Extraordinary General Assembly, election of the new Archbishop, and Ordinary General Assembly

The Archdiocese of the Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe held an Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) on Thursday 31 October and Friday 1 November, followed by an Ordinary General Assembly (OGA) as required by the Statutes, under the chairmanship of metropolitan Emmanual as temporary administrator of the Archdiocese.

The meeting on Thursday 31 October brought together 195 delegates, both clergy and laity, representing all the communities of the Exarchate, and dealt with the amendments to two articles of the Statutes of the Archdiocese (art. 41 and 43) to broaden the conditions of eligibility for candidates for the position of Archbishop, by allowing as candidates clergy from outside the Archdiocese. These amendments, which had been subject to a postal consultation last July, were formally ratified by the EGA in accordance with the Statutes (out of 195 ballots 163 were in favour and 32 against). The results of this ballot were immediately sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for approval by the Holy Synod. After receiving approval for these amendments from the Holy Synod on the morning of 1 November, the list of candidates which had been approved by the Archdiocesan Council at its session of 31 July was sent to the Patriarchate for approbration by the Holy Synod in accordance with the Archdiocesan Statutes (art. 41) and the Patriarchal Tomos of June 1999.

On Friday 1 November the Divine Liturgy, attended by all the delegates of the Assembly, was celebrated in the St Alexander Nevsky cathedral, where the body of Archbishop Gabriel of blessed memory reposed.

The work of the General Assembly recommenced at about 2.45 pm with a general report by His Eminence metropolitan Emmanuel and the report of the Archdiocesan Administration by Michel Sollogub, secretary of the Archdiocesan Council. During the afternoon the Assembly was informed of the response of the Holy Synod, which contained the names of candidates which was different from that submitted by the Council : it consisted of the names of archimandrite Job (Getcha) and those of archimandrite Vissarion (Komzias) and hieromonk Mihail (Anischenko), both clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, accompanied by their CVs.

After a long debate, during which all those who wished to could speak about the new situation which had arisen, a vote was taken to decide on whether the conditions for the election of a new Archbishop were or were not favourable. The results of this ballot were as follows : 113 in favour and 79 against and one spoilt paper. On the basis of this result the meeting proceeded with the vote for the new Archbishop. In the first round of the poll (191 total ballot papers, 40 spoilt or empty, 151 valid ballot papers) father Job received 109 votes (more than the two thirds majority of the valid votes required to be designated at the first round). Father Vissarion received 33 votes and father Mihail 9. Father Job had thereby received a sufficient number of votes as required by the Statutes.

On Saturday 2 November 2013 the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeded to canonically elect archimandrite Job as bishop of Telmessos and raise him to the rank of Archbishop. His consecration will take place on 30 November 2013, on the feast day of the holy apostle Andrew, the patron saint of the Church of Constantinople, in the Patriarchal cathedral of St George at the Phanar, under the presidency of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I. His enthronement will be held at the St Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Paris on 5 and 6 December, on the occasion of the patron saint of the cathedral.

Furthermore, during the meeting on 1 November, following the election of the new archbishop, the OGA proceeded to elect half of the members of the Archdiocesan Council (3 clergy and 3 lay members) for a period of six years, as well as electing deputy members of the Archdiocesan Council and members of the Control Board for a period of three years. Duly elected to the Archdiocesan Council were : protopresbyter Jean Gueit, archpriests Alexander Fostiropoulos and Serge Sollogoub, Mme Lydia D’Aloisio, M. Michel Ribault Mennetière and M. Alexandre Victoroff. Elected as deputies : archpriest André Krementzoff, priest Yannick Provost and deacon Richard V, Miss Elisabeth von Schlippe, Mme Irène Mojaïsky and M. Didier Vilanova. Elected to the Control Board : archpriests André Fortounatto and Jean Maquart, MM. Basile Kotschoubey and Kirill Khartchenko.

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