On November 2-4, 2019, Moscow hosted celebrations on the occasion of the reunification of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes in the Russian Tradition to the Russian Orthodox Church, timed with the feast of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Day of National Unity.
On September 28, 2019, the pastoral meeting of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes in the Russian Tradition has decided, by a majority vote, to ask for canonical release to the Moscow Patriarchate. The decision was made in the context of the decree on the dissolution of the Archdiocese adopted by the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on November 27, 2018. On October 7, 2019, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to admit clergy and parishes of the Archbishopric, who expressed such a desire, to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
A delegation of the Archdiocese— more than 100 people — led by Archbishop John of Dubna, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes in the Russian Tradition, arrived to the capital of Russia to participate in the celebrations. The delegation includes descendants of the first wave of Russian emigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, descendants of Russian displaced persons, representatives of Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Moldavian emigrations of the last decades, as well as representatives of the peoples of Central and Western Europe - French, Belgians, Dutch, Germans, English, Scots, Romanians, Poles and Serbs.
On November 2, members of the delegation of the Archdiocese visited the Don Stavropegial Monastery, the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra and the historic Moscow Diocesan House.
On November 3, 20th Sunday after Pentecost, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy, with the participation of Archbishop John of Dubna and members of the delegation of the Archbishopric, at the Cathedral Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The solemn service completed the accession of the Archdiocese of the West European parishes of the Russian tradition to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Upon arrival to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church venerated the relics of St. Philaret (Drozdov), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna.
At the Liturgy His Holiness was assisted by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, Patriarchal auxiliary bishop of the Moscow Diocese; Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, Head of the Metropolitan District of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, Head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavsky, Patriarchal Exarch all of Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Anthony of Korsun and Western Europe, Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe, Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Office for Foreign Institutions; Archbishop John of Dubna, Administrator of the Archdiocese of the Western European parishes of the Russian tradition; Archbishop Simon of Brussels and Belgium; Archbishop Elisey of the Hague and Netherlands; Archbishop Nestor of Madrid and Lisbon; Bishop Dionysius of Voskresensk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Bishop Amvrosy of Bogorodsk, Vicar Bishop of the Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe; Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, Temporarily Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and Canada; Bishop Thomas of Pavlovo-Posad, Head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate; Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, Deputy Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archpriest Vladimir Divakov, Secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia for the city of Moscow; Archpriest Anatoly Rakovich, clergyman of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes in the Russian Tradition; Archpriest Michael Ryazantsev, sacristian of the Christ the Savior Cathedral; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the DECR MP; Archpriest John Gate, clergyman of the Archdiocese of the Western European parishes of the Russian tradition; Archpriest Vladimir Vorobiov, Rector of the Orthodox St. Tikhon Humanitarian University; Archimandrite Filaret (Bulekov), Deputy Chairman of the DECR MP; Archpriest Theodore van der Voort, clergyman of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes in the Russian Tradition; Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeyev), Representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia under the Patriarch of Bulgaria; Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations; Hegumen Feofan (Lukyanov), Head of the Protocol Service of the DECR MP; clergy of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Members of the delegation of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes prayed at the Divine Liturgy.
The service was performed in Church Slavonic, French, German and English.
The service was attended by S. A. Gavrilov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee of the Russian Federation Federal Assembly on the development of civil society, issues of public and religious associations, N.Yu. Chaplin, First Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Regional Duma, and V.R. Legoyda, Chairman of the Synodal Department for the Church Relations with Society and Media, Acting Head of the Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The liturgical chants were sung by the Patriarchal choir of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (choir master – I. B. Tolkachev).
The Patriarchal service was broadcasted live by “Soyuz” and “Spas” TV channels.
At the small entrance, during the singing of the 3rd antiphon, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop John moved from the cathedra to to the ambon and stood on the ambon in front of the Royal Doors.
Upon the end of the 3rd antiphon hymn, Protodeacon Konstantin Bargan read out the text of the Patriarchal and Synodal letter on restoring the unity of the Archdiocese of the Western European parishes of the Russian tradition with the Russian Orthodox Church.
After reading the text of the Patriarchal letter, Protodeacon Konstantin Bargan passed the letter to His Holiness the Patriarch, who handed it to Archbishop John with the words: “This Patriarchal and Synodal letter is handed in commemoration of the reunification of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes of the Russian tradition with the Russian Orthodox Church.”
