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The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church, led by Metropolitan Herman. Its territory includes Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
It began with the missionary work of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands in the late 18th century (see Herman of Alaska). In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution brought communication between the churches in North America and Russia to an almost complete halt. In the early 1920s, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow directed all Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia to govern themselves autonomously until regular communication and travel could be resumed. At that time, parishes which had been part of a single North American Diocese organized separate dioceses and placed themselves under various other mother churches, giving rise to the current situation of multiple overlapping Orthodox Church jurisdictions in North America.
In the early 1960s, the Orthodox Church in America resumed communication with the Patriarch of Moscow, and in 1970 full communion was restored. In April of that year, the Patriarch of Moscow signed a tomos granting the OCA autocephaly, or self-governing administrative status.
Within the past twenty years, the OCA has established over 220 new parishes. It is a member of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA), together with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and the other member jurisdictions.