2019-10-07 15:46:00

Russian Orthodox Church Synod includes in it former Constantinople 'Russian exarchate' (updated)

Sergiyev Posad, October 7, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at an extraordinary session on Monday included in its structure the former "Russian exarchate" of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Western Europe.

"A historical meeting of the Holy Synod is over. The Archdiocese of the Western European parishes of the Russian tradition are now an integral part of the Moscow Patriarchate. Special governance regulations, which are in line with its tradition and which were earlier published as a draft, have been established for it," Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, deputy administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate, writes in his Telegram channel.

The Synod meeting was held in the Holy Trinity Lavra in the Moscow Region.

The Synod meeting was attended by 14 hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, including Patriarch Kirill, who traditionally chairs the session, Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, told Interfax.

The patriarch earlier called the return of the Western European exarchate to the Russian Orthodox Church "the last act closing the drama of the revolution, civil war, the drama of our people's division."

The archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox parishes in Western Europe, also known as the "Russian exarchate," have reported to the Constantinople Patriarchate for some 90 years.

In late 2018, the Synod in Istanbul unilaterally abolished the "Russian exarchate," which made the latter seek new options of its canonical future, one of which was a reunion with the Church in Russia.

On September 14, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church included in it Archbishop John (Renneto), the head of the former Constantinople "Russian exarchate" in Western Europe, and all parishes that wanted to follow him. The reason for such decision was that many people wanted to return to the Russian Orthodox Church, from which the exarchate separated after the revolution in Russia after WWI.

At a meeting in Paris on September 28, an overwhelming majority of the clergy of the "Russian exarchate" in Western Europe followed the example of its head and joined the Russian Orthodox Church. The Synod now legalized that return in the Moscow region.

The exarchate has 65 parishes, 11 working churches, two monasteries and seven sketes in France, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and Spain, and its clergy is composed of over 100 priests and 30 deacons.