Moscow, September 9, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate will accept those communities of the “Russian exarchate” of Constantinople which will show their will to join it, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax.
“Those of them who will turn to the Russian Church with a request to accept them, will be accepted,” the priest said Saturday evening, commenting the results of “the Russian exarchate’s” General Assembly, which failed to collect the number of votes necessary for joining the Russian Church.
According to the priest, results of the assembly witness to the fact that “significant part of clerics and laity would like to join the Russian Church.” However, their number was not enough to take a decision about joining the Moscow Patriarchate.
“It is difficult to tell the future of these clerics and communities, it depends on their own will,” Father Nikolay said.
He also said that organizational form of their existence under the Moscow Patriarchate will depend on the number of clerics and communities who will choose to join the Russian Orthodox Church.
As was reported, late in November 2018 the Synod in Istanbul adopted the unilateral decision on dismissing the “Russian exarchate” and suggested its clergy and believers to subordinate to local Greek hierarchs. The Archdiocese did not agree with this decision and started discussing options of its future, one of them was restoring unity with the Russian Orthodox Church.
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, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain, there are over 100 priests and 30 deacons among its clergy.