Communiqué from the Diocesan Office on the meeting of the Archdiocesan Council held on 4th December 2012

1. Archbishop Gabriel’s state of health

Archbishop Gabriel informed the members of the Council about the development of his state of health, which remains a preoccupation and requires, his doctors tell us, the greatest possible amount of rest. This means the easing, as far as is possible, of his administrative and liturgical responsibilities. Archbishop Gabriel has indicated the need to await the results of coming medical tests, expected in January, and he has asked everyone to pray for him. The members of the Council have assured Archbishop Gabriel, in the name of all the clergy and the faithful, of their prayers and support. They have also decided to write to his Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, asking what practical help can be given to Archbishop Gabriel in his archpastoral duties.

2. Report of the Pastoral Assembly

The Pastoral Assembly met on 1st November 2012 at the Saint Sergius Institute in Paris. The Eucharistic Liturgy and the work of the Assembly was chaired by Father Jean Gueit, the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council. Archbishop Gabriel, for health reasons, was present for only part of the day. The morning session was devoted to the presentation and discussion of a declaration proposed by the Archdiocesan Council concerning the situation and future of the Archdiocese. This amended declaration will be submitted for agreement to the next Diocesan Assembly. The afternoon session was given over to papers and discussions concerning questions of liturgical practice associated with the celebration of the Nativity of Christ (paper by Fr Nicolas Rehbinder) and of the experience of ecumenical encounters (paper by Fr Jean Gueit).
3. Forthcoming visit by the Ecumenical Patriarch

Archbishop Gabriel informed the Diocesan Council about the visit to France of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1st in the second week of December 2012. The Patriarch will travel first to Cannes and Nice and will then come to Paris to meet with the French civil authorities. Despite having a very full programme during this visit to Paris, the Patriarch has made known his intention to visit the Cathedral of St Alexander Nevsky, which kept the 150th anniversary of its consecration last year and of which the work on the restoration of the interior is now fully completed. But the Patriarch’s full programme is not yet arranged, and it is not possible to say whether this visit, probably on 11th December, will be official or private.

4. Preparation of the 2013 AGO

The next Ordinary General Assembly (AGO) is planned for Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th May 2013 at St-Serge and in a nearby meeting-room, as the number of delegates expected being too great for the use of the Institute’s rooms. The Council has examined the points that need to be brought up in the agenda of this AGO and has discussed the necessity of summoning an Extraordinary Diocesan Assembly in order to modify the Diocesan Statutes concerning the method of electing auxiliary bishops.

5. The Diocesan House at Bussy-en-Othe

The archdiocese possesses a small house in Bussy-en-Othe, opposite the Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God. The diocese does not have the use of this house, which is in practice used by the monastery to house nuns or visitors. The monastery has asked to become the legal owner of this house, and to take over its maintenance from the diocese. The Council of the Archdiocese agrees to this in principle, but the way of bringing this about, both legal and fiscal, must be further clarified.