Ветер дует – The wind blows, new Russian Orthodox cathedral at Paris (France)

Ветер дует – The wind blows

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This morning, on November 21/December 4th, 2016, on the Feast of the Entry of the Most Blessed Mary Theotokos into the Temple of Jerusalem, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia performed the consecration of the new Russian Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the Holy Trinity in Paris, on the Quai Branly. On the eve of this ceremony, the Patriarch had served the Vespers and Vigils at the Three Hierarch church and cathedral located in the Rue Petel where the Moscow Patriarchate had been serving for so many decades, in an old restructured garage and reknown icons, esp. of the Holy Bogorodica (bought at the Paris Flea Market).

New building, people will fancy for quite a long time on how the Russian Federation bought the well-located piece of land, previously the headquarters of the French Weather Forecast company, a magnificent place close to the Eiffel Tower, the Ministry of Interior and a diplomatic quarter. The spiritual center, incl. a school, an exhibition space (it is already open to the public).

A powerful moment. Of course some people, journalists, whosoever, will continue for quite a long time to speculate on the impact of this new Orthodox see in Paris. It took a long time, due to the changes that affected the Russian Empire society, its revolving evolution, the perestroika, the rise of the Orthodox Church inside of the Mother country. It was not evident. 25 years have passed and the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate rose to one of the most visible and acting Orthodox Churches in the Orthodox world that also came out of dictatorship and the power of the colonels, some kind of real existence and re-connection with the historic prestigious traditions. The whole thing was unexpected for a lot of Catholics and Protestants.

All over the world, in a move that has to be surveyed accordingly, Church and State work together or quite closely, in parallel ways. It also preserves the Russian Orthodox Church to secure her properties everywhere where Orthodox parishes and eparchies have been set up after the Revolution. We have it in Israel, with real hardships to show property certificates, to protect them and/or require them. On the wake of 2017, the coming centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution and the collapse of the Church(es, not only the leading Orthodox one), many places in the world, as capitals (London, Berlin, Zurich where the Patriarch will go after his visit to France), the Moscow Patriarchate faces the reality of a large emigration or presence for a while or some years of Orthodox faithful, tourists, business people, thinkers, writers, expats. Today, it is good that among the guests, the different bishops present in France (Romanian, Greek, Antioch) also included Met. Emmanuel and Mgr Jean of Charioupolis who is in charge of the Exarchate of the Russian Parishes in W. Europe (Constantinople, i.e. the St Alexander Nevsky cathedral that remains under the Ecumenical omophoron). It is then quite intriguing and nice to see this Eucharistic unity and openness : the chorists, the faithful came from all possible tendencies of Modern Orthodoxy, definitely aware or alerted by the special and unique moment that, beyond time and space, gathers “old and new” for a future that should be a source of newness.

It is significant that, among the people present this morning, the Patriarch was accompanied by Mgr Nestor of Korsun in charge of the Moscow faithful in France and some neighboring countries who was a student at St. Sergius Institute and served under late Abp. Sergii (Konovaloff) of Evkarpia – in charge of the Exarchate. Also Archim. Савва Тутунов Toutounov, born and raised at Daru (St Alexander Nevsky cathedral) and who decided to “return” to Russia and participate in the Moscow Patriarchate in the redeployment of the Orthodox Church. There are also many “go between” and this should not be a cause of judgment, but real faith and good deeds for the future. Многая лета! (credit Alexis Tchertkoff).