whom no one else has reached, or who have come to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in their former religious communities. At the same time, we welcome those who are for the first time coming to learn of God's love for humankind and seeking a way to worship and pray with others. The mercy of God is important to us as we realize that we are redeemed by the love of God.

All are welcome to walk with us on our journey.