Articles Clergy and Monastics Seide, Gernot

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part IV, Chapter 1.7. The Dioceses in Western Europe & Great Britain

Left to right Fr. George Cheremetieff (w. Kursk-Root Icon), Abbess Elisabeth (Ampenoff), Archb. John of W. Europe, Bp. Nikodem of Richmond. The photo is taken in London at the “Russian House” (5 Brechin Place, SW7) after the dedication of the house-chapel by St. John. A part of the house was used by Dr Tatiana Pavlovna Guerken-Glovatsky, a prominent member of the ROCOR parish. The nuns w. M. Elisabeth arrived in London in June, 1954. They stayed at this place until in 1960 when they acquired their current residence in Brondesbury Park. (Caption: N. Mabin, source:

An outline of ROCOR history in Continental Europe and the British Isles.

Part IV, Chapter 1.7

The Dioceses in Western Europe & Great Britain

In Europe, most Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia are located in the central and western parts of the continent. In 1640, a church was consecrated in the Russian Trade Building in Stockholm. Trade and diplomatic relations between Russia and Western Europe since Peter I (the Great) led to the establishment of Russian churches in residences and capitals. Divine services were held at the embassy church in London from 1716, 1718 in Berlin, and 1720 in Paris.

The building of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe increased, particularly in the second half of the 19th century. The churches were built with the blessing of the Metropolitan of Saint Petersburg, to whom the Russian churches in Western Europe were subject. Thus, the following churches were consecrated in the following years: in 1855, Saint Elizabeth Church in Wiesbaden; in 1861, in Paris, both Holy Trinity Church and the Saint Alexander Nevsky Church; in 1866, in Geneva, the Church of the Elevation of the Cross; in 1874, in Dresden, the Church of Saint Simeon; in 1876, in Ems, the Church of the Martyred Empress Alexandra; in 1882, in Baden-Baden, Church of the Transfiguration; in 1883, in Copenhagen, the Church of Saint Alexander Nevsky; in 1889, in Vienna, the Saint Nicholas Church; in 1902-03, in Florence, the Church of the Nativity of Christ and the Saint Nicholas Church; in 1922, in Nice, the Church of Saint Nicholas and the Church of the Martyred Empress Alexandra. All these churches were built in order “to meet the religious needs of the Orthodox Russians resident in various countries of Western Europe.” 1

The establishment of diplomatic relations, the numerous dynastic connections between the Russian and European ruling houses – above all with the German nobility – were some of the main causes for the establishment of Russian churches in Western Europe. From the mid-1800s, the Russian nobility and the affluent middle class, desiring to travel, were coming to Europe; the German and Austrian spas, the Italian Riviera, and the French Côte d’Azur, all attracted Russian travelers in summer and winter: those who did not want to spend the summer months in Petersburg, Moscow, or other Russian cities, or who fled the raw winter to the balmy Mediterranean. Between San Remo and Cannes (barely 40 miles), a dozen Russian churches are located.

The Revolution and the famine in Russia brought masses of Russian émigrés into Central and Western Europe. In Germany alone, 560,000 Russians are estimated to have lived. 2 In 1929, according to a League of Nations’ study of refugees, 400,000 émigrés were living in France and 150,000 in Germany. 3 Thus, numerous parishes and new churches were established.

Since the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1920, there has been no other ecclesiastical province in which there were more schisms and jurisdictional changes than in the Western European Diocese. The schism with the most serious consequences was the separation of Metropolitan Eulogius’s group from the Synod of Bishops in 1926. Since then, that group changed its jurisdictional loyalty as follows: from June 1926 until August 1927, it was autonomous; from August 1927 until October 1930, it belonged to the Moscow Patriarchate; from February 1931 until August 1945, to the Patriarchate of Constantinople; from September 1945 until March 1947, to Moscow and Constantinople simultaneously; then until 1965, again to Constantinople; from 1965 until 1970, it was again autonomous; and finally, in 1970, it returned to the jurisdiction of Constantinople. At each change, bishops, priests, and faithful broke away. In 1931, Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenko) separated from Eulogius and remained under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate; a half dozen parishes joined him. From 1945 to 1947, Bishops Sergius (Korolev) and Alexander (Nemolovsky) separated from the Paris Jurisdiction, after Archbishop Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) had again submitted to Moscow. This new change was not made by several parishes, which remained under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, including the Saint Nicholas Church in Brussels, the Belgian Orthodox Mission, the communities in Holland, and a few in England and North America. 4

The Paris Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Eulogius was not unique in its changes of loyalty.

Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov), who had ruled the Church Abroad’s Western European Diocese, likewise joined the Patriarchal Church in 1945. (He later returned to the Church Abroad.) Bishop Gregory (Ostroumov) of Cannes left the Church Abroad and took his parish with him. Shortly before his death, in 1947, he and his parish returned to the Church Abroad. The Church Abroad’s cathedral parish in Paris, the parish of the Mother of God of the Sign, separated from its bishop of many years, Metropolitan Seraphim, and joined Metropolitan Vladimir (Tikhonitsky), who was the successor to Metropolitan Eulogius. The jurisdictional changes of the clergy and bishops were rejected by many of the faithful. Thus, schisms multiplied and formed the basis of new parishes. This hit smaller parishes especially hard, as they often lost not only their places of worship but also their priests.

The Patriarchal Church was the beneficiary of the schisms in the émigré Church after World War II. Before 1945, Moscow had only five parishes in Western Europe. 5 After his break with the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration, Metropolitan Eulogius had seventy-five parishes, of which fifty were in France; the Church Abroad’s ruling bishop had thirty-one parishes, of which seventeen were in France. 6 Considering that in 1926 Archbishop Seraphim had only two parishes in England, it is remarkable that he was able, in just a few years after taking over the rule of the Western European Diocese, to put the Church Abroad on a firm basis. One should not overlook the fact that these 31 parishes largely grew out of already existing communities that had split. In only a few cases did entire parishes join the Church Abroad and renounce Metropolitan Eulogius’s leadership.

The departure of faithful, the retirement of priests, and the loss of church buildings led to bitterness and reproaches on both sides. Today the positions of both groups are so firmly entrenched that, after over 70 years of separation, a reunification of these two parts of the Russian Church sadly appears to be largely out of the question.

The rule of the Western European communities was transferred to Archbishop Eulogius by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration in October 1920. This temporary appointment was confirmed in January 1921 by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration. Patriarch Tikhon and the Holy Synod succeeded in confirming this appointment on 26 March/8 April 1921 (Decree No. 424). 7 Eulogius himself never denied his appointment by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration. He himself wrote: “The rule of the Western European Diocese <…> was transferred to me in 1920 by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration.” 8

After the Patriarch dissolved the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration in May 1922, Metropolitan Eulogius, who in the meantime had been elevated to the rank of metropolitan, continued to cooperate closely with the Synod of Bishops. At the Council of Bishops in 1923, he proposed a plan to decentralize the administration through the creation of four autonomous ecclesiastical provinces, without putting the canonical and spiritual authority of the Synod of Bishops in question. The plan was only accepted in part: Metropolitan Eulogius was given autonomous authority over the Western European communities. 9 Metropolitan Eulogius was also assigned to entrust the bishops of the most “important centers” of Russian émigrés, especially in Germany and Italy, with the administration of parishes. 10 The first appointment took place in 1924: Archimandrite Tikhon was consecrated Bishop of Potsdam. 11 In the following year, Metropolitan Eulogius transferred the administration of the communities in the south of France to Archbishop Vladimir of Nice, who had come from Poland. 12 To Bishop Sergius of Bely (Poland) he entrusted the administration of the Russian communities in Prague, 13 and to Archbishop Seraphim (from Finland) the communities in England. Thus, by early 1926, within the Western European Diocese there were vicariates in Potsdam for the Russian communities in Germany, in Nice for the south of France, in Prague for the communities in Czechoslovakia, and in London for the communities in England.

All of these appointments were carried out by Metropolitan Eulogius with the consent of the Synod of Bishops. Metropolitan Eulogius, therefore, recognized the central administration in Karlovtsy then as before. However, it appears that the Synod of Bishops went too far in the granting of autonomous administration of the Western European Diocese to Metropolitan Eulogius. The first attempts to restrict this autonomy had already taken place at the Council of Bishops in 1924. After Metropolitan Eulogius had created four vicariates between 1924 and 1926, the Synod presumably feared losing control over the important Western European ecclesiastical province; at the same time, Metropolitan Eulogius began to question the control of the Synod. Church unity was shattered in a struggle over the question of limits of authority within the Church Abroad. When Archpriest Prozorov in Berlin questioned the jurisdictional authority of the Synod in Karlovtsy, Bishop Tikhon forbade him from serving. Metropolitan Eulogius raised this question again, whereupon Bishop Tikhon turned to the Synod. Thereupon, Metropolitan Eulogius suspended Bishop Tikhon from his office and accused him of being disobedient to his bishop. The Synod decided that the entire affair should be reviewed at the next Council of Bishops. Metropolitan Eulogius’s removal of Tikhon was in clear violation of the canons, inasmuch as a bishop may only be deposed by an episcopal court, at which no less than eight hierarchs should take part.

After these occurrences, further difficulties arose at the Council of 1926. After Bishop Tikhon was confirmed in his office, the Council of Bishops decided to transform the vicariate of Potsdam into an independent diocese. Metropolitan Eulogius protested against this resolution and denied the Council the right to create new dioceses; however, he had to acknowledge that his views did not meet with the majority opinion at the Council. Thus, he was left with the choice of recognizing the Council as the supreme ecclesiastical authority or breaking with it.

