Moscow, September 14, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate welcomes the intention of the majority of “Russian exarchate” parishes in Europe to return to the Mother-Church.
“Thanks to God, testament of Metropolitan Evlogy, who founded this Russian church inheritance in the countries of the Western Europe, has been accomplished. A long way of coming back home is almost completed,” deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax on Saturday.
Thus he commented on the recent decision of the ROC Synod on accepting the head of exarchate Archbishop John (Renneto) and all parishes who want to follow him.
According to the priest, today if not all parishes of the exarchate, but their major part will preserve peculiarities of their church order and administration.
“We can only rejoice,” the Russian church official resumed.
The Russian exarchate dates back to 1921, when Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and All Russia appointed Paris-based Metropolitan Evlogy the official representative of the Russian Church in Western Europe. In 1927, the Karlovici Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia banned Evlogy from performing his duties and severed liturgical communion with him, which caused Russian emigrants to split into those loyal to the Synod and those loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate.
In 1931, Metropolitan Eulogius, wishing to evade the Soviet authorities' pressure to sign "a pledge of loyalty," temporary switched to the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate but less than a year before his death was again accepted to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. Nevertheless, the majority of clergy and laypeople, led by the new metropolitan, decided to remain under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.
The exarchate currently comprises 65 parishes, 11 acting churches, two monasteries, and seven sketes in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and it has over 100 priests and 30 deacons.