The best unorthodox church might not be what you’re expecting. Some might even consider it a joke. However, the Bay Area is home to many of these kinds of churches. One example is the Church of John Coltrane, which recognizes the late jazz saxophonist as a saint. Despite its oddity, the Church has grown in popularity. Today, it has chapters in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Vancouver, and Victoria.
Jerk Church in the Bay Area
Jerk Church is an unorthodox church that has a musical bent. While it seems mostly like a joke, the Bay Area is not without unorthodox churches with a slant. For instance, there is the Church of John Coltrane, which recognizes the late jazz saxophonist as a saint. Though it is a bit out of left field, Jerk Church is catching on, with chapters in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Victoria.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCOR) was founded by bishops in exile after the Russian Civil War. The Soviet government had declared open hostility toward the Russian Orthodox Church and had executed nearly 7,000 priests. In the aftermath of the civil war, ROCOR was granted a decree by St. Tikhon, patriarch of Moscow, to govern the church independently until the Russian Orthodox Church was free to practice its faith. The main purpose of the organization was to preserve the Russian traditions until the Russian Orthodox Church was free to operate in Russia.
In 2001, Metropolitan Laurus was elected First Hierarch of ROCOR and the ROCOR and Moscow Patriarchate began rapprochement. The hierarchs of both churches exchanged multiple official visits and a formal date was announced for full communion. This agreement did not come about immediately, but it was a good start.
During this time, ROCOR remained in communion with Old Calendarist jurisdictions such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece, the Orthodox Church of Romania, and the Church of Bishop Photii. However, as Communism collapsed in Russia, ROCOR also established “Free Russian” parishes in the country. It also consecrated bishops to oversee these parishes. However, the ROCOR never recognized the catacomb bishops as legitimate.
The ROCOR is an Orthodox church that was formed during World War II and is part of the Moscow Patriarchate. It has thirteen bishops in nine dioceses around the world, including one who retired. Its membership in the ROCOR has grown significantly in the past few decades.