The Synod of Bishops viewed Metropolitan Eulogius’s conduct as disobedience to the central ecclesiastical authority. His rejection of the Council of Bishop’s decision was seen as a rebellion against proper ecclesiastical order. Therefore, Metropolitan Eulogius’s establishment of his own ecclesiastical administration signified a split from the Church Abroad, which until then had been united, and which Metropolitan Eulogius had recognized from its establishment, and upon the decisions of which he collaborated, and of which he was a co-founder.

Both Bishops Sergius and Vladimir, his vicars, separated from the Synod along with Metropolitan Eulogius, as well as Bishop Benjamin, who had taken over the direction of the Saint Sergius Institute in Paris. Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky), who lived on Athos, joined Metropolitan Eulogius in 1928 and was appointed vicar Bishop of Brussels.

Archbishop Seraphim and Bishop Tikhon separated themselves from Metropolitan Eulogius and remained faithful to the Church Abroad. After all the attempts to save the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in emigration, it shattered in the weeks following. At its session of January 1927, the Synod of Bishops resolved to bring Metropolitan Eulogius before an ecclesiastical court and to transfer the provisional rule of the Western European Diocese to Archbishop Seraphim. 14 The Synod informed the faithful in Western Europe by circular letter of these decisions. 15

At the Council of 1928, Metropolitan Eulogius and Bishops Vladimir, Sergius, Benjamin, and Alexander were suspended from their posts. The Church Abroad’s own new administrative set-up in Western Europe was decided upon; Archbishop Seraphim was now appointed the official ruling bishop of the Western European Diocese of the Church Abroad.

Besides the parishes in France, 16 the diocese included two in Austria, one in Hungary, two in Italy, one in Belgium, two in Luxemburg, and four in Switzerland. Some communities in Germany and Austria, which remained under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Eulogius, were excluded in 1938. In 1929 the diocese received a vicar bishop, Bishop Nicholas of London, who took over the administration of the English parishes. A second vicariate was created in 1936, for the south of France, the administration of which Bishop Gregory (Ostroumov) took over. He received the title of Bishop of Cannes (later of Cannes & Marseille), and had jurisdiction over the Russian communities in San Remo, Menton, Nice, Cannes, and Marseille. After the passing of the aforementioned “Provisional Statutes,” which foresaw the creation of the four ecclesiastical provinces, the Western European Diocese was elevated to the rank of a Metropolitan District. The rule of the diocese, and then of the Metropolitan District, was Archbishop Seraphim’s from 1928-45; he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan in 1938.

After Metropolitan Seraphim joined the Moscow Patriarchate, Bishop Nathaniel (Lvov) took over with the title of Bishop of Brussels & Western Europe. He ruled the diocese between 1946 and 1951. His successor was Archbishop (Saint) John (Maximovich). He transferred the diocesan administration from Brussels to Versailles. Bishop Anthony (Bartoshevich, from 1963 Archbishop) succeeded him in 1962. He bore the title of Archbishop of Geneva & Western Europe and resided in Geneva.

Bishop Leontius (Bartoshevich) was appointed a vicar bishop for Geneva in 1950; he held this position until 1956. After his repose, his brother (Bishop Anthony) was named vicar Bishop of Brussels. However, in the same year, he moved to Geneva.

A second vicariate existed in England: Bishop Nathaniel, as Bishop of Preston & the Hague, first administered the diocese from 1951-55; he was followed by Bishop Nicodemus (Nagaev) from 1954 to 1963, after 1957 as Bishop of Richmond, and finally as Bishop of Richmond & Great Britain. In 1963 England became an independent diocese. After the repose of Archbishop Nicodemus in 1976, the administration of the diocese was assigned to Archimandrite Alexis (Podjoy) [trans., Pobjoy, an English convert]. In 1981, Bishop Constantine (Essensky) was appointed to rule the diocese.

A bishop was consecrated in 1964 for the French-speaking Orthodox – Bishop John (Kovalevsky), who bore the title Bishop of Saint-Denis. 17 Just two years later he broke with the Synod and negotiated with the Romanian Patriarchate for his reception into that jurisdiction, in which he remained until his death in 1972. 18 A French-language deanery existed for some years under the direction of the late Archimandrite Ambroise (Fontrier), but this group left the Church Abroad in 1987 and joined a jurisdiction of Greek Old Calendarists.

