We recently reported that on November 27, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to dissolve the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe by repealing the Patriarchal Tomos of 1999.
As this tomos was never officially translated in English, please find here our unofficial translation:
Tomos of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, elevating the Archdiocese to the rank of Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (June 19,1999).
The Holy and Great Church of Christ, following in all things the sacred canons that grant her tireless solicitude for the Pleroma bearer of the name of Christ, located outside the territory of the other Holy Orthodox Churches and the jurisdiction of her bishops (canon 28 of the 4th Ecumenical Council), and in response to the pious demand of those concerned, decided, as a loving Mother, to organize the operations of the Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe according to what is useful for their salvation, and to grant them a good organization, as is fitting for the Church of Christ, according to the holy Apostle’s recommendation, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40).
Seeking appropriate regulations and paternally uniting into one, and in a manner pleasing to God, the principles of acribia, philanthropy, and compassion, so as not to turn leniency into permissiveness, nor strictness into bitterness, according to the 3rd canon of the Ecumenical Quinisext Council, we have turned our attention with sympathy to the particular problems of this Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe, and have deemed necessary the particular pastoral solicitude required for them and the proposed revision of their statutes.
Having considered these issues from every point of view, we have established in writing the regulations deemed preferable, so as not to lessen the zeal of canonical acribia, because of the pastoral economy of these bishops who pastorally serve these communities, and as not to upset the bond of their love with the pastors of the metropolises and archbishoprics of the Most Holy Ecumenical Throne in Western Europe; ” For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” according to the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles.
Thus, the Most Holy Patriarchal and Apostolic Ecumenical Throne, having received from His Eminence Archbishop Sergius of Evkarpia, who is at the head of the Archdiocese of the Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe and of its Archiepiscopal Council, the request and the above mentioned proposal concerning the necessity of modifying the present Statutes of this Archdiocese, with the care pertaining to its duty and its apostolic solicitude for stability, harmony, and canonicity in the way of directing the operations of this Archdiocese, synodally declares the following:
- This Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe, led by Archbishop Sergius of Evkarpia, established as a Patriarchal Exarchate, in accordance with the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of February 13, 1931, and directly submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch and his Holy and Sacred Synod, constitutes a unified ecclesial body, canonically and immediately dependent on the Ecumenical Throne.
- This Patriarchal Exarchate is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is administered according to its own statutes approved by the Ecumenical Throne. It retains the Russian liturgical order. As it should be, the laws of the countries in which the communities of the Exarchate are located, were taken into consideration in the elaboration of these statutes of the Patriarchal Exarchate.
- The Patriarchal Exarchate is governed by one leading Bishop, having the rank and title of Patriarchal Exarch Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox parishes in Western Europe. He provides the immediate canonical link between the Ecumenical Throne and the communities composing this Patriarchal Exarchate.
The Archbishop who is at the head of the Patriarchal Exarchate exercises jurisdiction over all communities of the Exarchate, as provided by the divine and holy canons. He is authorized to give canonical releases, to receive, name, and authorize any cleric or layman subject to his jurisdiction to serve an ecclesiastical diakonia.
- In the organization of ecclesiastical life in Western Europe, the Patriarchal Exarch Archbishop consults with the Metropolitan of France who sits in this country.
The consultation between the Archbishop and each of the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne is done directly and according to the same rules of communication between them, in the search for respect for ecclesiastical and administrative competence on all sides.
- In liturgical celebrations according to the ordo in force and according to the usage:
- The Archbishop commemorates the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch,
- The Auxiliary Bishops commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop,
- The parish clergy commemorate, according to the Russian tradition, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop, and his Auxiliary Bishop, as long as the latter presides over the celebration.
- The election of the Patriarchal Exarch Archbishop, as well as that of the auxiliary bishops, is performed in accordance with the Statutes approved and blessed by the Ecumenical Patriarch, and according to the canonical order for the elections held by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which takes into consideration the proposals made by the Exarchate Clergy and Laity Assembly.
- The functioning of the Episcopal Council, of the General Assembly, and of the Archiepiscopal Council of the Patriarchal Exarchate is under the chairmanship of the Patriarchal Exarch Archbishop, in accordance with the statutes in force and approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Extraordinary General Assemblies of the Patriarchal Exarchate may be presided over by the Metropolitan of France, following a request from the Exarchate and by a special delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
- The St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Theological Institute constitutes an inseparable element of this Patriarchal Exarchate and is, therefore, under the immediate supervision of the Archbishop who is at the head of the Exarchate.
And through this the present Tomos, as a paternal recommendation, we canonically remind you to “persevere and maintain the Orthodox traditions”, as foundations of truth and dogma. And again, as for what is ignored or questioned, “Ask your father. and he will tell you; your elders, and they will tell you” (Deut 32: 7), and we guarantee that certitude consists in not thinking more than needed, not having excessive thought, not wanting to prevail over one another, not being over confident of one’s own thought, but rather in seeking in humility what the good and perfect will of the Lord is.
For all this we bless the new Exarchate Archdiocese of the Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe and its very honored Exarch, His Eminence Archbishop Sergius of Evkarpia, as well as their Excellencies the Bishops who accompany him, the holy clergy, the sanctified priests of the Lord, and the chosen people of God. On all of them we invoke the abundant blessing of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and express our wishes that the Patriarchal Exarchate may remain and grow for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. And to our blessed brothers, bishops, priests and monks, as well as to the faithful people bearing the name of Christ, we wish every blessing of the Lord, as well as peace and joy, and the utmost fruitfulness of their struggles for Christ and for the Orthodox faith.
Consequently, in witness and guarantee thereof, the present patriarchal and synodal Tomos of codification was promulgated, transcribed, and signed in this holy codex of our great Church of Christ, addressed elsewhere, in identical terms and without change, and given to the said to be deposited in their archives as a reminder forever.
In the Year of Grace 1999, the 19th day of June. Indiction 7.
† Bartholomew of Constantinople
[the members of the Holy Synod]