ISTANBUL, Turkey – In a move that no doubt continues to deepen the emergent schism in Christian Orthodoxy, the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate has decided to dissolve the Western European Exarchate of the parishes of the Russian tradition. This was announced by the offices of the Synod.
The Exarchate is a large church area lying outside the country where the patriarchate is located. The Exarchate of Orthodox Russian churches in Western Europe with its center in Paris was created on the basis of the parishes of Russian émigrés after the 1917 revolution. Up to this point, Western European Russian churches were ruled by Archbishop Eulogius (Georgievsky) , but in 1930 the Russian Orthodox Church removed him from office. Nevertheless, the majority of parishes retained the loyalty of Eulogius, who appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople and received from him the title of Exarch.
In 1944, Eulogius attempted to return to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, but the status of the Archdiocese remained uncertain. In 1999, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew confirmed that the Archdiocese was under the authority of Constantinople. According to Tomos, which Bartholomew gave on June 19, 1999 to the archdiocese of the Orthodox parishes of the Russian tradition, the Exarchate was to obey the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but to act according to its own charter, approved by the Ecumenical Throne, and preserve the Russian liturgical order.
The bulk of the parishioners of the Western European Exarchate is concentrated in France. It has 65 parishes, 11 active churches, 2 monasteries and 7 monasteries. They operate in France (40 parishes), Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain.