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Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe: Wikis


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The Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe is an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Russian Orthodox tradition, based in Paris, and having parishes throughout Europe, mainly centered in France. The Exarchate is sometimes known as Rue Daru from the street in Paris where its cathedral is located. The current leader of the Exarchate is Archbishop Gabriel of Comane. In 2006 the Exarchate has incorporated a newly established vicariate in Great Britain and Ireland.



The Exarchate traces its origins to the episcopal service of Metropolitan Evlogii, who in the late 1930s felt himself unable to guide his flock of the Russian Orthodox Church within the embrace of the Moscow Patriarchate, given the atheistic influence of Communism in Russia after the revolution of 1917. Metropolitan Evlogii sought to carry forward his service under the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Exarchate therefore sees itself as the successor of the earlier ‘Provisional administration of the Russian parishes in Western Europe’ founded by Patriarch Tikhon (later St Tikhon) of Moscow and entrusted to Evlogii in 1921.[1]

The Exarchate was closed in 1965 by Patriarch Athenagoras I (through a letter dated 22 November), with an assembly meeting the following year (16–18 February 1966) noting that such provisional ethnic structures were no longer necessary, given that the passage of several generations had allowed immigrants to become accustomed to their new lands, which were now made up of more and more converts to the faith.

The Exarchate remained closed until 22 January 1971, when it was reinstated by the same Patriarch Athenagoras I - again under the Omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarch, but with internal autonomy of organisation. This status was blessed by Patriarch Bartholomew I in 1999, 19 June, who, according to the Exarchate's own account 'recognised the full autonomy of the Archidiocese in administrative, pastoral and material terms'.[2]

Structure and composition


Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland

From June 9 2006-October 12 2009 the Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland was the Exarchate's vicariate, overseen by an episcopal vicar in these countries (known at times simply as 'The Vicariate'); but its status since the retirement of its bishop on October 12, 2009, as well as its future existence, are unclear.

The Vicariate, as it existed under its vicar, was (and, though its status and future are unclear, at the present moment still is) made up of two full-time parishes and a few parishes and communities that meet less frequently. It was created by an act of the Council of the Archdiocese during an extraordinary meeting held on 9 June 2006, one day after the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople had met (8 June 2006) and issued a statement receiving Bishop Basil of Sergievo into the Ecumenical Patriarchate - an act that caused substantial controversy, as he had not been released from the Moscow Patriarchate.[1] The same statement gave Bishop Basil the new title, Bishop of Amphipolis (taken from an ancient see in Greece that no longer has a bishop), and charged him with the care of Exarchate's parishes in Great Britain and Ireland, as auxiliary bishop under Archbishop Gabriel of Komana in Paris.[3] At that time, no such parishes existed. After his appointment a number of parishes and communities, as well as some of the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Sourozh, followed Bishop Basil into the Exarchate and came to constitute the Episcopal Vicariate.

Bishop Basil's first liturgical service as a member of the Exarchate was a concelebration of the Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Gabriel in the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris on 18 June 2006. Statutes were adopted by the Episcopal Vicariate on 23 June 2007 [4]and the Vicariate was registered as a charity (registration number 1124252) on 29 May 2008.[5]

Parishes and communities:

The Vicariate has two parishes that keep a normal cycle of Saturday Vespers, Sunday Matins, Sunday Liturgy and Festal Liturgies:
Additionally, one parish shares its building with a Greek Parish, with each responsible for services on two weekends of the month; together they celebrate the normal cycle of Sunday Liturgies and services, each being responsible for roughly half the services celebrated:
Other parishes hold services less regularly:
The Vicariate also includes the following Eucharistic Communities:
Of the above, two parishes (Canterbury and Clapham)at present share a single priest (Fr Alexander Fostiropoulos).
Two additional parishes deserve mention:
  • Orthodox Parish of the Dormition Holborn - the first services in this new Community, later created as a Parish, took place on 17 September 2006. This parish offers services on the weeks that the parish in Clapham does not meet.[
  • Parish of Saints Aidan and Chad in Nottingham - The original Parish divided and there are now two communities of the same dedication, one belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate worshipping at the Church of the Transfiguration in Carlton, and the other belonging to the Exarchate now worshipping at the Church of St. Leodegarius at Basford.
There is now a small monastic community at St Anne's House in the city of York. [7]
A new community has now been established in Cumbria/The Lake District with its own priest.

Retirement of Bishop Basil, and the Vicariate's Future

Since Bishop Basil retired (on October 12, 2009) both the the Vicariate has become a Deanery within the Archdiocese and while as yet the formal name of the charity has not been changed, the website [8]refers to the Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland within the Archdiocese.

Bishop Basil initially announced his retirement in a letter to parishioners on September 1, 2009, stating in that letter that he intended to retire on November 28, 2009, the same day that the Exarchate's Council would meet to, presumably, discuss the Vicariate's future.[9] However, when the Council met on September 23, 2009, under the presidency of Archbishop Gabriel, it moved Bishop Basil's retirement forward, to be effective from October 12, 2009.[10] In its communique No. 05-09 (dated September 23), it noted that Bishop Basil "will not have any further pastoral, liturgical or administrative mission in the Vicariate" from his retirement. Archbishop Gabriel made clear that the life of the [Vicariate's] parishes and communities in Great Britain and Ireland "are continuing, and that new communities are in formation and the ordinations of new clerics in preparation."[11]

See also

External links


  1. ^ See details under Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh.


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