Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

Moscow Patriarchate

Communique N° 19-06 of the Council of the Archdiocese

Meeting of 6 December 2006

1. The Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland.
– His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel had attended the conference of the Vicariate that took place on Saturday 18 November in London, on the theme ‘Finding our Freedom in Christ’. There were two talks, in English: ‘Continuity and Change: the Episcopal Vicariate in the context of Orthodoxy in Western Europe’ by Bishop Basil, and ‘Our future: the Local Church’ by Archbishop Gabriel.
– About 150 clergy and laity from different parishes and communities of the Vicariate took part in the conference. His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira (Greek Archdiocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Great Britain) honoured the conference with his presence for the second half of the day. A wide-ranging exchange in the form of questions and answers enabled many contributors to give their opinions on the general situation in the Vicariate and their parishes.
– The Council of the Archdiocese adopted the draft Internal Regulations defining the relationship between the Archdiocese and the Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland. (cf. Communiqués 12-06 and 15-06). These regulations will be presented for approval at the next General Assembly of the Archdiocese in conformity with Article 10 of the Statutes of the Archdiocese. In addition, the Vicariate is in the process of working out its own statutes, which will take into account the theological and spiritual legacy of Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory, as well as the Statutes of the Archdiocese and the Internal Regulations.
– At the suggestion of His Grace Bishop Basil the communities of London (Holborn) and London (Clapham) were recognised as parishes by the Council of the Archdiocese. This brings to eight the number of Vicariate parishes (the others are in Exeter, Lewes, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford and Walsingham). Each of these eight parishes has a resident priest and liturgical celebrations in Slavonic and/or English are taken regularly. There are nine communities where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated occasionally (around once a month): Canterbury, Chesterfield, Dunblane (Scotland), Leeds, Plas Geler (Wales), St Albans, Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Tunbridge Wells.
– On 19 November, His Grace Bishop Basil ordained Deacon Ian Wallis as priest for the Parish of the Nativity of the Mother of God, Lewes.

2. Preparation for the Ordinary General Meeting of the Assembly of the Archdiocese (OGA)
– The OGA is fixed for the afternoon of Monday 30 April (from 2.00 p.m.) and Tuesday 1 May (all day). It will take place at the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris. The Tuesday session will be preceded by a celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
– In conformity with the Statutes of the Archdiocese, the Council of the Archdiocese has determined the programme of the OGA and its composition (the number of lay delegates) as well as the manner in which it will be conducted. Full information will be circulated in the first fortnight of January 2007.

3. Parishes
– Nice: The Russian Federation, through an indirect approach by their Ambassador in Paris, has begun a lawsuit in the High Court in Nice in an attempt to claim the title of the land on which the Cathedral of St Nicholas is built. The case is thus now in the hands of the French legal system. The Association [of the Cathedral community] will continue to insist on its rights, and will try to continue liturgical celebrations in a calm and collected manner.
– A questionnaire designed to produce better information about the composition and the life of the parishes of the Archdiocese was distributed to the rectors of all parishes at the beginning of December. The responses to the enquiry, which must be completed and returned to the Diocesan Administration by 31 January 2007, will then be analysed by a working group, and the results will be communicated, as far as possible, at the next OGA of the Archdiocese.

4. Commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Evlogii.
– The advertised meeting of Sunday 12 November at ACER, rue Olivier de Serre, Paris, with a talk by Tatiana Victoroff on ‘Metropolitan Evlogii and ACER’ had to be postponed. It will take place at the same venue on Sunday, 18 March 2007.
– On 10 December a talk on the life and work of Metropolitan Evlogii will be given by Michel Sollogoub, Secretary to the Council of the Archdiocese, at the Parish of St Nicholas in Toulouse. This same talk will be given at the Parish of St Nicholas in Nice on Saturday 16 December (in Russian) and on Monday 17 December (in French), again by Michel Sollogoub.
– On 19 December, Archbishop Gabriel will give a talk on Metropolitan Evlogii in Dutch at the Parish of St Peter and Paul at Deventer (The Netherlands).

5. Meeting of the Rectors and wardens from Paris and surrounding area
A meeting of the rectors and wardens for the parishes of Paris and the surrounding area took place on 2 December 2006at the cathedral in rue Daru, Paris, with His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Nine priests and thirteen laity were present. The meeting made possible an exchange of views and information about administrative, legal and property matters related to the general situation in the Archdiocese. A similar meeting had previously taken place in February 2005.

6. Meeting between the Archbishop and His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev.
Archbishop Gabriel was present at a concert of liturgical chant given by the choir of the Lavra of the Kiev Caves on Sunday, 3 December, in the Church of the Madeleine in Paris. There he met Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev, Primate of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate), who was accompanying the choir on its visit to France. During a very cordial conversation, Metropolitan Vladimir invited Archbishop Gabriel to come to Kiev on pilgrimage for the Feast of the Dormition in August 2007. Archbishop Gabriel accepted this invitation and hopes to be able to venerate the relics of the many saints preserved in the Lavra of the Kiev Caves, which is the cradle of the tradition of Orthodox monasticism and spirituality common to both Russians and Ukrainians.

7. Pilgrimage to Ravensbrück.
With the blessing of the Archbishop, a pilgrimage to Ravensbrück will be organised jointly by the Archdiocese and ACER – MJO, from 1 to 4 November 2007, when a commemorative plaque will be placed there in memory of the Holy Martyr Maria (Skobtsova), canonised in 2004.