The Crisis in the Paris Archdiocese Continues

On Friday 8 March the Paris Rue Daru administration admitted that in Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew had rejected the list of three candidates selected as the next possible Archbishop of the Rue Daru grouping. The locum tenens, or temporary head, of the grouping, Metropolitan Emmanuel of the Greek Archdiocese in France, stated that the Patriarch had decided that the situation in Paris was ‘too unsettled for elections to take place’. For this reason Metropolitan Emmanuel will continue in his present capacity. However, it was also stated that a candidate to become a vicar-bishop for the Rue Daru grouping could be appointed under Metropolitan Emmanuel.

We wonder if this does not mean that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will not at last, from its point of view, regularise the uncanonical situation of the Rue Daru grouping. Until now there have been two bishops of the same Constantinople jurisdiction in Paris, the head of the Greek Archdiocese and the head of the Rue Daru Archdiocese. By putting the tiny Rue Daru grouping into a vicariate under the Greek Metropolitan, this problem could at last be resolved. As was suggested by the Patriarchate two years ago, those parts of the Rue Daru grouping which are outside France, for example in Great Britain, could simply be transferred to the local Greek jurisdiction.

With the anti-monastic history of the Rue Daru grouping, it was inevitable that one day there would no longer be any monks suitable to become Archbishop. And with this in mind, it was also inevitable that one day the Rue Daru grouping would be forced into becoming an integral part of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople. This process has been under way for nearly fifty years, with ever increasing numbers of its communities adopting the ‘Greek’ (= Catholic) calendar and modernistic Greek liturgical customs and dress. Indeed the same process has been under way in the tiny Carpatho-Russian grouping in North America, called ACROD, which last year was also forced into accepting a Greek head.

It is increasingly clear (to some of us it had already become crystal clear in the 1980s) that the only alternative to this scenario of Hellenisation and assimilation is to return to the Russian Mother-Church. With 829 parishes, 52 monasteries and 20 bishops in 57 countries outside Russia, the reunited Mother-Church could easily re-integrate the elements of the Rue Daru grouping which wish to remain loyal to the Russian Orthodox Tradition. It remains unclear, however, if this obvious solution to its crisis is the path that any in the Rue Daru grouping will take. This seems all the more extraordinary when most who attend services at the Rue Daru Cathedral are actually recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union.