For the Dutch-speaking Orthodox, Archimandrite Jacob (Akkersdijk) was consecrated Bishop of the Hague & the Netherlands. The very successful mission amongst the Dutch, 19 to which a monastery and convent belonged, was subject to the Church Abroad from 1965-71. Then Bishop Jacob, together with his flock, separated from the Synod, because they could come to no agreement with the Synod over the calendar question. After the Moscow Patriarchate declared its willingness to oblige this group, by allowing them to celebrate according to the New Calendar, they joined Moscow. 20

Both these bishops, John (Kovalevsky) and Jacob (Akkersdijk), were vicars to the ruling bishop of the West European Diocese.

Since the creation of the Western European Diocese, the majority of parishes were in France. At first, there were 17 parishes under the Synod. In 1935, there were already 24. 21 In 1935, 34 parishes in all were located on what is now the territory of the Western European Diocese (excluding England, Austria, and Hungary); currently there are 54 parishes.

The constant jurisdictional jumping, that a few communities went through, can be seen in the example of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Bari. This church was built in 1913 in order to give pilgrims who were on their way to the Holy Land via Bari, where the relics of Saint Nicholas are enshrined, the opportunity to attend Orthodox divine services. A hostel for pilgrims was also built near the church. After the schism of 1926, the church remained with the Synod until 1948. After the parish priest left the Synod in 1948 and joined the Paris Jurisdiction, the church belonged to them until 1970. The parish in Bari did not go along with the Paris group’s new jurisdictional change, which was joining Constantinople again, but instead returned to the Synod. 22 In Rome, there has been a Russian church since 1836, which was founded as the embassy church. In 1932, this church had to be closed. The community was given space in the palazzo of Princess Chernycheva on Via Palestro and built a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas. After her death, the princess left the house to the Church Abroad, which made the church directly subject to the Synod of Bishops. Besides Orthodox Russians, Orthodox Serbs and Bulgarians also belonged to the community, in all some 50 people. 23 In addition to these two parishes, there were communities in Turin, Genoa, San Remo, Bologna, and Milan, of which today only the last two still exist. 24 For a time, the clergy of these churches had to care for the Russian and Serbian Orthodox refugees, who lived in the refugee camps in Trieste and were waiting for a residence permit for other countries in Western Europe and overseas. In 1953, 1,056 Russians and 1,087 Orthodox Serbs still lived in this camp. 25

In Holland before the Second World War, there was only one parish – in the Hague, which, however, remained under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Eulogius. The Church Abroad established its own parishes there for the first time after the War because the Dutch government was accepting refugees from the camps in Germany, Trieste, and Austria. These were almost exclusively the elderly and infirm so that the communities became smaller and smaller through the years. The members of the Holland Mission took over the care of these parishes. Including the Russian home for the elderly in the Hague. 26

The situation in Belgium was more favorable. There, a small Russian parish had been in existence since 1920; from the mid-1920s, sizable immigration from Bulgaria and Germany joined them. In Brussels, there was a church in the Russian embassy, which after 1926 joined the Paris Jurisdiction. After 1928 Archbishop Alexander resided there as a vicar bishop to Metropolitan Eulogius. Thereupon, the Church Abroad’s faithful established a temporary home, which was able to move to a spacious building. The church was dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ. Between 1953 and 1957, Archimandrite Anthony administered this community; he was consecrated Bishop of Brussels in 1957. Under his leadership, parish life took a turn for the better. In 1953 the Saint Vladimir School was established; it had its own school building. The school was attended by Serbian children in addition to Russian children. It was also possible to open a small home for the elderly, into which ten people were received. Since the 1950s, the community has had a monthly parish newsletter, The Voice of Our Church (Golos Nashei Tserkvi). 27

There is another church in Brussels – the Church of the Righteous Job the Long-Suffering – dedicated to the memory of the martyred Imperial Family and to all the victims of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. The initiative to build this church came from the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, youngest sister of the last Emperor, in 1930. 28 With the financial support of the whole Russian emigration, the Serbian Royal Family, and the Serbian Patriarchate, the cornerstone was laid in 1936. The completion thereof was delayed by the outbreak of the War, until 1950. The consecration of the church, which was built in North Russian style and crowned by a huge, 70-foot high, dark blue cupola, was celebrated by Metropolitan Anastasius, and Bishops Nathaniel and Leontius, together with numerous clergy. 29 The church has since then been directly subject to the First Hierarch. The parish has been publishing a small parish newsletter since 1962, called The Herald of the Memorial Church (Vestnik Khrama-Pamyatnika). It appeared first in printed form, and only later in hectographed form, and contained articles about the life of the last Imperial Family as well as news about the building of the church. Besides both parishes in Brussels, there were seven smaller communities in Belgium, of which only the parishes in La Hulpe and Braine le Comte survive today. In Luxemburg, the Church Abroad originally had two parishes – one dedicated to Saint Nicholas and the other to Saints Peter and Paul. From 1933 onwards, when the economic situation forced numerous Russians to emigrate to South America, Saint Nicholas Church was closed. Since then, only the Church of Saints Peter and Paul has continued to exist, which was for many years accommodated in a former farmhouse. The city administration gave them a plot of land, and in 1980 this parish was able to lay the cornerstone for a new church, which was completed and consecrated in 1982. 30

