Pastoral message from the locum-tenens,
his Eminence John, bishop of Charioupolis.
To the Reverent fathers, deans, clergy, priests and deacons, monks and nuns, the Council of the Archdiocese, the church institutions, the St Sergius Institute, to members of the laity with responsibilities, the faithful and friends of the Exarchate of Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Beloved reverend fathers, brothers and sisters,
We were surprised by the decision of the Holy Synod on 28 November 2015 changing the structure of the hierarchy of the Exarchate.
Together with you, I express my friendship and respect for his Eminence Archbishop Job for the months I have served with him. The Patriarchate has entrusted him with a new mission and we support him in friendship and prayer in this new responsibility.
His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has appointed me as 'locum-tenens'. I am conscious of the heavy burden which falls to me now. I also humbly ask you to support me in your holy prayers that I may be of service to you all.
I ask you, beloved brothers and sisters to preserve the spirit of our Exarchate, to be responsible for your words and actions, that together we may preserve our unity, peace and harmony in the spirit of Christ our Saviour.
Let us assume together, and in peace, the responsibilty for the pastoral life of our communities, each with their own characteristics and languages.
May our parishes, monasteries and institutions each continue with their mission, which is : to bear witness to the Orthodox faith in the spirit of the Gospel and in service to our brethren. Together with the Archdiocesan Council, we now await and will inform you of the precise instructions for what is to happen next.
May the love and peace of Christ unite us all around the Altar at a time when the Church demands faithfulness and trust.
+John of Charioupolis, Patriarchal Vicar and Locum-tenens.