THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF FRANCE

CANONICAL RESTORATION

United to the Church of the first centuries and to the Orthodox Churches of the East in the salutary dogmas, Western (Occidental) Orthodoxy results from the time of the undivided Church - before the schism of the XI century - when the West (Occident) and the East (Orient) confessed the same faith, known as that of Nicea-Constantinople.

The Orthodox Church of France owes the first steps of Her resurgence to the meeting of a number of Frenchmen who, having found the apostolic Christian sources, discovered Orthodoxy, and of Orthodox Russian emigres in France who, wishing to make known Orthodoxy with the French, discovered the Orthodox inheritance/patrimony of the West (Occident) of the first millennium.

The meeting between Louis-Charles Winnaert and Eugraph Kovalevsky was determining. Louis-Charles Winnaert, presented by Eugraph Kovalevsky to the patriarchate of Moscow, entered the Orthodox Church with his community which received the name of the Western Orthodox Church (Occidental Orthodox Church) (1936). Louis-Charles Winnaert received the name of Irenaeus and was named archimandrite.

On March 6, 1937, with death of Archimandrite Irenaeus, Eugraph Kovalevsky, through a prophetic spirit, was ordained to the sacred priesthood at the Church of the Three Holy Doctors in Paris by Metropolitan Eleutherius of the Moscow Patriarchal Church in Western Europe, and the Western Orthodox Church took the name of the Orthodox Church of France.

In 1946, part of the Russian emigration called in question the foundation of this French Church.

In 1956, the clergy and the faithful of the Orthodox Church of France refused to be assimilated into the diaspora and, in order to keep the identity of their French Church, broke with the Patriarchate of Moscow.

In 1960, Archbishop John of San Francisco (glorified in 1994 - by the Russian Church Abroad) examined the case of the work undertaken in the Orthodox Church of France, and recognized Her as well founded. In a concern for correctness, Archbishop John of San Francisco asked that the Orthodox Church of France call Herself, the Orthodox Catholic Church of France (L'ECOF - L'Eglise Catholique Orthodoxe de France).

On November 11, 1964, Father Eugraph Kovalevsky was consecrated by then Archbishop John of San Francisco, together with Bishop Theophil Ionescu of the Romanian Synond Abroad in the cathedral in San Francisco, bishop, taking the name of John of Saint-Denis. "Le sacre de Monseigneur Jean, évêque de Saint-Denis

In 1966, with the repose of Archbishop John of San Francisco, the synod of the Russian Church Abroad wanted to incorporate into its synod the French Church, which led the latter - for the same reasons as in 1956 with the Russian Patriarchal Church - to break with this synod.

In 1970, Bishop John of Saint-Denis reposed.

In 1972, the Archpriest Gilles Bertrand-Hardy, bishop-elect of the Orthodox Church of France, was consecrated bishop by the Church of Romania. The Synod of the Romanian Patriarchate renewed Western Orthodoxy when it established the Orthodox Catholic Church of France [L'Eglise Catholique Orthodoxe de France - L'ECOF] as an autonomous church by a synodical resolution on April 28, 1972. On June 11th of that same year, His Grace Bishop GERMAIN, who still heads the church, was consecrated bishop by three hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Nicholas of Banat, Bishop Antoine Ploesteanu (vicar bishop of the Patriarch), and Archbishop Theophilus of Sevres. (Though no longer under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate, the church continues the mission for which it was established.)

In 1993, yielding to the multiple pressures of the Churches of the emigration in France and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Church of Romania withdrew its canonical blessing and protection.

The Orthodox Church being a conciliar, non-centralizing, non-dominating Church, the Orthodox Church of France entrusts the study of its case to various Autocephales Orthodox Churches from whom She requests a blessing.

Translated November 1998
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