Communique N° 03-07 of the Council of the Archdiocese

Meeting of 25 April 2007

The Council of the Archdiocese met on 25 April 2007, with His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Among the questions discussed were

1. Preparations for the Ordinary General Assembly (OGA) of the Archdiocese. The Council of the Archdiocese took stock of progress in the preparation for the OGA convened for 30 April and 1 May 2007. It approved the decision of the Administration to change the venue of the Assembly, which for practical reasons would take place at the St Sergius Theological Institute. The Council of the Archdiocese finalised the list of candidates who would be submitted for election at the next OGA, within the framework of the revitalisation of various administrative structures of the Archdiocese.

2. Anthology : Advancing on the path towards a Local Church Members of the Council took note of the anthology published by the Archdiocese with the title Advancing on the path towards a Local Church, which brings together papers presented at the pastoral assemblies in November 2004, and the diocesan conference in October 2005, as well as historical documents concerning the canonical situation of the Archdiocese. This collection will be available from the Services Diocésains Orthodoxes (SDO) and from the St Sergius Insititute Library.

3. Clergy Reader Victor Dozofeyev had been ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel on Sunday 22 April, in the Cathedral of St Alexander Nevsky, at the request of Archpriest Iaroslav Dibatch. His ministry will take place alongside Archpriest Iaroslav, in the parish of Torrevieja (Spain).

Meeting of 23 May 2007

The Council of the Archdiocese met on 23 May 2007, with His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Among the questions discussed were :

1. Election of the Secretary of the Council and Treasurer of the Archdiocese. First of all the Archbishop welcomed new members elected to the Council. The Council re-elected M. Michel Solloub as Secretary of the Council of the Archdiocese, as proposed by Archbishop Gabriel. The Council elected M. Alexander Victoroff as Treasurer, as proposed by Archbishop Gabriel. He replaces M. Ivan Cheret, who did not wish to be re-elected to this position.

2. Report on the General Assembly The general opinion of the members of the Council was that the Assembly was well run, and its ambience was considered to be calm and serene. Everyone had appreciated the content of the papers, and of the various contributions, even if it was a matter of regret that few in the audience had taken the opportunity to speak. The Council decided to thank particularly those responsible at the St Sergius Institute, especially M. Nicolas Kazarian, and the students, as well as the ladies of the cathedral and various other Parisian parishes, for the smooth running of the OGA (organisation, meals, sound systems).

3. St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute The Council adopted the proposal to create a St Sergius Institute Foundation, which would enable recognition of its public benefit ; this would allow for a better response to the requirements of civil legislation regarding the administrative structure of the Institute and of the management of the property of the Metochion (‘priory’) of St Sergius Hill (Sergievskoe Podvorie). The creation of this Foundation would not be complete until after its recognition as an institution of public benefit by a decree granted on the recommendation of the Conseil d’Etat.

4. Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland The Statutes of the Vicariate were in process of being submitted to the British authorities.
The Vicariate is in process of putting in place various activities to which its members were accustomed during the time of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh : an annual conference, youth camps, journal etc. The annual conference of the Vicariate will take place on 25-28 May at Reigate, Surrey, on the theme, ‘Behold, I make all things new’. Archbishop Gabriel will take part in the first two days.
Archbishop Gabriel emphasised the necessity for developing contacts between the parishes on the continent and those in the British Isles, especially by means of twinning.

5. Relations with the Moscow Patriarchate
- a.The Council noted the decision by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate on 16 May 2007, which definitively lifted the measures of suspension which had been imposed by the Moscow Patriarchate on Bishop Basil of Amphipolis, and which granted him a canonical letter of release for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
- b.The Council noted an exchange of letters between His Eminence Bishop Mark of Egorievsk, first deputy of the Deparment of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Archbishop Gabriel, which enabled one to hope there could be some form of dialogue between the Exarchate and the Patriarchate of Moscow, in conditions which nevertheless needed to be precisely defined.
- c.The Council approved the content of a statement published by Archbishop Gabriel on 18 May, on the day following the signing of the ‘Act of Canonical Communion’ between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

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