The battle for the survival of real Orthodoxy in the fragmenting and ever smaller Paris-based Rue Daru group has now reached a culminating point. Thirty years ago we realized what the below author, the daughter of one of my professors, has realized today. In this article she demolishes the arguments of the sectarian ‘Fraternite’ (‘Brotherhood’ – a very apt name) group of Protestant-minded, anti-episcopal modernists and ecumenists who have been sabotaging Orthodoxy within the Rue Daru group for over fifty years. And all this under entirely pseudo-canonical and anti-Russian political arguments.
Anne Andronikof: An Open Letter to Fr Alexis Struve
Dear Fr Alexis,
I was able to read your letter to the members of the pastoral assembly of July 15 2019, of which I am not a member, and I would like to make a few comments.
I fully agree with you that our future in the Archdiocese will inevitably be, and whatever decisions are made, other than what we are currently experiencing. It is indeed illusory to believe that it would be possible to find oneself “as before”.
However, I have an opinion radically contrary to yours on all other points.
Indeed, you write that the Archdiocese is not “Russian”, the vast majority of parishes having very few, if any, people of Russian origin. So far so good. However, we are much more “Russian” than Greek (or Romanian, Bulgarian or others) on the one hand because we have all opted for the Russian-Slavonic tradition. For those of Russian origin it is not really a choice, but for all others it is.
And on the other hand because the Archdiocese came from the Russian emigration and relies on the Moscow Council of 1917; that our attachment to Constantinople was from the beginning conceived as temporary, transitory, in anticipation of the liberation of Russia from the Communist yoke.
I therefore agree with our bishop that the return to the Patriarchate of Moscow is our natural, logical and in keeping with the spirit of the foundation of the Archdiocese.
If this option were chosen, everyone would be free to act according to their conscience, to remain or change their jurisdiction. It’s a personal choice.
You finish on the “scandal” of the prohibition (for clerics) of intercommunion with Constantinople. But the real scandal is the action of the Phanar in Ukraine, with the creation of the false autonomous church based on excommunicated clerics and flouting the territorial principle of the Churches. The rupture of intercommunion was a logical and healthy decision of the Orthodox world, and not at all caused by conflicts between prelates. Personally, if we had continued to commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew during the services, I would already have left.
For me, all this is a matter of the Orthodox conscience, stripped of all consideration of people, nationalities, clans …
Finally, our only hope of preserving our statutes and our functioning lies in our attachment to Moscow, which has officially confirmed their maintenance. In Russia, moreover, the separation of Church and State is inscribed in its constitution (Article 14). The fear of today’s Russia comes from a fantasy carefully maintained by the West, the EU being itself at the boot of the USA.
I would add that, financially, the Archdiocese (what is left of it at least) has every interest in attaching itself to the Moscow Patriarchate, the only one able and willing to invest money for the maintenance of the churches, the restoration of St. Sergius, the revitalization of the Institute. See how Constantinople has never done anything in this sense, see the state of the churches in Biarritz, Cannes …
As you know, my father did a great deal for the creation of parishes in the vernacular, and I myself chose the crypt as a parish, to which I am very attached, and in which I am very involved. It will be heartbreak for me to leave, if the Archbishop decided to sacrifice himself by returning to the jurisdiction of the Greeks.
I am also in favour of a Local Church, but it is clear that the Archdiocese has missed its mission, which will definitely be buried with the Greek option.
Anne Andronikof, parishioner of the crypt (Daru).
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate remains the first and guarantees the unity and catholicity of the Orthodox Church”.
The primacy of honour does not imply a hierarchy of powers. Constantinople has shown that it is the guarantor of nothing at all, but rather a troublemaker, in constant search for survival.
Regarding Russia: “We live in too different worlds. ”
I have just spent a week in Moscow, where I had the impression of Western civilization. And I recently spent a week in Athens, where I felt in “a different world”, and where the Communist Party is very influential. I do not know what you think.
“The [Russian] Church is at odds with, if not dependent on, the civil authorities. ”
This is false. (See above)
“Yes, our origins and traditions are Russian, and it is certainly a wealth, but our sources are not Russia. Our sources are the renewal created by the “Paris School”, by the creative theologians of the Saint Serge Institute in permanent dialogue with the world. ”
What contradictions! The distinction between origins / traditions on the one hand and “sources” on the other hand is sleight of hand.
The theologians of the St. Sergius Institute have precisely maintained and developed all the wealth of “Russian” Orthodoxy, which has re-seeded Russia.
“One of the arguments of those who today wish to join the Moscow Patriarchate is faithfulness and obedience to the bishop. ”
See the above arguments having to do with faithfulness to the spirit of Orthodoxy and nothing to do with loyalty and obedience to the bishop. If the latter is wrong, it is up to the conscience of each one (as you say yourself) to take a position. It is an insult to, or at least a misunderstanding of, the thinking capacity of the basic Orthodox (of whom I am one).
July 17 2019, Paris