The diocesan administration, and also the seat of the ruling bishop of the Western European Diocese, was located in France from 1928-1962. At first, Bishop Seraphim had to manage with a house church, because the Paris community had joined Metropolitan Eulogius. Only the parish of the Resurrection of Christ in Meudon (a suburb of Paris) voted to remain with the Church Abroad. In Versailles, there was a “cadet school” with a house chapel, which was visited by future “officers.” In addition to regular instruction, the school gave military drills without weapons. 31

Bishop Seraphim’s goal was to build his own cathedral church, which finally was ready for consecration in 1936. It was located on Rue Boileau in the 16th arrondissement. In an adjacent building, the residence of the archbishop and the diocesan administration, as well as a spacious hall, were located. The church was dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign. The iconostasis consisted of four rows of icons in the Old Russian style. 32 During the War, the church was greatly damaged, so the parish moved to rue Michel Ange, where a make-shift church was set up. Only the parish house on rue Rondeau could still be used. After Metropolitan Seraphim’s change of jurisdiction, this church property was finally lost to the Moscow Patriarchate. His successor, Bishop Nathaniel, resided in Brussels and used the Church of the Resurrection of Christ as his cathedral. From 1952, Archbishop [Saint] John (Maximovitch) again lived in France and used the Church of the Resurrection in Meudon as his cathedral. 33 With the appointment of Bishop Anthony in 1962, the administration was moved to Geneva, where there was a 19th-century church built in the Moscow style, which also had adjacent rooms for the bishop’s office. After 1926, only the church of the Archangel Michael in Cannes and a church in Pau, which had been obtained as the bishops’ churches, remained in France. Both churches, however, were too unfavorably located to serve the parishes outside France. From 1894, the church in Cannes was cared for by Father Gregory Ostroumov, the later Bishop of Cannes. He remained faithful to the Synod after 1926.

Today Archpriest Igor Dulgov serves in this church and cares for the two Russian homes for the elderly in Cannes. In these homes, which were set up in a former hotel in the 1950s, 300 people lived. Both homes received financial support from various institutions, including the Tolstoi Foundation, the United Nations Refugee Committee, the World Council of Churches, and other organizations. 34

The second church was located in Pau and was consecrated in 1867. It has served since then as the church for the Russian faithful. After 1917, the community consisted only of a few faithful. Following the death of the appointed priest in 1907, the priests from Biarritz and Tarascon cared for them. In 1949, six monks from the Saint Job Brotherhood in Munich settled in Pau in order to establish a monastery. The group was under the direction of Hieromonk Panteleimon (Rogov). Attached to the church was some land and a house, where the monks were supposed to live. The brothers renovated the church, the adjacent buildings, and the garden. Two brothers also found work at a neighboring farm. The monastery was supposed to become a spiritual center for the Orthodox in the south of France. The realization of these plans had to be abandoned, however, because the Brotherhood lacked the necessary capital to purchase the land upon which the future monastery and a farm were to be established. 35 Today only the church in Pau still exists; it was renovated in 1967 on the centennial of its foundation. 36

Igumen Nicodemus (Nagaev, later Archbishop of Richmond) with three monks made a second attempt to establish a monastery, near Ozoire la Ferriere in northern France. Bishop Nathaniel, the initiator of this idea, hoped to establish a monastery in the north of France, which was to be a place of pilgrimage for the Russian communities of the region. This plan also did not come to fruition. 37

The desire to establish a monastery as a spiritual center for the Russian Orthodox communities in France was to be realized finally by the resettlement of nuns from the Lesna Convent from Yugoslavia. Bishop Nathaniel had formed a committee in 1949, to which the Catholic Archbishop of Paris and representatives of the Protestant communities in France also belonged. 38 The goal of this committee was to prepare for the arrival of Russian refugees, who lived in camps or wanted to leave Eastern Europe. With the help and support of this committee, the Lesna sisters succeeded in leaving Yugoslavia and resettling in France. The Roman Catholic Church offered a former seminary in Fourqueux near Paris as a domicile at their disposal. The thirty nuns remained here until 1967 when they moved to Provement, a small village in Normandy, where they have found a permanent home in the former château of Etrépagny. 39 In Provement, as well as in Fourqueux, the monastery was a popular place of pilgrimage for the Orthodox faithful of France, Europe, and even overseas. For the faithful of the Paris Jurisdiction, the convent, in which the Wonder-working Icon of the Lesna Mother of God is venerated, is also a place of pilgrimage. The convent was even visited by Metropolitan Vladimir, the successor of Metropolitan Eulogius. 40

The remaining parishes in France were all established after 1928. Due to a lack of funds, they were unable to build their own churches, except in rare cases, for example in Lyon. 41 This parish, founded in 1928, was able to consecrate a spacious stone church in 1938. After Metropolitan Seraphim joined the Moscow Patriarchate, the parish voted to decide which jurisdiction they should join. After the majority voted to remain with the Synod, 139 parish members left the church and joined either the Moscow Patriarchate or the Paris Jurisdiction. 42 Most of the Synodal communities in France had only small churches and chapels, which were set up in homes or barracks.

In Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois, a suburb of Paris, there is a Russian cemetery, which was established in 1928. The cemetery was established on a plot of land which belonged to Princess K. Meshcherskaya. In the château, a home for the elderly was founded. A cemetery chapel in the Northern Russian style was ready in 1939. Today, there are over 5,000 graves there, making it the largest Russian cemetery in Western Europe, with the remains of nearly 12,000 Orthodox Russians from France and Western Europe. In the crypt of the church, Metropolitan Eulogius has found his final resting place. It is worth mentioning that at this cemetery not only have the faithful of all three jurisdictions found their last resting place, but all three jurisdictions have also cared for the cemetery together. The administration of the cemetery consists of members of the Paris Jurisdiction, the Church Abroad, and the Moscow Patriarchate. 43

In Switzerland, the Church Abroad presently has 13 parishes. The focal point of Church life is Geneva, with its Cathedral of the Elevation of the Cross. There is a 19th-century church in Vevey. The other parishes, in Zurich, Lausanne, Bern, Basel, and Weesen, only have chapels.

Most parishes came into existence after World War II, when former Swiss, who had emigrated to the Baltics and Russia in the 19th century, returned to the homeland of their forefathers. Having converted to Orthodoxy in Russia, mostly as a result of marriages, they joined the Church Abroad on their return to Switzerland. 44

The Swiss vicariate published its own journal from 1956-61, the Herald of the Swiss Vicariate (Vestnik Shveitsarskavo Vikariatstva). It appeared to publish in Paris the journal Word of the Church (Slovo Tserkvi) in 1949, which considered itself to be the “ecclesiastical-religious supplement” to the Paris emigré journal Russian Thought (Russkaya Mysl’). The journal was published until 1951 and then discontinued. After he took office in 1962, Archbishop Anthony regularly published the diocesan journal for the West European Dioceses, Herald of the Western European Diocese (Vestnik Zapadno-Evropeiskoi Eparkhii), which came out bi-monthly in the 1960s. Since the beginning of the 1970s, the journal appeared quarterly with 50-60 pages. A second, French-language newspaper, the Messenger-Information Bulletin of the Diocese of Western Europe of the Russian Church Abroad (Messager, Bulletin d’Informations du diocese de l’Europe Occidentale de l’Eglise Orthodoxe Russe Hors Frontières) is directed at the French Orthodox faithful. It appeared quarterly since the 1950s and prints above all else missionary and theological articles.

The London parish has been in existence for over 270 years and has always been dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. Its church, functional until 1920, still exists, having reverted to its owners (the estate of the Dukes of Bedford) and, like the rest of their property in the area of Bloomsbury in London, is now used by the University of London as a lecture hall. The church building was deliberately abandoned after the Revolution and subsequent emigration because it was obviously inadequate and unsuitable for the needs of the rapidly growing parish.

Until 1926, there was only one parish in London, to which 1,000 faithful belonged. After the schism of 1926, this community divided into two equally strong groups. The parish church, which was in the former Anglican Church of Saint Philip, continued to be used by both groups on alternate weeks. This arrangement continued until 1955, at which time the church was closed. 45 Archimandrite Nicholas (Karpov) was appointed in 1928 to administer the Church Abroad’s parishes. Out of the financial means at his disposal, he bought a small house in London, in which he founded a podvorye (episcopal residence or church house), because he wanted to start a small brotherhood of monks. In the house, he set up a Chapel of All Saints in order to celebrate Divine Services regularly with his flock. In subsequent years, the community celebrated the divine services alternately at the Church of the Dormition (in Saint Philip’s Church) and at the Chapel of All Saints.

In June of 1929, Archimandrite Nicholas was consecrated Bishop of London, vicar to the Western European Diocese. The consecration took place in the parish church in London and was performed by Metropolitan Anthony, Archbishop Seraphim, and Bishops Theophanes and Simon (of Kremenets). At this first consecration of an Orthodox bishop in London, numerous clergy of the Anglican Church was in attendance. 46

Another chapel was opened in Prince Galitzine’s house in a London suburb. In the meantime, Bishop Nicholas’s brotherhood consisted of two hieromonks and a hierodeacon, who all lived in the podvorye and provided pastoral care for the three London churches. 47 The Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Prince Meshchersky, and the Volkovoi and Ampenov families greatly supported the clergy. (Abbess Elizabeth, the former superior of the Gorny Convent (Ein Karem) in Palestine, and the current abbess of the London Convent of the Annunciation is from the Ampenov family.)

