We, Kirill, in all humility, by the mercy of God, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, together with the members of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, considered the address of Archbishop Jean (Renneteau) on 14 September 2019, the day on which the document was received. Having indicated that the desire of the majority of the clergy and parishes of the Archdiocese of the Churches of Russian tradition in Western Europe was to reunite with the Russian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Jean asked to be admitted to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate with the clerics and parishes who wish to follow him. In this he was guided by pastoral concern for the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese which brings together in the Russian Orthodox Tradition both Russians and the peoples of Western Europe, whose adherence to Orthodoxy was made possible in large part, thanks to the efforts of Russian emigrants, their pastors and theologians.
Having decided to welcome His Eminence Archbishop Jean (Renneteau) into the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, with the title “of Dubna”, as well as all the clerics under his authority who so wish and the parishes who shall express this will, we entrust to Archbishop Jean of Dubna the direction of the parishes referred to above.
Then on 7 October 2019, the address adopted on 28 September 2019 by the Assembly of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of the Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, presided over by Archbishop Jean of Dubna, with a request both for the attachment of the Archdiocese to the Russian Orthodox Church and for the definition of its canonical organization within the Moscow Patriarchate was considered.
We define that the Archdiocese of the Churches of Russian tradition in Western Europe, which is heir to the ecclesial entity formed in Western Europe in 1921 by decree of the Holy Synod and the Superior ChurchEcclesial? Council meeting together under the presidency of Saint Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and which continues its salvific mission in its parishes, monasteries and churches, established historically as a body, constitutes from this day onwards an inseparable part of the Moscow Patriarchate and acts within it on the basis of the following rights:
- The Archdiocese retains the liturgical and pastoral practices, which are part of its tradition.
- The Archdiocese preserves in its diocesan and parish administration what is particular to it, including that which was established by Metropolitan Euloge, which took into account the singular nature of the ecclesial entity in Western Europe that he headed and certain decisions of the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918.
- The Archdiocese is administered according to its statutes, in accordance with the legislation of the countries in which it operates.
- The Archdiocese is entitled to introduce amendments and additions to these statutes, made in accordance with the provisions laid down therein, with the prior approval of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and subsequent confirmation by the Holy Synod.
- The Archdiocese receives the Holy Myron (Chrism) from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
- The Archdiocese is headed by a hierarch (bishop) with the title of Archbishop, who ensures the direct canonical link between the Moscow Patriarchate and the communities of the Archdiocese.
- The diocesan hierarch (bishop) of the Archdiocese has the full hierarchical rights provided for by the canons (church law) in respect to monasteries, parishes and members of the clergy under his jurisdiction. In particular, the diocesan hierarch of the Archdiocese has the exclusive right:
- to create new monasteries and parishes within the Archdiocese.
- to give canonical leave to the members of the clergy of the Archdiocese.
- to accept clerics into the Archdiocese (adhering to the rules which apply within the Moscow Patriarchate with regard to the transfer of clerics from dioceses in its canonical territory to dioceses outside it).
- to ordain clerics for the Archdiocese.
- to appoint and authorize to ecclesiastical diakonia (service) any cleric or lay person in his jurisdiction.
- to carry out the decisions of the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Archdiocese.
- The election of the diocesan hierarch (bishop) and the vicar bishops of the Archdiocese take place as follows:
- for the election of the diocesan hierarch (bishop) the Council of the Archdiocese creates a preliminary list of candidates, having sought the recommendations of the monasteries and parishes; for the election of vicar bishops for the Archdiocese a list is established by the diocesan hierarch (bishop) of the Archdiocese, after consultation with the existing Vicar Bishops of the Archdiocese and with the Council of the Archdiocese.
- the preliminary list of candidates shall be submitted to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, who shall be entitled to make amendments to it.
- the Council of the Archdiocese may either send the list of candidates received from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the monasteries and parishes of the Archdiocese, or submit another list to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
- after receiving the list of candidates, monasteries and parishes shall elect their delegates in accordance with the statutes of the Archdiocese.
- the General Assembly of the Archdiocese composed of the clergy and lay delegates shall elect the bishop in accordance with the statutes of the Archdiocese.
- the election of the bishop is confirmed by the Holy Synod.
- The name of the diocesan hierarch (bishop) of the Archdiocese is commemorated during celebrations in all the churches of the Archdiocese after the name of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The names of the vicar bishops are commemorated during celebrations in the churches of the Archdiocese, as directed by the diocesan hierarch (bishop) of the Archdiocese, after the name of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and that of the diocesan hierarch of the Archdiocese.
- The bishops of the Archdiocese are ‘ex officio’ members of the Local Council and the Episcopal Council while the representatives of the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese are members of the Local Council, having been elected in accordance with the rules in place.
- The diocesan hierarch (bishop) of the Archdiocese participates in sessions of the Holy Synod in rotation with other temporary members of the Synod, according to the established rules.
- The decisions of the Local Council and the Episcopal Council, are binding on the Archdiocese, while the decisions of the Holy Synod are applied within the Archdiocese in a way which accords with its own distinctive practices, with the agreement with the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
- The body for appealing the decisions of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese is the High Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Moscow Patriarchate, while proceedings against the Bishops of the Archdiocese are the responsibility of the High Ecclesiastical Tribunal and the Episcopal Council.
- The Archdiocese retains its financial autonomy and manages its movable and immovable property within the framework of its existing legal personality and in accordance with the legislation in the countries where the Archdiocese operates.
- The relations of the Archdiocese with the state authorities are defined by the principle of the separation of church and state, taking into account the legislation of each country. As the Episcopal Council pointed out in 2011, the participation of clergy in election campaigns and political struggles is unacceptable. While remaining faithful to the teaching of the Orthodox Church and respecting the fundamental dogmatic and pastoral documents of the Russian Orthodox Church, the clergy of the Archdiocese may express themselves on pastoral and societal issues according to the principle of freedom of conscience which, as the local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 2008 emphasized, ‘is in harmony with God’s will if it protects the individual against any arbitrary treatment of his inner world, against any forcible imposition of particular convictions upon him’. (The Russian Orthodox Church’s Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights, IV.3)
In accordance with the resolution of the Holy Synod of 7 October 2019, it will be necessary to introduce the necessary provisions in the statutes of the Moscow Patriarchate and in the statutory documents of the Archdiocese.
The hierarchs, clerics and laity of all the dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in Western Europe including the dioceses of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Western Europe, the dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad and the Archdiocese are called to fruitful cooperation.
The canonical perfection of the presence in Western Europe of the Moscow Patriarchate, represented today by several ecclesiastical structures, requires the ongoing discussion with the participation of all interested parties.
In thanking God full of mercy and benevolent, for the gift of the joy of ecclesial peace and unity, which constitutes a solid basis for the continuity of Orthodoxy of the Russian tradition in Western Europe, we invoke upon the eminent Archbishop of Dubna, the clerics and laity of the Archdiocese of the of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, the blessing of the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving and Indivisible Trinity, the Father without beginning with his Only Begotten Son and the Almighty Comforting Spirit. Amen
+Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Text of the Patriarchal and Synodal Charter “Gramota” in English: Gramota.pdf