Religion: A Little Stove

In a small stucco house in San Francisco last week, five bearded, black-robed men sat talking around a dining-room table. It was a sobor (ecclesiastical meeting) of the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church of North America. But the sobor had none of Orthodoxy's historic pomp—not even an ikon to remind the assembled bishops of the glory that once was St. Petersburg.

Since 1919, when it broke away from the Communist-suppressed mother church in Moscow, the largest branch of North American Orthodoxy has sadly, steadfastly maintained its autonomy. Not that there has been a...

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