Moscow, September 9, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) will not withdraw from the discussion of prospects for the "Russian exarchate" in Europe, which on Saturday failed to secure enough votes for their reunification.
"Although we can see that a majority voted for joining the Moscow Patriarchate, it still fell short of the two-thirds of votes required by the archdiocese's bylaws for a decision in favor of the move," a Moscow Patriarchate source told journalists.
"The results of the vote mean that further consultations will be held," he said.
This was the sole matter on the agenda of today's general assembly in Paris of the "Russian exarchate" in Western Europe, which was part of the Moscow Patriarchate before the Russian revolution.
Late last November the Patriarchate of Constantinople unilaterally decided to disband the "Russian exarchate" and suggested that it move its clergy and congregation under local Greek archbishops. The archdiocese refused and started to discuss its future options.
A month ago the Moscow Patriarchate offered it to re-join the Russian Orthodox Church while retaining its bylaws and traditions. In late August, the Constantinople Patriarchate expelled the exarch Archbishop John from its ranks, leading the exarchate to rule out any future as part of Constantinople.
The archdiocese has 65 parishes, eleven active churches, two monasteries and seven sketes in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain. Its clergy numbers over 100 priests and 30 deacons.