MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) voted Friday evening to reunite with Moscow, signaling the end of an 80-year rift.
A statement on the ROCOR Web site said the church's Council of Bishops had approved an Act on Canonical Communion drafted this week by the church's international conference, the All-Diaspora Council held in San Francisco. The ROCOR will now join the Moscow Patriarchate as a self-governed branch, similar to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
It will retain its autonomy in terms of pastoral, educational, administrative, economic, property and secular issues.
The revolutions of 1917 and ensuing Civil War in Russia caused a split in the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1920s, when some top clergy in exile refused to be subordinated to Church leaders who had allegedly collaborated with the Communists.
Metropolitan Laurus, the head of the ROCOR, visited Russia in May 2004 and participated in a number of joint services. The sides decided at the time to set up joint commissions, and determined the range of issues to be discussed at the All-Diaspora Council, which met for the first time since 1974.