The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Russian: Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей, Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov' Zagranitsey), or ROCOR, also until 2007 part of True Orthodoxy's Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, historically also referred to as Karlovatsky Synod (Russian: Карловацкий синод), or "Karlovatsky group", or the Synod of Karlovci, is since 2007 a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). The ROCOR was established in the early 1920s as a de facto independent ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Eastern Orthodoxy initially as a result of some of the Russian bishops having lost regular liaison with the central church authority in Moscow due to the Russian Civil War and subsequent exile, a situation that was later effectively institutionalised by their rejection of the Moscow Patriarchate′s unconditional political loyalty to the Bolshevik regime in the USSR formally promulgated by the Declaration of 20 July 1927 of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), deputy Patriarchal locum tenens. Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky), of Kiev and Galicia, was the founding First Hierarch of the ROCOR.
After decades of separation, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia officially signed the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate on 17 May 2007, restoring the canonical link between the churches effecting a split with the much diminished Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) which remained within the True Orthodoxy movement.
The jurisdiction has around 400 parishes worldwide and an estimated membership of over 400,000 people. Of these, 138 parishes and 10 monasteries are in the United States, with 27,700 adherents and over 9,000 regular church attendees. ROCOR has 13 hierarchs, with male and female monasteries in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and South America.
In May 1919, at the peak of the military success of the White forces under Gen Anton Denikin, in the Russian city of Stavropol, controlled by the White Army then, a group of Russian bishops organised an ecclesiastical administration body, the Temporary Higher Church Administration in South–East Russia (Russian: Временное высшее церковное управление на Юго-Востоке России). On 7 November (20 November) 1920, Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, his Synod, and the Supreme Church Council in Moscow issued a joint resolution № 362 instructing all Russian Orthodox Christian bishops, should they be unable to maintain liaison with the Supreme Church Administration in Moscow, to seek protection and guidance by organizing among themselves; the resolution thus effectively legitimised the Temporary Higher Church Administration and went on to serve as the legal basis for the eventual establishment of a completely independent church body.
In November 1920, after the final defeat of the Russian Army in South Russia, a number of Russian bishops evacuated from Crimea to Constantinople, then occupied by British, French and Italian forces. After learning of the decision of Gen Pyotr Wrangel to keep his army, it was decided to keep the Russian ecclesiastical organisation as a separate entity abroad as well. The Temporary Church Authority met on 19 November 1920, aboard the ship Grand Duke Alexader Mikhailovich (Russian: «Великий князь Александр Михайлович»), presided over by Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky). Metropolitan Antony and Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenkov) were appointed to examine the canonicity of the organization. On 2 December 1920, they received permission from Metropolitan Dorotheos of Prussia, Locum Tenens of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, to establish "for the purpose of the service of the population and to oversee the ecclesiastic life of Russian colonies in Orthodox countries a temporary committee (epitropia) under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate"; the committee was called the Temporary Higher Church Administration Abroad (THCAA).
On 14 February 1921, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) settled down in the town of Sremski Karlovci, Serbia, where he was given the palace of former Patriarchs of Karlovci (the Patriarchate of Karlovci had been abolished in 1920). In the course of the subsequent few months, at the invitation of Patriarch Dimitrije of Serbia, the other eight bishops of the THCAA, including Anastasius (Gribanovsky) and Benjamin (Fedchenkov), as well as numerous priests and monks, relocated to Serbia. On 31 August 1921, the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Church passed a resolution, effective from 3 October, that recognised the THCAA as an administratively independent jurisdiction for exiled Russian clergy outside the Kingdom of SHS as well as those Russian clergy in the Kingdom of SHS who were not in parish or state educational service; the THCAA jurisdiction would also extend to divorce cases of the exiled Russians.
With the agreement of Patriarch Dimitrije of Serbia, between 21 November and 2 December 1921, the "General assembly of representatives of the Russian Church abroad" (Russian: Всезаграничное Русское Церковное Собрание) took place in Sremski Karlovci. It was later renamed the First All-Diaspora Council and was presided over by Metropolitan Anthony. The Council established the "Supreme Ecclesiastic Administration Abroad" (SEAA), composed of a patriarchal Locum Tenens, a Synod of Bishops, and a Church Council. The Council decided to appoint Metropolitan Anthony the Locum Tenens, but he declined to accept the position without permission from Moscow and instead called himself the President of the SEAA. The Council adopted a number of resolutions and appeals (missives), the two notable ones being addressed to the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church ″in diaspora and exile″ («Чадам Русской Православной Церкви, в рассеянии и изгнании сущим») and to the International Conference in Genoa. The former, adopted with a majority of votes (but not unanimously, Metropolitan Eulogius Georgiyevsky being the most prominent critic of such specific political declarations), expressly proclaimed a political goal of restoring monarchy in Russia with a tsar from the House of Romanov. The appeal to the Genoa Conference, which was published the following year, called on the world powers to intervene and “help banish Bolshevism” from Russia. Furthermore, the majority of the Council members secretly decided to request that Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (while, pursuant to the laws of the Russian Empire, the seniormost surviving male member of the Romanovs was Kirill Vladimirovich, who proclaimed himself the Russian Emperor in exile in August 1924) head up the Russian monarchist movement in exile.