Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

Moscow Patriarchate

Communiqué No. 11-08 of the Council of the Archdiocese

Meeting of 15 October 2008

The Council of the Archdiocese met on 15 October 2008, with His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Among the topics discussed were:

1. Plans for the St Sergius Foundation. The Council was informed of the current state of progress as regards the establishment of a ‘St Sergius Foundation’ and of the various stages remaining to be completed before it can be finalised. The Council took care to repeat firmly its concern to see put in place, with full respect for ecclesiastical order, a foundation that is capable of enabling the St Sergius Institute to function well, and to insure proper maintenance of the ‘St Sergius Hill’, which belongs to the Archdiocese and constitutes a precious legacy for which the diocese as a whole is responsible. The Council also took note of the need to be vigilant with respect to the academic freedoms and autonomy that are granted to an institution of higher education such as the St Sergius Institute.

2. Colloquium on ‘The Legacy of Father Alexander Schmemann’ and the Diocesan Conference. The annual Archdiocesan conference will take place on Sunday, 14 December 2008, at the St Sergius Institute, with Archbishop Gabriel presiding. It will follow an international scholarly colloquium organised jointly by the St Sergius Institute, ACER-MJO, Syndesmos and the Archdiocese on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Father Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983). Three papers will be presented at the conference: ‘Father Alexander Schmemann, editor of the diocesan journal, Le Messager’ (Antoine Nivière, Paris); ‘Questions of ecclesiology in the diaries of Father Alexander Schmemann’ (Hegumen Peter Meshcherinov, Moscow); ‘The voice of Father Alexander Schmemann today: a living inheritance’ (Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, New York). There will also be an exhibition of photographs of Father Alexander.

The colloquium entitled ‘The Legacy of Father Alexander Schmemann’, which will take place in the premises of the Institute from 2.00 p.m. on 11 December until 14 December, will be structured around five themed half days: ‘Literature and Christianity’, ‘The Church and the World’‘Theology’‘Ecclesiology’ and ‘Pastoral Practice’. Some thirty speakers coming from France, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Belgium, Greece, Canada, Great Britain and the United States are expected to attend. On the anniversary of the death of Father Alexander Schmemann, 13 December, a Liturgy for the Departed will be celebrated in the Church of St Sergius (the detailed programme and registration forms will be available from 25 October).

3. Nice. The legal case is following its course. The lawyers representing the Russian Federation submitted their arguments on 11 September, and the lawyers acting for the parish belonging to the diocese have until the beginning of January 2009 to give their responses.

4. Parishes and Communities.
– On the proposal of Archbishop Gabriel, the Council approved the establishment of a eucharistic community at Montpelier (Hérault). The liturgical celebrations will be the responsibility of Deacon Joseph Fouillole, after his ordination to the priesthood.
– On the proposal of Archbishop Gabriel, the Council approved the establishment of a eucharistic community at Quimper. The liturgical celebrations will be the responsibility of Archimandrite Simeon from the Monastery of St Silouan.
– Moisenay. The Skete at Moisenay is currently in a poor state and in need of repair, and the condition of the remarkable frescoes by Father Gregory Krug that decorate the interior walls of the chapel has deteriorated considerably. Archbishop Gabriel has given his blessing for an appeal to be launched in order to raise the funds necessary for the preservation of a place of prayer that was founded in the mid-1930s by a group of Russian émigré monks and is part of the spiritual inheritance of the Archdiocese. A young hieromonk is currently resident in the skete, and liturgical celebrations take place regularly.

5. The training of priests. After an exchange of ideas and reflections on the formation of priests and of laity desiring to be ordained, it was decided that the next pastoral assembly of the clergy of the Archdiocese, which will take place in the spring of 2009, will be dedicated to the theme of the recruitment and training of clergy.