Paris, December 3, 2019
Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has announced the creation of a vicariate of Russian parishes in France and has promised them autonomy.
The announcement can be read in the first edition of “The Letter of the Vicariate.”
The new vicariate is meant to offer a home to the few parishes and clergy that did not remain with the Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe that was suddenly and unexpectedly dissolved by the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople last November and which was recently reunited to the Moscow Patriarchate.
In the announcement, Met. Emmanuel reminded that by decision of the Patriarchate last November, “the parishes of the former Exarchate were invited to unite with the metropolises of the countries in which they are located.”
He also reminds that he first offered to create a vicariate on February 7, in an effort to keep the parishes in the Patriarchate after seeing that the majority of the clergy and people were serious about remaining together as one group under their hierarch, then-Archbishop John, and were considering options for which jurisdiction to join.
This offer has now been fulfilled, he writes, “with the creation of the Vicariate of the Russian Tradition Under the Metropolis of France,” which “will possess internal autonomy and its own statutes.”
“In the coming months, you will have to work for the establishment of this collection of parishes and communities in order to continue to ensure a faithful witness to the heritage common to the whole Orthodox Church,” the Constantinople hierarch writes.
Met. Emmanuel also announced the convening of a General Assembly of the Vicariate on January 18, 2020, which “will be the first step towards clarifying the difficult situation in which we find ourselves.”