Paris; Moscow, December 13, 2018
Credo Press, attributed to Archbishop John (Renneteau) of Chariopoulis of Constantinople’s Archdiocese of the Russian Churches in Western Europe, to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, in which he informs the Russian primate of the Archdiocese’s desire to be received into the Russian Church. Credo Press wrote that the letter had been supplied to the site by an employee of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).
OrthoChristian ran an article saying that the Archdiocese was “reportedly” planning to ask the Russian Church for canonical acceptance.
Yesterday evening, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov of the DECR told Interfax, which had also posted news about the Archbishop’s supposed request, that no such letter had been received by the DECR, calling the fake letter a “provocation.”
While Fr. Nikolai denied the existence and reception of such a letter, he did not deny the contacts and discussions that have taken place between the Archdiocese and the Moscow Patriarchate since the former’s sudden abolition by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on November 27.
Furthermore, in speaking with OrthoChristian, Fr. Jivko Panev of Orthodoxie.com, a priest of the Western European Archdiocese, relayed that Abp. John himself had confirmed that the letter is a fake.
Moreover, Fr. Jivko, who is also a professor of Canon Law and the History of the Local Churches at the St. Sergius Institute in Paris, explained that the author of the letter seems to be both ecclesiastically illiterate, noting that there is no such “Metropolia of the Russian Church in Western Europe” as is referred to in the letter, and legally illiterate, incorrectly interpreting the French laws to which he refers.
Fr. Jivko said that the letter could be, as Fr. Nikolai said, a provocation, coming from someone who would want to prevent a union of the Archdiocese with the Russian Church.
The Archdiocese announced earlier this month that a clergy meeting will be held on Saturday, December 15, at which a date for a General Assembly will be set, whereat the Archdiocese will formulate a response to Constantinople’s actions. Fr. Jivko emphasized that Abp. John would not make such a request of the Russian Church before the General Assembly is given a chance to formulate its response.
Additionally, Fr. Jivko explained that the Archdiocese is concerned with being able to maintain its structure and traditions and that, in his view, the Moscow Patriarchate is likely ready to grant such canonical recognition.
See also Orthodoxie's report on the matter.
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