Communique N° 01-07 of the Council of the Archdiocese

Meeting of 31 January 2007

The Council of the Archdiocese met on 31 January 2007, with Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Among the items discussed were :

1. Preparations for the Ordinary Meeting of the General Assembly (OGA) of the Archdiocese. The Council of the Archdiocese considered and adopted the draft programme for the Ordinary General Assembly (OGA), to be held on the afternoon of Monday 30 April 2007 (from 2.30 p.m.) and on Monday 1 May 2007 (all day).

2. Relations with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) On 23 January Archbishop Gabriel had met with Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of the Parish of St John the Forerunner in Washington and a member of the commission for dialogue between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. The meeting took place at Fr Victor’s request. Fr Victor described the current state of progress in re-establishing communion between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate and what this would imply for relations between ROCOR and the fullness of universal Orthodoxy.

3. Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland. A meeting took place on 23 January between a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a delegation from the Patriarchate of Moscow at Chambésy in Switzerland. Among matters discussed was the situation created after the Patriarchal and Synodal decision of the Ecumenical Throne to receive Bishop Basil into its jurisdiction after his appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in conformity with Canons 9 and 17 of the Council of Chalcedon (see Communiqué 12-06). Some possible ways to regularise the situation were explored by the two delegations, which must still be presented for approval to the respective synods of the two Churches.

4. Clergy Hieromonk Boris (Shapshal), a cleric of the Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Netherlands, has been received, at his request, into the clergy of the Archdiocese, having obtained a letter of canonical release from his previous hierarchical authority. By a decree of His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel, he has been designated priest of the community of the holy prophet Elias, at Saint-Huber (Netherlands).

5. Enquiry into the composition and life of the parishes To date (i.e. 31 January, the deadline for return of the questionnaires) only twenty-six completed forms (out of eighty-four sent out) have arrived at the Diocesan Administration, more than half of which come parishes in Northern Europe.

6. St Sergius Theological Institute A restructuring of the administration of the St Sergius Institute has begun under the direction of Archimandrite Job (Getcha), Dean of the Institute, after extensive consultation with members of the teaching body and of the Administrative Council of the Institute. These new structures will have been put in place in the near future.

7. Accounts 2006 and Budget 2007 M. Ivan Cheret, Treasurer of the Archdiocese, presented the annual accounts for the past year and his predictions for 2007. The accounts for 2006 showed a positive result. Thanks to a more rigorous business plan and to further appeals to the parishes to pay their statutory contributions, there was a twenty per cent increase in receipts compared with previous years.

8. Work of the Judicial and Canonical Commission. The meetings of the Commission have settled into a regular pattern. It was bringing up to date a ‘model statute’ for parishes (Associations cultuelles, according to French law) which was produced in 1999 by the previous Administration of the Diocese, and which turns out not to conform in certain details to the relevant legislation (Law of 1905). Some parishes might risk losing their status as associations cultuelles and thereby the advantages which the French Government gives to such associations. It is not envisaged that the Commission will change the wording that links, in conformity with Orthodox ecclesiology, the parish and the diocese that is already present in the previous version of the ‘model statute’ drawn up in 1999.

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