Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe
The Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe is an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriatchate of Russian Orthodox tradition, based in Paris, and having parishes throughout Europe, mainly centered in France. Its current leader is Archbishop Gabriel (de Vylder) of Komana. The Exarchate is sometimes known as Rue Daru from the street in Paris where its cathedral is located.
|Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe|
|Current bishop||Abp. Gabriel|
|Territory||Western Europe, British Isles|
|Liturgical language(s)||Church Slavonic, local languages|
|Musical tradition||Russian Chant, Byzantine Chant|
After the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Russian Orthodox Christians based outside Russia and those who fled there from the communist regime found themselves in a difficult situation. A solution intended as temporary was the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), in which during the early 1920s the vast majority of Russian Orthodox abroad participated, united by their opposition to the Soviet government. The Russian bishop of Paris at the time was Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky), who had been appointed by St. Tikhon of Moscow in 1921 as the representative of the Patriarchate of Moscow in Western Europe and sat in the synod with the remainder of the ROCOR bishops.
In 1927 Evlogy broke with the ROCOR (along with Metr. Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of New York, leader of the Russian Metropolia in America) and was subsequently condemned by them, splitting the Russian émigré community in Western Europe. In 1928, Metr. Sergius (Stragorodsky), then locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Moscow, demanded declarations of loyalty to the Soviet regime, a proposition which Evlogy initially supported by subsequently repudiated. In 1930, after taking part in a prayer service in London in supplication for Christians suffering under the Soviets, Evlogy was removed from office by Sergius and replaced.
Most of Evlogy's parishes remained loyal to him, however, as they were generally against the Soviet government. Evlogy then petitioned Ecumenical Patriarch Photius II to be received under his canonical care and was received in 1931, becoming an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In 1965, the jurisdiction was downgraded to a vicariate, but returned to the rank of exarchate in 1999.
In 2006, against the protests of Moscow, the Exarchate received Bp. Basil (Osborne) (formerly the temporary administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate's Diocese of Sourozh), along with a number of parishes and clergy in the United Kingdom. Bp. Basil was elected as an auxiliary of the Exarchate's archbishop and given care of the Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland, formed of those parishes and clergy that came with him.
Since its reception by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1931, the Exarchate has grown to roughly 100 parishes (more than 40 of which are in France), served by about 66 priests who care for the needs of an increasingly multi-cultural flock, numbering roughly 100,000 strong. The Exarchate also has one monastery for women, the Orthodox Monastery of the Veil of Our Lady (Bussy-en-Othe, France), which publishes translations of liturgical materials.
Communities of the Exarchate, the largest Orthodox group in France where it is centered, range throughout Western Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Spain. The Exarchate has been particularly active in missionary work in Scandinavia, including developing worship in the local languages. In the Northern part of Sweden there is for example an Ortodox Church and a parish, The Transfiguration of our Lord (Kristi förklarings ortodoxa församling. Father Benedikt Pohjanen and his wife presbytera Monika have built the Church ten years ago. Now the Liturgy is celebrated there in the locals languages of that area.
Perhaps the best known institution of the Exarchate is the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, founded in 1925 by Metr. Evlogy and sometime home of several well-known Orthodox theologians and writers of the twentieth century, including Georges Florovsky, Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff (although not Vladimir Lossky, who neither taught at St. Sergius nor was a member of the Exarchate, himself remaining loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate).
- Archbishop Gabriel (de Vylder) of Komana, ruling bishop
- Bishop Michael (Storogenko) of Claudiopolis, auxiliary bishop
- Bishop Basil (Osborne) of Amphipolis, auxiliary bishop
- Bishop Paul of Tracheia, auxiliary bishop (retired)
- Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgievsky) of Paris, ruling bishop
- Bishop Alexander (Semenoff-Tian-Chansky) of Zila, auxiliary bishop
- Bishop Serge (Konovaloff) of Evkarpia, auxiliary bishop
- Official site (in French)
- Eastern Christian Churches: The Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Western Europe, by Ronald Roberson, Roman Catholic priest and scholar
- Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe (from the Episcopal Vicariate)
- Monastère Orthodoxe Notre Dame de Toute Protection (in French)
- Danish Orthodox Church (in Danish)
- Norwegian Orthodox Church (in Norwegian)