Communiqué N° 05-11 of the Council of the Archdiocese

The Council of the Archdiocese met on December 1st 2011 under the chairmanship of Archbishop Gabriel. Among the matters discussed were:

1. Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Archbishop Gabriel led the diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, that took place from October 21st to 31st of this year. About fifty people took part, including four priests and a deacon, and they were able to pray in the principal holy places and Orthodox monasteries in Jerusalem, Palestine and Galilee. It was generally agreed that the pilgrimage went very well, thanks to great organisation by Father Yannik Provost and to the warm welcome given to the pilgrims by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Several encounters and concelebrations with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem and other hierarchs of the Jerusalem churches had been organised. Archbishop Gabriel also had the opportunity to talk with Archbishop Mark of Berlin (ROCOR) in the Monastery of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives. It is intended that a pilgrimage to the Holy Land be organised again next year.

2. Visit by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion, the senior bishop of ROCOR, accompanied by Bishop Michael of Geneva, two priests and a number of deacons and laypeople, visited the Cathedral of St Alexander Nevsky in Paris on Sunday November 20th 2011, at the invitation of Archbishop Gabriel. The delegation celebrated the Divine Liturgy with the Archbishop and cathedral clergy, and then partook of a fraternal meal provided by the cathedral parish. The Council was delighted with this concelebration, which contributes to the witness to Orthodox unity, along with the convivial, fraternal atmosphere that prevailed in this encounter.

3. Pastoral Assembly

The annual pastoral meeting, held on November 11th of this year at the St Sergius Institute in Paris, brought together the clergy of the Archdiocese. It allowed the discussion of a number of questions of pastoral practice, especially concerning baptism and marriage, which was greatly appreciated by the fifty-or-so participants.

4. Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland

The Council took note of the recent decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, confirming the continuation of the parishes and communities of the Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland within the Exarchate.

5. St Nicolas Cathedral in Nice

The Council of the Archdiocese has taken note of the latest legal decisions concerning the property of the Cathedral of St Nicolas the Wonderworker in Nice, and of the decision of those responsible for the services in the parish, assuring its management and upkeep for more than eighty years, to hand over the keys of this church to the representatives of the Russian Federation, who have been declared the owners of the building by the French civil courts.

The Archbishop and the members of the diocesan council have emphasised the necessity of continuing the liturgical and sacramental life of the parish in a calm and devout manner. They have also expressed their support and prayers for the clergy of the parish, the churchwarden and the members of the parish council.

6. The clergy

- After being made reader and sub-deacon, Didier Veillat was ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel at the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, October 2nd, in the church of the parish of St Alexander of Ugine and St Maria of Paris in Lyon. He will serve as deacon in this parish.
- After being made reader and sub-deacon, Léonide D’Hoe was ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel at the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, celebrated on Saturday October 8th (September 25th according to the Julian Calendar), in the Church of St Sergius in Paris. He will serve as deacon in this parish.
- After being made reader and sub-deacon, Mark McBeth was ordained deacon by Archbishop Gabriel at the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, November 13th, in the Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker in Dunblane (Scotland). He will serve as deacon with the community in Dunblane.
- Deacon Christopher Wallace was ordained priest by Archbishop Gabriel at the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, November 13th, in the Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Dunblane. He will have pastoral care of the Exarchate’s communities in Scotland..
- Mitred Archpriest Georges Drobot, responsible for the church of the skete of All Saints of the Land of Russia at Mourmelon-le-Grand, died during the night of November 3rd-4th in the Russian House in Saint-Geneviève-des-Bois. His funeral was taken by Archbishop Gabriel, assisted by Archpriests Anatole Rakovitch and André Drobot, on Wednesday November 9th, in the church of the skete at Mourmelon.

7. Saint Sergius Mount

A renovation project for the old candle-workshop in the grounds of the St Sergius Institute in Paris was presented to the Council and approved.

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