Constantinople adopted a decision to dissolve the parishes of the Russian tradition in Western Europe. The goal of this initiative, the Holy Synod was called to strengthen the bond of the Russian parishes with the Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Reasons for dissolution may be several, including anti-Russian sentiment, experts say. In addition, analysts do not exclude that Constantinople feared a mass transition of the Russian parishes under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
- © OZAN KOSE
The Patriarchate of Constantinople adopted a decision to disband the Exarchate of parishes of Russian tradition in Europe. This is stated in the statement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the meeting on 27 November 2018 decided to cancel the Patriarchal Tomos of 1999,” — said in a statement.
The communique noted that the dissolution of the Western European Exarchate of Russian parishes respond “to the pastoral needs of our time”. The purpose of the decisions added to the Patriarchy, is to reinforce the connection of the parishes of the Russian tradition with the Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“The Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to join the (Russian) parishes to various metropolitanates of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the countries where they are” — a statement quoted by RIA Novosti.
In turn, the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches, said that he had not received official notifications in connection with the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“The wards just will not obey”
The original Exarchate of Russian churches in Western Europe were established on a temporary basis. His education was due to the plight of the Church in the Soviet Union, said in an interview with RT, Deputy head of the Synodal Department for external Church relations Archpriest Nikolai Balashov.
“The Patriarch of Constantinople Photius, who had received into his jurisdiction Metropolitan Eulogius, who headed the Russian parishes in Western Europe, expressed confidence that the interim submission of the parishes of Constantinople would continue until, until you restore a unified representation of the Holy fraternal Russian Church. In 1965, a temporary successor had already been suspended in its action and is dismissed”, — he explained.
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Note that in 1965 the Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras refused jurisdiction over the parishes of the Russian tradition in Western Europe. However, six years later the Patriarchate of Constantinople restored the patronage to the Western European parishes of the Russian Exarchate. Then he was transformed into the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe.
This time, however, the decision to dissolve the Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not notify clergy of churches of Russian tradition.
“Now we see that the Exarchate was abolished. It is obvious that the current head of the decision came as a surprise — he did not consult anyone. With the clergy of the Exarchate and the parish, too, was not consulted. This decision was taken in a willful manner,” — said Balashov.
However, the experts expressed the opinion that the clergy of the Russian parishes do not agree with the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Bishop John will convene the Council of the Archdiocese, said the Professor of the St. Tikhon Orthodox humanitarian University Vladislav parsley.
“The Archdiocese is not going to give up and intends to discuss the situation and decide how to act. Parishes will resist, maybe the whole Archdiocese to take any decision,” he said in an interview with RT.
The Exarchate has 65 parishes, 32 communities, and 11 churches, and two monasteries. They are located in the territories of France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, great Britain, Norway and Sweden.
If you follow the logic of the decision of the Holy Synod, the parishes of the Russian tradition will have to obey the bishops of the Greek metropolis, which in these countries are located, I added parsley.
“But I’m not sure that this will happen, parishes are not so easy to obey. In Western Europe there is a certain religious law, which implies greater freedom to the parish structures”, — concluded the expert.
The mass Exodus
The reasons for this decision, the Holy Synod may be several, experts stress. One of the concerns about the possible transition of the parishes of the Russian tradition under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate or the Russian Church abroad, said Vladislav parsley.
“We see that Russian parishes in Western Europe, there is clearly a dissatisfaction with the actions in Ukraine. Recently, the clergy of the Florentine parish said that go to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church abroad. So this is an attempt to take preventive action to prevent a mass Exodus to the Moscow Patriarchate or the Russian Church abroad”, — he explained.
The same view is shared by Balashov. The Protopriest noted that many parishes of the Russian tradition have long sought consolidation with the Moscow Patriarchate. While the ROC did not deny the parishes of the Exarchate in taking them into its jurisdiction.
“In 2004, in Western Europe there was “Movement for local Orthodoxy of the Russian tradition”. It’s such a social organization mainly of the laity, which sought to develop dialogue with Moscow and the consolidation of Russian religious communities. Thus, a separate community, which was part of the Exarchate, passed into the Russian Church,” he said in an interview with RT.
However, experts note that the decision of Constantinople also may be due to anti-Russian sentiments. In parallel Constantinople can perform a political order, acting in concert with the West, did not rule out parsley.
“On the one hand, this development ambitions of Constantinople, where the Orthodox Church seems to be the main obstacle for the transformation of the Constantinople Patriarchy in the home. Russian Church tradition — an obstacle to Constantinople,” — said the expert.
- Patriarch Bartholomew Of Constantinople
- RIA Novosti
- © Sergey Pyatakov
We will remind, in October, Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church announced the suspension of the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
This decision was taken against the background of statements about Constantinople granting autocephaly to the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate.
The reason for rupture of relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with Constantinople was also the termination of Thomas 1686 on the transfer of the Kyiv Metropolitanate to the Moscow Patriarchate.
“The division remains split, the schism leaders remain leaders of division. And that Church, which, recognizing Raskolnikov, he joined with them in fellowship, thus excluded from the canonical field,” — said Metropolitan Hilarion, following the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.