Parish life quickly stabilized; in 1930, a summer school for children was opened, which was attended by some 40 to 50 children. At the church, a sisterhood was established, headed by the Grand Duchess Xenia. In addition to charitable works, the sisterhood labored amongst the English populace to deepen knowledge of Russian history and culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the situation of religion in the Soviet Union, by means of lectures.

Bishop Nicholas headed the London community for a mere three years. In the summer of 1932, he traveled to Karlovtsy to participate in the Council of Bishops. At the end of the Council, he died at the age of only 40 from appendicitis. On his deathbed, he wrote to the London community, exhorting them to persevere in the true Faith. He implored them to maintain the podvorye and appointed Father Anatole the head of the small monastery. 48 The community fulfilled his wish. After the War, Archimandrite Vitalis’s monastic brotherhood settled there. Thereafter, it served for some time as the residence of the superior of the English communities. Today there is also a chapel dedicated to Saint Gregory the Dialogist for the English-speaking Orthodox.

Until the end of World War II, church life was practically confined to the London congregation. Father Boris Molchanoff took over the direction of the parish in 1933, then Father Michael Polsky, followed by Archimandrite Vitalis in 1948. Archimandrite Vitalis was appointed because, after 1945, the Russian colony in England grew significantly. In 1948, 10,000 Russians are supposed to have lived in England, most of whom finding work in the industrial areas of the Midlands and the north of England. 49 The London parish also greatly increased. It had 1,000 faithful; the next largest community was in Bradford, with 800 faithful.

The six parishes outside London were all established after World War II. This also holds true for both of the English-speaking parishes, which are located in London and Bath. In Barton-on-Sea (southern England) there is a small home for the elderly, which originally housed refugees from Harbin and the displaced persons camp in Trieste. 50

After Archimandrite Vitalis took over the administration of the communities in England, a brotherhood of monks again lived at Bishop Nicholas’s podvorye. They set up a small printing press, which began publishing journals and books. The printing press existed for only a brief time because Archimandrite Vitalis with the Brotherhood moved to Brazil.

His successor was Bishop Nathaniel, who was also responsible for the parishes in Holland. For this reason, he bore the title of Bishop of Preston and the Hague.

In 1953, the Synod decided to establish a vicariate in England. Bishop Nicodemus took over the administration in 1954, with the title Bishop of Preston, then from 1957 with the title Bishop of Richmond. In 1963, the vicariate became an independent diocese, and the parishes in England were separated from the Western European Diocese, to which they had belonged since 1928. Under Bishop Nicodemus, parish life of the Church Abroad’s faithful was noticeably strengthened. After the London community lost Saint Philip’s Church in 1955, it remained at the All Saints Church in the aforementioned podvorye. In 1959, the community consecrated a new church, located in a former Scottish Presbyterian Church in the SW7 section of London. It was dedicated, like the earlier church, to the Dormition of the Mother of God. The new church was adorned with icons from Saint Philip’s Church, which the parish had had to share with the Moscow Patriarchal Church from 1945, at which time the community, which had been under Metropolitan Eulogius, separated from the Paris Group. The Patriarchal Church was able to obtain another church from the Church of England. Both communities received these properties on a lease, as a temporary measure. The Patriarchal parish succeeded in buying their church outright in the 1970s and now has it as their permanent center.

For the Church Abroad in England, the most significant event took place in 1959. After two years of preparation, the Convent of the Annunciation was consecrated in Brondesbury Park, London (NW6). Since then, the convent has been under the direction of Abbess Elizabeth (Ampenova), and has contributed to the spiritual life of the Church Abroad’s communities in London and England. There are six nuns at the convent, who were once active in caring for the sick and elderly and in educating the emigre children. Since 1954, there has been a Saturday school. By 1964, the nuns had graduated 84 children, including a dozen or so children from Protestant and Catholic families, who had converted to Orthodoxy. 51 For the faithful of London and England, the convent has been a custodian of Russian traditions. The nuns, of whom only Mother Elizabeth is Russian by birth (the rest are Arabs), all speak fluent Russian and English.

Mother Elizabeth who, with a part of the sisterhood, had left the Ein Karem Convent for London after the latter was given to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, made it her task to inform the English through lectures about the true situation of the Church and the faithful in the Soviet Union. This task seemed to her to be of the greatest importance because the Patriarchate has had a parish in London since 1945. On account of the existing official relations between the Patriarchal Church and the Church of England, this parish strongly influenced the formation of opinions in English church circles on the religious situation in the Soviet Union. Mother Elizabeth dealt with this during her speaking tours. 52

Missionary work among the English has been successful. The English Orthodox community, which has two churches, includes some 500 faithful, an English priest, Fr. Yves Dubois, and a hierodeacon.


