Sunday, February 24, 2019

Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe votes against dissolution- considering where to go

The extraordinary General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe met in Paris yesterday to decide the fate of the Archdiocese after Constantinople suddenly and unexpected revoked the 1999 tomos that established it as an exarchate in late November.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople explained that the parishes of the Russian Exarchate were to simply move under the Patriarchate’s local Greek bishop, though this directive was received unfavorably by the Exarchate’s hierarch Archbishop John of Chariopoulis and the clergy who met on December 15 and resolved to hold the General Assembly in late February to decide on an official response.

The Archdiocese was largely in favor of staying together as a group, and it was reported that they were considering joining the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, or the Romanian Patriarchate, among other options.

As Orthodoxie reports, Abp. John opened the Assembly with a sobering word on the need for unity and canonicity:

Today, we need to choose between life and death. Choosing life will mean the continuity of our Archdiocese in its own space in communion with the Church. Another option might be to say, yes, we stay in our own space, but we remain in a kind of terra incognita, and I think this is not the right path. So today, we must keep unity, that’s the most important, and choose a path of life. Therefore, I urge you, let not this meeting be a split between us, rather, let it be a sign of unity and a strong ecclesial sign.
And reporting on the results, Orthodoxie states that of the 206 voters, 191 voted against the dissolution of the Archdiocese, with only 15 voting to remain within the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its main Western European dioceses.

Read the rest here.

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