Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe confirms its dissolution, says decision came as surprise

Paris, November 28, 2018

The Archdiocese's St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris. Photo: wikipedia The Archdiocese's St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris. Photo: wikipedia

In a message from its diocesan administration posted today, the Archdiocese of the Russian Churches in Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, officially the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe, has confirmed reports of Constantinople’s decision to dissolve the structure.

Moreover, the administration writes that the decision came as a surprise to the ruling hierarch Archbishop John (Renneteau) of Chariopoulis when he was informed of it by Patriarch Bartholomew himself.

The message reads in full:

To the attention of all members of the Archdiocese, the Diocesan Administration reports that the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate decided on November 27, 2018 to abolish the status of the Exarchate of our Archdiocese.

This decision of the Holy Synod, which has not yet been officially received by the Archdiocese, was in no way requested by the Archdiocese. Vladyka John was not previously consulted on this decision.

While on a working visit to Istanbul/Constantinople for a planned meeting with the Synodal Commission, Archbishop John, accompanied by the Secretary of the Diocesan Council Nicholas Lopukhin, learned of this decision from the Patriarch during their personal meeting.

Archbishop John and the Secretary of the Diocesan Council will return to Paris soon. The next meeting of the Archdiocesan Council will be held in the coming days, at which this issue will be discussed.

Meanwhile, as the Archpastor, responsible for the parishes and communities of the Archdiocese, Vladyka John asks all the clergy and all the faithful to remain calm and to remain in prayer, that the Holy Spirit might enlighten us all.

Further information will be published soon.

On October 28, the Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ and St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Florence, Italy transferred from the jurisdiction of the Western European Archdiocese to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, in response to the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s decisions of October 11.

Last week it was reported that 16 people were excluded from the Church of the Transfiguration in Stockholm, Sweden, also under the Western European Archdiocese, for ceasing to recognize Patriarch Bartholomew and Abp. John as their hierarchs.

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