Archdiocese of Western Europe to sign document of unification with Russian Church Nov. 3 in Moscow

Paris, October 8, 2019

© Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images     

Representatives from the Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe will travel to Moscow to sign a document of acceptance into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church on November 3, His Eminence Archbishop John of Dubna told TASS yesterday.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met yesterday at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and officially decided to receive those parishes and clerics from the Archdiocese who had requested to join the Russian Church.

“We are pleased with this decision and will head to Moscow on November 3 to sign the document,” Abp. John said.

He also noted that he had a phone conversation with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill yesterday, who informed him of the Synod’s decision. “[The Patriarch] informed me that the Synod [of the ROC] granted our request and adopted the protocol that was attached to our appeal. We developed this protocol together with the Moscow Patriarchate,” he commented.

The Synod’s decision stipulates that, according to the above-mentioned protocol, the Archdiocese will preserve the liturgical and pastoral features that are part of its tradition, as well as the historically-established features of its diocesan and parish administration, and that the Archdiocese will be governed according to its own statutes.

Abp. John previously announced that the Archdiocese will elect two vicar bishops—something it was not allowed to do under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, despite Abp. John’s old age. The decision of the Russian Holy Synod specifically allows for the Archdiocese to elect new bishops, with the decision being approved by the Holy Synod.

The Synod also “call[s] upon the bishops, clergy, and laity of all dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in Western Europe, including the dioceses of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Western Europe, the dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad, and the Archdiocese, to fruitful cooperation.”

Finally, the decision states that as the Moscow Patriarchate has several overlapping structures in Western Europe, there will be further discussion, with the participation of all interested parties, on how to improve its presence there.

Recall that Abp. John, the ruling hierarch of the Archdiocese, was received into the Moscow Patriarchate on September 14, and on September 28, a majority of the clergy and parishes of the Archdiocese resolved to join him.

Meanwhile, a group of clergy and laity in France who did not wish to join the Moscow Patriarchate met with Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul on Saturday to discuss their future within his metropolis.

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