Communiqué No. 10-08 of the Council of the Archdiocese

Meeting of 17 September 2008

The Council of the Archdiocese met on 17 September 2008, with His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel in the chair. Among the topics discussed were :

1.Archbishop Gabriel’s visit to the Phanar. Archbishop Gabriel told the Council about his visit to the Phanar, throne of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, which took place from 30 August - 3 September. On Sunday, 31 August, Archbishop Gabriel took part in the Divine Liturgy in one of the churches in the City. His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I presided, in the presence of many of the faithful. The following day Archbishop Gabriel took part in the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St George for the start of the Church year, in the presence of many other bishops who were there for the Feast. In the afternoon of 1 September, and all day on 2 September, Archbishop Gabriel took part in the Assembly of diocesan bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Bartholomew I. During this meeting each of the bishops present was able to describe the situation of his own diocese : the problems involved in pastoral work and the formation of priests, catechetical work and work with young people, liturgical life, and inter-Orthodox and inter-denominational relations. Archbishop Gabriel drew the meeting’s attention to the history of our diocese and its particular place within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The following day, Archbishop Gabriel had a meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Constantine of Derkos, President of the Synodal Commission for Dioceses outside Turkey.

2. Archbishop Gabriel’s participation in the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of St Vladimir. Archbishop Gabriel described his visit to Kiev from 25 - 27 July2008 on the occasion of the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of St Vladimir [LINK to account on Website]. He was personally invited by His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to join the patriarchal delegation that accompanied him. During the visit, Archbishop Gabriel took part in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy which took place in the open air on Sunday 27 July, at the foot of the enormous statue of St Vladimir, alongside primates of various local Orthodox Churches, among them the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II, Archbishop Jerome of Athens, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana - as well as the primate of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev, and members of the Ukrainian episcopate and of various delegations from other Orthodox Churches - in all nearly a hundred and fifty bishops. In the afternoon he also took part in the official reception at the Monastery of the Caves of Kiev that brought together the delegations from the different Orthodox Churches present and the members of the Ukrainian episcopate. Archbishop Gabriel made a point of thanking God that he had been able to represent the Archdiocese at these ecclesial festivities, and for having had the pleasure of sharing one eucharistic chalice with the Patriarchs of Constantinople and of Moscow, a sign of unity in Christ. He also indicated that after communion he had been able to exchange a few words, in German, with Patriarch Alexis II.

3. Plans for the St Sergius Foundation. The Council of the Archdiocese considered the latest comments made by representatives of the French civil authorities concerning the plans for the Foundation and modifications that must be made as a result in the statutes that are being drafted.

4. Finance. The Council of the Archdiocese studied the accounts of the Archdiocese for 2007, and for the first six months of 2008. It appeared that some parishes were late in making their annual contributions. A reminder letter will be sent.

5. Biarritz. Unfortunately litigation continues : at the beginning of July, the Diocese of Korsun (Patriarchate of Moscow) lodged an appeal against the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Pau, which had comfirmed the decisions taken, in the first instance, by the Court of Bayonne concerning the Parish in Biarritz (see Communiqué 04-08)

6. Ordinations
- Deacon Christoforos Schuff was ordained priest by Archbishop Gabriel on Sunday, 6 July, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the church of St Nicholas in Oslo. He will be assigned to the Parish of St Nicholas, Oslo (Norway).
- Subdeacon Olav Lerseth] was ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel on Sunday, 6 July, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the church of St Nicholas in Oslo, and priest on Tuesday 8 July, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the church at Selje (Norway). He will be assigned to the Parish of St Nicholas, Oslo (Norway).
- Subdeacon Urban Widetun was ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel on Tuesday, 8 July, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the church at Selje (Norway). He will be assigned to the Parish of the Transfiguration at Overkalix (Sweden).
- Deacon Nicolas Kisselgoff was ordained priest by Archbishop Gabriel on Friday, 1 August, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the church of St Seraphim of Sarov, in Paris. He will serve the community in formation at Compiègne (Oise).
- Subdeacon Alexander Willis was ordained deacon by Bishop Basil on Sunday, 2 March, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Parish of the Dormition, London (Holborn). He will be assigned to that same parish.
- Deacon Daniel Cabagnols was ordained priest by Archbishop Gabriel on Sunday, 14 September during the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris. He will celebrate at the Parish of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, in Paris, and at the Church of the Dormition, at Ste-Geneviève-des-Bois, as needed.

7. Catechesis for new immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe. The programme of formation put in place by the Archdiocese in Paris will begin again in October. The team of teachers, for whom Archpriest Wladimir Yagello is responsible, will be organised this year into two separate groups, one of which will meet on the premises of the Parish of Our Lady of the Sign, and the other at the St Sergius Theological Institute (see the information leaflet for information on dates, times and how to enrol).

8. Diocesan Conference. The annual Archdiocesan conference will take place on Sunday 14 December 2008 at the Institute of St Sergius, as an extension of the international scientific colloquium organised jointly by the Institutes of St Sergius, ACER-MJO, Syndesmos and the Archdiocese on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Father Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983). This colloquium will take place at the St Sergius Institute from 11 to 13 December 2008. On the morning of Saturday 13 December a Liturgy for the Departed will be celebrated in the Church of St Sergius (see information leaflet for the detailed programme and how to enrol).

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