  1. Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche: Einrichtungen, p. 148.
  2. Volkmann, p. 5.
  3. Ibid., p. 6.
  4. Russische Orthodoxe Kirche: Einrichtungen, pp. 150-153; Dneprov, “Pod krylom” in JMP (1955) 8, pp. 66-76; Nikolai, “Vo Frantsii” in JMP (1945) 10,pp.14-25; Idem., “V Angliyu” in JMP (1945) 8, pp. 27-52. On the Patriarchal parishes in Western Europe, cf. the articles in StdO (1968) 5, pp. 17-20; 9, pp. 8-16; (1969) 1, pp. 8-12; 5, pp. 43-44; (1971) 6, pp. 16-18; (1973) 6, pp. 23-24.
  5. JMP (1945) 10, pp. 14-25.
  6. The numbers fluctuated constantly because the parishes were always changing jurisdictions.
  7. Cf. Parts I and II.
  8. Manuchina, Evlogy, p. 603.
  9. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 7, pp. 37-40.
  10. Ibid., p.40; Tserk. Ved. (1924) 9-10, p. 13; 23-24, p. 3.
  11. Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 418-419.
  12. Ibid., pp. 423-425; Metropolit Vladimir, pp. 40-41.
  13. Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 428-431.
  14. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 7, pp. 164-169.
  15. Ibid., pp. 169-177.
  16. Ibid., pp. 235-237.
  17. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 6: ECR (1970), pp. 110-112; (1973) pp. 79-80.
  18. Tserk. Zhizn’ (1967) 1-12, pp. 2-6; Prav. Rus’ (1967) 2, p. 12.
  19. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 6.
  20. Synodal archives, File 1/65.
  21. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 7, p. 236; Tserk. Zhizn´ (1935) 2, p. 33; Spisok (1981) pp. 23-25. In the same time frame, the number of parishes in the Paris Jurisdiction declined constantly. Whereas there were 75 parishes in this jurisdiction in 1926, in 1971 only 60 parishes belonged to the Paris Jurisdiction. This group lost most of its communities in Europe and North Africa outside of France, while numerous parishes joined the Patriarchal Church.
  22. Prav. Rus’ (1970) 9, p. 13; (1972) 21, p. 15.
  23. Tserk Zhizn´ (1934) 2, p. 31; Prav. Rus’ (1948) 23, pp. 13-14; (1965) 15, p. 11; (1967) pp. 12-13.
  24. Ibid. (1948) 7, p. 15.
  25. Prav. Rus´ (1953) 21, pp. 14-15.
  26. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1146-1151; Prav. Rus´ (1959) 11, p. 14; (1977) 22, pp. 15-16.
  27. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1132-1143.
  28. Prav. Rus’ (1935) 5, p. 6.
  29. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1154-1178; Anastasius, Sbornik, pp. 74-79, 111-112.
  30. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2:1128-1133; Vestnik Zapadno-Evropeiskoi Eparkhii (1980) 15, p. 33.
  31. Prav. Rus’ (1954) 1, p. 13.
  32. Tserk. Zhizn´ (1937) 4-5, pp. 74-75.
  33. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, p. 1100.
  34. Tserk. Zhizn´ (1954) 1-2, pp. 31-32; Prav. Rus’ (1971) 3, pp. 13-14.
  35. Prav. Rus’ (1949) 23, p. 12; (1950) 4, p. 15; (1951) 13, pp. 10-11; Vladimirsky kalendar’ (1952) pp. 156-162.
  36. Prav. Rus´ (1967) 2, p. 10.
  37. Ibid. (1949) 24, p. 19; (1950) 1, p. 15.
  38. Ibid. (1949) 2, p. 15.
  39. Seide, Klöster im Ausland; Russ. Prav. Ts. 2: 1101-1113.
  40. Metropolit Vladimir, p. 220.
  41. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1117-1118.
  42. Tserk. Zhizn´ (1948) 1, pp. 46-48; Prav. Rus’ (1977) 14, p. 16.
  43. Der Christlichen Osten (1964) 1, pp. 26-27; Prav. Rus´ (1954) 8, pp. 14-15.
  44. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1076-1089; Prav. Rus’ (1957) 22, pp. 4-11.
  45. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1039-1040.
  46. Echos d’Orient (1930) p. 116; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 7, pp. 272-275.
  47. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 7, p. 277.
  48. Ibid., 5, pp. 275-276.
  49. Prav. Rus´ (1950) 3, p. 15.
  50. Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1072-1074.
  51. Prav. Rus´(1957) 7, p. 13; (1958), p. 14.
  52. Seide, Kloster im Ausland; Russ. Prav. Ts. 2, pp. 1046-1065.

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