Letter to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I
To His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I
Archbishop of Constantinople the New Rome
Your All Holiness,
The members of the Council of the Archdiocese wish to thank you for the letter addressed to us recently. Indeed, we were humbled by the warm reception extended to our Exarchate when we visited the Ecumenical Throne recently.
We are deeply grateful to your All Holiness for your continued paternal care and attention to the affairs of our Exarchate, and also for the canonical protection extended by the Ecumenical Throne to all of us and to our parishes and communities in Western Europe.
The proposals in your letter were discussed thoroughly and at length in the meetings of the Council and the letter was presented to the Diocesan Assembly of our Archdiocese held in our Cathedral in Paris last Saturday, 30th March 2013. Under the chairmanship of the locum tenens, His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, an open and frank expression of opinions took place which facilitated a constructive exchange of views. 188 clergy, monastic and lay delegates from our parishes and communities were in attendance.
The general consensus that emerged from that assembly was there is a need for pastoral care and leadership for the effective service of our parishes and communities. Therefore, the value of your All Holiness’ proposal that the locum tenens may continue to exercise such pastoral care in the Exarchate, as Patriarchal Exarch, was recognized and accepted until the next Assembly which is proposed for the 1st November 2013 at the latest (during which period the process for the election of our new Archbishop may take place according to the statutes of our Archdiocese and the Tomos of 1999).
We were encouraged by His Eminence Metropolitan Emanuel’s assurance the Ecumenical Patriarchate intends to safeguard and maintain the integrity of the Exarchate. His personal wish to oversee the smooth and proper process of election for the new Archbishop during this period was received with gratitude and confidence. As always, we remain open to be guided by your All Holiness’ wise counsel and advice.
A lack of consensus at this time regarding the matter of an assistant bishop in the Exarchate does not allow us to propose candidates. Likewise, proposals for the amendment of the statutes will need to be discussed more thoroughly and move through the established channels in order to receive the blessing of the Holy Synod.
The members of the Council express appreciation to your All Holiness, His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, and the Holy Synod for the love, guidance and protection we have received during this process. The Assembly expressed the desire to continue to nurture our relationship through dialogue and to connect even more deeply with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Perhaps, a delegation of members of our Council could travel to the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, at your convenience, to achieve these goals and to receive your All Holiness’ blessing.
Asking for Your prayers and Patriarchal blessings
TRP Jean Gueit
Protopresbytre du Trône œcuménique
Vice President of the Council
Prof. Michel Sollogoub
Secretary of the Council