In Response to the Schism Created by Bartholomew in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church Will Create Exarchates in Europe and Asia

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church responded to the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine with the decision to form patriarchal exarchates in Western Europe and Southeast Asia.

“The synod decided to form patriarchal exarchate in Western Europe with its center in Paris, having included in the sphere of pastoral responsibility of this exarchate the following countries: Andorra, Belgium, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland”

said the press secretary of Patriarch Kirill, priest Aleksandr Volkov, to journalists on December 28th in Moscow after a meeting

According to him, this is how the ROC will respond to the actions of Constantinople in Ukraine.

“These are actions that were taken by the Holy Synod in response to the anti-canonical decision of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Of course, this is how they can be interpreted”

stressed Volkov

“We were always respectful of the Constantinople Patriarchate and closed our eyes to the claims of the Constantinople Patriarch to take care of all Orthodox Christians in diaspora, but, of course, this approach has little in common with reality, because there are no grounds for the Constantinople Patriarchate to consider himself competent to take under his spiritual protection the entire diaspora both in Western Europe and in other parts of the world”

noted the press secretary of the Patriarch Kirill

In the same context, he added, it was decided to form a patriarchal exarchate in Asia.

“In connection with the significant successes of the mission of Russian Orthodox Church in Asia, which is expressed in the multiplication of the number of temples and communities, the emergence of clergy from among the local population, the increase in interest in Russian Orthodoxy, and also in connection with the increase in the Russian-speaking population living on a permanent or temporary basis in these countries and regions, a Patriarchal Exarchate was created in Southeast Asia with its center in Singapore”

said the priest, quoting the decision of the Synod of the ROC

In the sphere of pastoral responsibility of the Asian exarchate there are the following countries: Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand.

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The West European exarchate of the ROC will be headed by Bishop Ioann (Roshchin), who for a long time led patriarchal parishes in the US and was recently appointed as the manager of patriarchal parishes in Italy. The exarchate in Southeast Asia will be headed by Archbishop Solnechnogorsky Sergey (Chashin), who is the head of the administrative secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate.

On October 11th the Synod in Istanbul deprived of validity the decree from 1686 about the transfer of the Kiev metropolitanate to Moscow, announced the creation of its metochion in Kiev, and the rehabilitated the leaders of the non-canonical orthodox churches in Ukraine. In response the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate declared a complete separation of relations with Constantinople.

In the middle of November the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Illarion, declared that now, in a situation of rupture, the Russian church “will have no other choice but to send priests (…) to provide pastoral care for our believers, and it will continue while the Constantinople Patriarch is in schism”.

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