Moscow, August 12, Interfax - On Patriarch Kirill's behalf, head of the Patriarchal administration on foreign institutions Metropolitan Antony addressed the so-called "Russian exarchate" in Western Europe with a suggestion to join the Moscow Patriarchate.
"If general assembly of the exarchate takes a decision to ask about joining the Moscow Patriarchate and if the corresponding petition is addressed to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod and the latter can take a decision about joining the Moscow Patriarchate," Metropolitan Antony said in his letter written on the patriarch's request spread on Saturday by deputy administrator of the Patriarchate Bishop Savva.
The document also describes conditions which the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (this is the official name of the "Russian exarchate") will have to observe to join the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to the document, head of archdiocese will join the Russian Orthodox Church as a diocesan hierarch, all clerics and laity can also be accepted to the Moscow Patriarchate if they wish it. The exarchate head will be named after the
Moscow Patriarch during divine services.
It is promised to the Archdiocese that all its liturgical and pastoral traditions will be preserved, as well as its statute and traditions of administration.
The Archdiocese will receive the holy chrism for sacraments from the Moscow Patriarchate. It will also consider suggested by the Archdiocese list of candidates to bishops and if necessary introduce changes in it.
The general assembly of the Archdiocese, which will take a decision about its future, is planned for September 7.
The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe (the Russian Exarchate) with center in Paris was set up on basis of Russian emigrants parishes after the Revolution of 1917. Since the 1930s it was administered by Constantinople, however in November, 2018 the Synod in Istanbul took a unilateral decision to dismiss the Russian exarchate and offered its clerics and believers to move under administration of local Greek bishops. The Archdiocese has not agreed with this decision and today is discussing variants of its future one of which is joining the Russian Orthodox Church.
The archdiocese has 65 parishes, 11 acting churches, two monasteries and seven hermitages in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweeden, Denmark, Italy and Spain, there are over 100 priests and 30 deacons among its clergy.