Orthodox Church of the Gauls

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The Orthodox Church of the Gauls (l'Eglise Orthodoxe des Gaules) is a Western Rite independent Orthodox church representing a schism from the Orthodox Church of France and not currently in communion with any of the mainstream Orthodox churches. It was formed on December 17, 2006, with the consecration of Father Michel Mendez, abbot of St Michael's Monastery at Bois-Aubry, as Bishop Gregory (Grégoire) of Arles.


The contemporary origins of the jurisdiction stem largely from two French religious communities that were originally part of the Orthodox Church of France: St Michael's Monastery at Bois-Aubry, Touraine, a monastic community following the Rule of St Benedict of Nursia; and Bethany,[1] a lay community for hesychastic spirituality at Gorze, led by Father Alphonse and Rachel Goettmann. After leaving the Orthodox Church of France, the two communities came under the jurisdiction of the Church of Alexandria (Coptic) on the condition that they would be allowed to continue the use of the Divine Liturgy according to St Germanus of Paris and the Daily Office (Hours) of the ancient Western Church. When it became clear that their use of the Gallican rite would no longer be permitted, the communities, joined by some other clergy and laity, formed the Orthodox Church of the Gauls and elected Abbot Michel bishop.

Today the church comprises a number of parishes, missions, and monastic communities in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Cameroon.

The church understands itself to be not the "creation of a new local Church[sic] but the restoration of an ancient local Church, faithful to the spirit of the undivided, poor, mystical, and ecumenical Church."[2] Despite being unrecognized by the mainstream Orthodox Church, it regards itself as in the communion of the Orthodox Church "by the common faith and not by jurisdiction."[2]


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