With the singing of the thanksgiving troparion to the Savior, “We Give Thanks to Thee ..” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop John returned to the cathedra, and the Primate of the Russian Church announced a decree on the elevation of Archbishop John of Dubna to the rank of Metropolitan (while preserving the traditional liturgical commemoration of His Eminence as Archbishop) :
"Decree to His Eminence, Most Reverend John, Archbishop of Dubna, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition.
In view of the firm standing in the canonical truth and the pastoral activities that led to the restoration of church unity between the West European church abode, founded in 1921 under the leadership of Metropolitan Eulogius, with the Mother, the Russian Orthodox Church, you are receiving the rank of Metropolitan while preserving the traditional liturgical commemoration: "Our Lord, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna, Archbishop of the Western European parishes of the Russian tradition."
+ KIRILL, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA "
After reading out the text in Russian, Bishop Savva of Zelenograd read the text of the decree in French.
His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill declared “Axios” and laid a white klobuk on Archbishop John.
The Primate of the Russian Church greeted Metropolitan John of Dubna with the words “Christ is in our midst!”, Metropolitan John answered: “He is, and shall be!”
Then, His Holiness, taking into account the efforts to restore the church unity of the Archdiocese of the West European parishes of the Russian tradition with the Russian Orthodox Church, awarded the right to wear the Patriarchal Cross to Archpriest Anatoly Rakovich and Archpriest John Gate, clergy of the Archbishopric.
At the Augmented litany, petitions were made for the unity of the Orthodox Church and the preservation of the Church from divisions and schisms, followed by the following additional petitioned:
“Thou who has given us Thy commandment to love Thee our God and to love our neighbor, make that separations, hatred, enmity, and other iniquity would cease, but true love would reign in our hearts, we pray Thee our Savior, soon hear and have mercy.
Again we pray Thee, our Lord and our God, to receive and affirm the vineyard, that was planted and preserve by Thy right hand, from all the enemy’s libel; and to grant Thy inheritance peace and tranquility, that the Russian Church would not be diminished and shaken, and that Thy Holy Name be glorified in her, hear and have mercy. "
After the Augmented litany, His Holiness said a prayer:
“Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Who abolished divisions by the grace of the Holy Spirit and let us glorify Thine magnificent Name with one mouth and with one heart, and partake Thy Holy Mysteries; accept this prayerful offering and our thanksgiving, which we offer to Thee, for Thy bounties manifested in the Russian Church.
Remembering Thy promises to remain with Thy disciple all the days until the end of the times, and that no one can separate us from Thy Love, we pray Thee our Reconciler: affirm Thy fear in us and our true love for one another, that the people would understand that we are Thy disciples having love among ourselves.
Preserve the Russian Church from all divisions, disruptions and schisms, grant to her peace, silence and unity. Thou art the God of mercy and generosity and love for mankind, and to Thee we sing the glory, together with Thy Eternal Father and Thy All-Holy and Good and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen".
At the litany for the departed, prayers were offered for the repose of the soul of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgiyevsky).
A sermon before the Holy Communion was delivered by priest Eugeny Dubovets, clergyman of the Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist in Ivanovo, city of Moscow.
At the end of the Liturgy, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the participants in the divine service with the Hierarch's word.
As a gift to the Archbishopric, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill donated the reliquary with the honest relics of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, as well as an icon of New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church who were members of the Local Council of 1917-1918. “It is known that the Council’s decrees were of particular importance to the life of the Russian church abode in Western Europe, headed by ever-memorable Metropolitan Eulogius, a member of this historic Council, for the peace of his soul we have prayed together earlier today. May these gifts from the Mother Church become a sign of spiritual succession and an indisputable bond, the renewal of which we solemnly celebrate today, ”said the Most Holy Vladyka.
The Primate of the Russian Church Metropolitan presented to Metropolitan John a commemorative panagia and a cross. “Accept them as a testament of the love with which you, a native of France, were received by the great and truly multinational Russian Orthodox Church,” said the Holy Patriarch.
Metropolitan John of Dubna replied with a speech.
As a gift to the Primate of the Russian Church, Metropolitan John presented a pre-revolutionary image of the Savior from the vestry of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris.
Then, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presented church awards. By a decree of His Holiness, Metropolitan Anthony of Korsun and Western Europe, Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe, , Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, vice Chancellor of Moscow Patriarchate, and Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Head of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, were given church awards for their efforts to restore the church unity of the Archdiocese of the West European parishes of the Russian tradition with the Russian Orthodox Church.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the participants in the divine service with a closing word, in which he noted the importance of overcoming the last church division generated by civil unrest in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, and congratulated the believers with this historic event.