The “Russian” Paris under the Siege of “Moscow”?
The article presents the history of the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian
Tradition in Western Europe, based in Paris, currently in a canonical impasse. The Exarchate was
born into exile, where many Russians were found as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution. In
1926, the “Russian diocese” in Paris passed under the direct jurisdiction of Moscow represented
then by the deputy of the patriarch Sergius. In 1931, the “western” Russian diocese passed under
the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which ensured its wide autonomy.
Within this structure, the St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris was establish. A plethora
of scholars, great thinkers, scientists and professors, became appreciated and known throughout
the world. Despite its prestige and success, the “Russian” Archdiocese in Paris, now older than
a century, had to face, during its history, several critical situations. In 1999 the exarchate
was granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate the Tomos of autonomy. Towards the end of 2018, the
Ecumenical Patriarchate abolished the exarchate founded twenty years ago. The approximately one
hundred “Russian” parishes of the former exarchate, spread throughout ten countries of Europe,
were to be absorbed by the local dioceses of Constantinople, of Greek culture and tradition.
Simultaneously with this situation, the Patriarchate of Moscow established the Patriarchal
Exarchate of Western Europe that was to take over the parishes of the former exarchate in Paris.
On September 7, 2019, the General Assembly of the “Russian Archdiocese” of Paris convened to
decide on its absorption by Moscow and did not gather the necessary number of votes. The
situation remained uncertain.