Moscow, March 25, 2022
At its session held in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery yesterday, the Holy Synod of the Russian Church approved the internal regulations of the African Exarchate it created in late December.
The regulations state that the Exarchate “is a canonical subdivision of the Russian Orthodox Church established for the purpose of coordinating the religious and educational, publishing, social, educational and missionary activities of dioceses and other canonical subdivisions of the Russian Orthodox Church located on the territory of the Exarchate and included in its composition.”
The document stipulates how the Exarchate is to be governed, with the highest ecclesiastical authority within the structure belonging to its own Synod, which will include the Exarch, currently Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, and those who will be appointed as bishops of the Northern and Southern African Dioceses. The Synod is to meet at least once every six months, and its decisions are to be submitted for approval to the Russian Synod.
Like any other structure of the Russian Church, the Exarchate is also subject to the decisions of the Holy Synod, the Council of Bishops, and the Local Council of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Among the many points, the regulations stipulate that the Patriarch and the Patriarchal Exarch of Africa are to be commemorated in all services.
The Exarchate began with the reception of 102 African priests protesting the Patriarch of Alexandria’s decision to enter into communion with the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
The Russian priests George Maximov and Andrei Novikov then traveled to a number of African countries, distributing antimensions and receiving more priests into the new structure, which led to the Synodal Court of the Patriarchate of Alexandria ruling to defrock the priests for their activity on the Patriarchate’s canonical territory. However, the Russian Church doesn’t recognize Alexandria’s right to judge them.