Moscow Patriarchate given use of church in 6th century Swiss monastery for 20 years

Saint-Maurice, Switzerland, March 2, 2018

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In a recently concluded deal, the Korsun Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has been given use of a church in the ancient Monastery of the Holy Martyr Maurice for a period of 20 years, reports the Korsun Diocese.

The Territorial Abbey of the Holy Martyr Maurice, who suffered at the end of the 3rd century together with the Roman Theban Legion he commanded during the persecutions of Emperor Maximian, is the oldest continually functioning monastery of Western Europe, founded in 515.

As a center of pilgrimage for both Eastern and Western Christians from antiquity, the abbey is a great holy site of the Christian world. According to ancient Church tradition, the monastery adheres to the Rule of St. Augustine of Hippo and is a territorial abbey, meaning the ruling abbot is a bishop, under whose jurisdiction the surrounding parishes fall.

With the blessing of Bishop Nestor of Korsun, and with the consent of the abbot and spiritual council of the monastery, services recently began to be held in the monastery by priests of the Moscow Patriarchate.

An agreement on the transfer of the monastery’s Church of the Holy Apostle James to the Korsun Diocese was signed on Wednesday by Abbot John (Scarsella), monastery steward Fr. Olivier Rodion, and Fr. Augustine Sokolovsky of the Trinity Cathedral in Paris.

According to the agreement on gratuitous use, the church is transferred for regular Orthodox services to the jurisdiction of the Korsun Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate for 20 years (the maximum allowed by Swiss law), with the right to automatically extend the agreement.

Two other such agreements have been worked out for the Korsun Diocese’s use of Catholic parishes in Portugal since the beginning of the year.

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