Voices from Russia

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Russian Exarchate in Western Europe (EP) calls all who accused it of Russophobia Slanderers

St Aleksandr Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris. As this church and the one in Nice were built from imperial funds, they are rightfully the property of the RF. The EP jurisdiction is a squatter in legal terms.

The Russian Exarchate in Western Europe (EP) accused those of its parishioners who accused it of Russophobic tendencies of intentional slander. “In keeping with our consistent general policy, the Exarchate Council declares its unwillingness to enter into any discussion with slanderers, whoever they may be, and it sharply condemns this deceitful and low campaign, which has the goal of destabilising not only the parish in Nice, but, the Exarchate as a whole”, said a statement of the Council, posted on the official website of the Exarchate.

In the spring, a parishioner of St Nicholas Cathedral in Nice, Lydia Plas, the former secretary of the church council of the Russian Orthodox Association of the City (ACOR), wrote an article in the Parisian newspaper Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought) that stated that Archpriest Johannes Heidt, the rector of the cathedral, and other of his clergy express frankly Russophobic viewpoints, they intend to “obliterate Russian traditions and eradicate them”. As a result, in parish life, “anything that is Russian is blocked and restricted”. Soon after the publication of the article, the primate of the Exarchate, Archbishop Gabriel of Comana, banned Mme Plas from Holy Communion for an indefinite period.

In turn, the Exarchate Council at a session on 17 June advanced the opinion that the “deliberately false fabrications” delineated in Mme Plas’ article and some other articles written in support of her by some other parishioners “are part of the dispute surrounding the lawsuit in Nice concerning the real and legal owner of the cathedral, to which the Russian Federation has made a claim. Such claims are unworthy, they are humiliating, and we find them unacceptable. We cannot allow such a scandalous slander in our church life, and we protest the way in which it was made public”, the statement of the council noted. It also expressed sympathy and support to Fr Johannes Heidt, the rector of the St Nicholas Cathedral, “in his difficult and important work in normalising the life of the parish, in its spiritual and pastoral care, and in its organisation and management”.

23 June 2008



Editor’s Note:

It appears to me that Gabriel and his gang are losing the lawsuit. The church, after all, was built using Russian government funds prior to World War I, and it is only logical that the property should revert to the Russian Federation, the legal successor to the imperial state. The Paris Jurisdiction is even more frail than the OCA (yes, Virginia, such is possible), it has declined from over 100 parishes to less than 80, mainly by parishes returning to the Mother Church of the MP (one such parish was the one at Clamart, which successfully resisted the attempts of the young Alexander Schmemann to introduce Renovationism there in the late 40s).

This body is important for it is the group that introduced, via Schmemann and his cronies, Modernism to the OCA. Is it any surprise that both bodies are sinking into the abyss?


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