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ABOUT the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese is an autonomous Orthodox family of parishes and monastic communities, canonically attached to the Patriarchate of Moscow. It unites the churches of Russian tradition in Western Europe, having been founded in 1921 by Patriarch Saint Tikhon and entrusted to Metropolitan Euloge.The Archdiocese today is headed by His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna.


Faithful to its spiritual and liturgical roots in the Russian tradition, the way it functions today is, in part, because it retains the character it inherited from the Moscow Council of 1917-1918 as well as being a result of internal traditions that have developed since. More about the ethos of the Archdiocese can be found here.


The head office is located at 12 rue Daru, Paris, at the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, while it serves the Orthodox world by means of the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Sergius, five monasteries and sketes, and about sixty parishes spread over seven European countries.

The Archdiocese: A Fascinating History

France became a popular destination for Russians in the mid-19th century, and the Orthodox Church was established wherever they ended up. One result of this migration saw the building of St Alexander Nevsky church in Paris in 1861 - possible, in part, because of the benefaction of Tsar Alexander II. That church, which soon became a focal point for Russian Orthodox activity in France, also became a spiritual and intellectual refuge for the many Russians who fled their country in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. It has now served as our Cathedral for over a century.


At first, the Russian Orthodox communities in France and the rest of Western Europe existed under the direct  jurisdiction of the Church in Russia, but the difficulties in Russia after 1917 meant that a provisional administration for these external communities was set up by Patriarch Tikhon, called the 'Provisional Administration of Russian Parishes in Western Europe', led in the beginning by Metropolitan Eulogius. At first, all parishes in the diaspora convened as the 'Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia', in opposition to the political regime in Moscow, but by 1927, Metropolitan Eulogius, supported by his clergy in Western Europe, took a different path to the rest of the ROCOR bishops, eventually fell afoul of Moscow, and petitioned the Patriarch of Constantinople for recognition - which was granted by the Patriarch in 1931.

The history of the Archdiocese ever since has involved some movement between Constantinople and Moscow, but without ever losing sight of its origins in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Then, in 2019, a change in circumstances in relation to the Patriarchate of Constantinople saw fresh opportunity to make a return to our historic roots and, led by Archbishop Jean, the Archdiocese returned to the jurisdiction of Moscow. Archbishop Jean is now Metropolitan Jean of Dubna, and the parishes, monasteries and institutions of the Archdiocese are under the Patriarchate of Moscow, although independent insofar as we have the right to elect our own bishops, maintain our own historic structures, carry on with our specific traditions, and maintain our complete financial independence.

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