Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul announced the beginning of creating of the vicariate of Russian parishes in the structure of his metropolis in France. It`s informed at orthodoxie.com, where was published the appeal to the flock and to the clergy.
The text lists the parishes in France that decided to stay in the Church of Constantinople, and also provides information about what is happening in Great Britain and other European countries, in which the communities of this exarchate operated until the obscure Phanar’s decision to “dissolve” the Western European Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of the Russian tradition.
As Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul promises, internal autonomy and statutory order will be preserved in the future vicariate. On January 18, 2020, the “Phanar” part of the parishes will hold an extraordinary general meeting to clarify their future existence within the framework of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, a meeting of clergy and laity is planned, where the principles of the vicariate will be established.
The prepared first issue of “La Lettre du vicariat” states that many parishes have not yet determined their future destiny – the choice of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Phanar or another Orthodox jurisdiction. It is recalled that metropolitan Jean did not oblige anyone to follow him, joining the Moscow Patriarchate, and it is possible that those who disagree with his choice will form a vicariate in France or a deanery in Great Britain. The authors of the publication declare that the dignified activity of the Archdiocese “remained in the twentieth century”, and in the new century “we need to look for a new place in the life of the Church.” It is also stated that “the greatest sorrow is the break in Eucharistic communion with the ROC,” and that the Constantinople Church welcomes any Orthodox who has come to the spiritual life of the Church.
According to the information of the Phanar’s supporters, which is based on the list of parishes in November 2019 and allows for a possible error of 5%, two-thirds of parishes in France followed metropolitan Jean to the Russian Orthodox Church. About a third (out of 57) remains with the Phanar, in addition, four parishes continue to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch and metropolitan Emmanuel, but have not yet finally decided. One parish went to the Romanian Church.
In Spain, two communities remained with the Constantinople Church. There are 8 communities in Italy, two have previously joined the ROCOR, three have gone to the ROC, with others the situation is unclear.
In Germany, out of four communities, two joined the ROC, one went to Constantinople, with other parishes issue is being resolved.
In the deanery of Scandinavia, not a single parish out of 16 followed metropolitan Jean. Five joined the metropolis of Constantinople, six – went to the diocese of the Serbian Church, four are associated with the Bulgarian hierarchs, the latter is still deciding.
The parishes of the deanery of Great Britain and Ireland – 16 (a total of 9 parishes and 7 communities) – predominantly chose the omophorion of the local hierarch of the Church of Constantinople, four communities went to the ROC, one priest – to the metropoliss of the Romanian Church, one – to the Church of Antioch. A legal meeting has already been held in Great Britain, and it was decided to dissolve the previous deanery and form a new one – with the subordination of the local archdiocese of Constantinople. However, probably eleven out of 21 clergymen followed to the Russian Orthodox Church – these are two parishes, a community in Scotland and a monastery.
The project of the preserving the integrity of the Archdiocese has failed, according to the authors of the issue. Of the fewer than 120 parishes, about forty remain with Constantinople, four have chosen the Romanian jurisdiction, six – the Serbian, four – the Bulgarian, two – the ROCOR, one – the Patriarchate of Antioch. So far, it turns out that slightly more than 50% of the parishes of the Archdiocese remain with metropolitan Jean
At the general meeting on September 7, 2019, where the issue of joining the Archdiocese to the ROC was decided, about 58% of the participants voted for this draft decision, which generally coincides with the map of decisions of parishes.