Small majority votes to join Moscow Patriarchate at Archdiocese of Western Europe General Assembly

Paris, September 7, 2019

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The General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe, formerly an Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, convened in Paris today under the chairmanship of Archdiocesan hierarch His Eminence Archbishop John of Chariopoulis.

As previously reported, the clerical and lay delegates gathered to vote on the future of the Archdiocese, and the only official item on the agenda to be discussed was the proposal to join the Moscow Patriarchate.

According to Fr. Jivko Panev, a priest of the Archdiocese and editor of the popular French Orthodox site Orthodoxie, a small majority voted in favor of accepting the Moscow Patriarchate’s proposal, which would allow the Archdiocese to maintain its particular liturgical and administrative traditions.

Fr. Jivko writes that of 186 delegates present, 185 voted. 6 turned in blank votes, and 104 (58.1%) voted in favor, and 75 (41.9%) against.

However, according to the Archdiocesan statutes, the Assembly’s deliberations require a 2/3 majority to pass (Article 35).

It is known that Abp. John favors joining the Moscow Patriarchate. According to Art. 28 of the statutes, in the event that the Archbishop disagrees with a decision of the General Assembly, a second examination is to be carried out immediately, with the Archbishop explaining the reasons for his disagreement.

If no consensus is reached, a General Assembly shall be convened within 3 months to address the contentious issues. Its decisions are submitted to a 4/5 majority vote. If such a majority does not emerge, the Archbishop decides after consultation with the Episcopal Committee. If a majority greater than 4/5 opposes the Archbishop’s opinion, he should lay his opinion aside in the name of ecclesial conciliarity.

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