Communiqué from the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in its session of November 27, 2018, decided to revoke the patriarchal Tomos of 1999 by which it granted the pastoral care and administration of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to its archbishop-exarch.

This decision answers the pastoral and spiritual needs of our time, with the greatest respect for canon law and our spiritual responsibility.

Indeed, the historical circumstances that led to the creation of such a structure in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, just a hundred years ago, have changed profoundly. We thank God for the tireless courage your communities have shown over time in preserving the rich spiritual tradition that came from Russia in the aftermath of the bloody persecution by the new atheist regime. We are especially pleased that the Mother Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has taken the responsibility to offer its canonical protection to these communities and thus allow them to enjoy, in respect of the ecclesial order, a freedom in conformity with life in the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of today's decision is to further strengthen the bond of the parishes of Russian tradition with the Mother Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Each of these communities holds a spiritual heritage that had been established in the wake of a dramatic story of persecution and exile and prophetically participated in the theological revival of Orthodoxy in the 20th century. It is indeed through the outstanding personalities, theologians, philosophers, artists, from the Russian immigration that the Orthodox Faith has radiated throughout Western Europe and beyond.

We wish here to reassure the pious faithful of the parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe and their communities. It was through pastoral solicitude that the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to integrate and attach the parishes to the various holy Metropolia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the countries where they are located. Our Mother Church will continue to ensure and guarantee the preservation of their liturgical and spiritual tradition. The bond of filiation will be all the more close with the Throne of Constantinople as the latter is desirous of continuing to show its pastoral care and apostolic solicitude for the people of God for whom it is responsible.

We pray fervently to the Lord, whom we are preparing to meet at this time for the Divine Nativity, that you will remain faithful to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, just as the Mother Church of Constantinople is devoted to you. We sincerely hope that you continue to be witnesses to the Orthodox faith in Western Europe through the practice of virtue and the fulfillment of the principles of the Gospel.

We also thank His Excellency, Archbishop John of Charioupolis for having led his communities with love and loyalty to this new phase of their history, trusting in the grace of God who calls us to "to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness . "(Eph 4: 23-24)

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit always be with you, by the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and of all the saints.

Phanar, 27 November, 2018