Pastoral Message of Archbishop John of Doubna on October 2, 2019
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing today to tell you that after a pastoral assembly on September 28, which was prayerful and inspired, I signed with the support of two-thirds of the clergy of our Archdiocese, the official request for canonical attachment to the Moscow Patriarchate in the terms that had been negotiated by the joint commission and decided this summer.
An important step has now been taken by our Archdiocese, and it is now up to the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate to validate the terms. I am delighted that, to date, nearly 60 parishes have clearly expressed their pastoral vow to take part in the annexation of our Archdiocese to the Moscow Patriarchate. My thoughts are with the dozen parishes that have decided or are about to join the Greek metropolia of France, and those who join the metropolia of England. I hope we will be able to convince them in the near future to reconsider their position, once the quarrels and pains that have unfortunately been our lot will have calmed down. My strong hope remains that we can implement a path of complete unity for our Archdiocese.
In order to achieve this, we must get back to work. There is a lot to do.
I convened the Council of the Archdiocese for the 21st of October to examine the decision of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate that we expect for October 8th, and to begin preparations for the next Ordinary General Assembly of our Archdiocese. The previous Ordinary General Assembly took place three years ago. A new Ordinary General Assembly must be convened in the coming months. This Assembly will be important because it will allow us to immediately implement a major advance over our recent situation. We finally will be able to endow our Archdiocese with an Episcopal Council, and thus elect two auxiliary bishops. The Patriarchate of Constantinople had stalled this election for years, and this led, I believe, to significant dysfunctions: we have sorely missed in recent months, I would say even in recent years, this Episcopal Council.
I will propose to the Council of the Archdiocese to begin this work immediately, and to do so according to the terms of the agreement that has been reached with the Moscow Patriarchate, particularly with regard to the election procedure of the bishops. I would also like the parishes to be consulted in conciliarity so that we can compile the list of candidates.
It will also be necessary to prepare the renewal of the Assembly, its delegates, and the Council of the Archdiocese, so that we finally will be able to deal with all the issues that we have struggled to advance in recent weeks and months.
All these elements will certainly have to lead us to postpone by a few weeks the date of the Ordinary General Assembly, originally scheduled for December. However, I am determined to convene this assembly as quickly as possible, because we must move forward, and now can do so.
It is in this spirit that I invite each and every one of us to continue our efforts.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
JEAN, Archbishop of the Diocesan Union of Russian Orthodox Associations in Western Europe
Paris, October 2, 2019