27 February 2006, 14:28
Diocese of Korsun officially expresses its regret for attempts of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to justify an ‘unfriendly act’
Paris, February 27, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate diocese of Korsun refuted accusations leveled by the diocesan administration of the Exarchate of Russian parishes in Western Europe (Patriarchate of Constantinople) against ‘certain Russian media’ in the ‘incorrect and biased coverage’ of the fact of a Moscow Patriarchate delegation finding themselves in front of closed doors of the Church of the Assumption at the Saint-Genevieve du Bois cemetery in suburban Paris.
Diocese of Korsun comprising the Moscow Patriarchate parishes in Western Europe thinks that the recently published statement of the West European Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople presents an ‘incomplete and distorted version of the events’.
Official statement of the Korsun diocese headed by archbishop Innokenty (Vasilyev) expresses ‘bitter regret’ for both ‘an act apparently unfriendly toward the Russian Orthodox Church’ and ensuing attempts to justify it.
Diocese of Korsun remarked that last December archbishop Innokenty invited archbishop Gabriel of Comane to take part in the forthcoming celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Moscow Patriarchate cathedral of the Three Hierarchs in Paris, but invitation was not accepted ‘due to his being very busy’.
In January, the head of the Russian Orthodox church diocese in Western Europe asked to allow high guests from Russia to celebrate requiem service in the Church of the Assumption at the Russian cemetery in Saint-Genevieve du Bois. It was emphasized that requiem service would be celebrated ‘for all deceased representatives of the Russian diaspora irrespective of their jurisdiction’.
It became clear from Archbishop Gabriel’s response that he could allow a requiem service in ‘our Church of the Assumption’ provided that he would officiate, rather than representatives of the Russian church senior to him. The cemetery in Saint-Genevieve was called not Russian but ‘communal’.
Archbishop Innokenty wrote in his new letter that the requiem would be celebrated not in the church but at the cemetery. ‘Nevertheless, we ask your permission to visit the Church of the Assumption and the crypt where we would like to say memory eternal to the hierarchs buried there’, the letter read but remained without response.
According to the reports of the diocese of Korsun of February 13, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, ‘hierarchs from various countries of Western Europe and Russia, clergymen, guests, and the many worshippers’ saw to their great disappointment ‘the doors of the church closed in spite of repeated requests’.
The message underscores that ‘no representative of the Archdiocese (Exarchate of Russian parishes - IF) met high guests on the territory of the church’ while representatives of the city administration ‘considered it their duty to welcome the Russian Orthodox delegation at the Church of the Assumption’.
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