At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Russian Orthodox Church was not simply a state or national religious institution, but an organization of international signifi cance. Its canonical authority spread far beyond the borders of the Russian Empire, embracing an archdiocese in North America, parishes in Western Europe and missions in the Middle and the Far East. No other Orthodox Church could compare with it. The February and October revolutions in 1917, however, called the very existence of the Russian Orthodox Church into question.