You may be surprised about the future of the Rue Daru Exarchate. An editorial in Orthodox England notes:
Won't happend: there is a difference between those in France (and elsewhere for that matter) between those who support the idea of the extension of the Patriarchate of Moscow and those who support the localization of the Church. As long as the Phanar doesn't become too overbearing and lets its non-Greek ghettos to their own divices, it will provide the vehicle of the latter, while the former will serve as the vehicle of Moscow, feeding on and contributing to the New Rome-Third Rome rivalry.
Well pan-Orthodox unity is of course the desire of all. Now that the Russian Church Abroad is under the omophorion of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I for one hope that the Paris Exarchate returns to the fold of the Mother Russian Church - whether via the Church Abroad or direct to the Patriarchate. This could be a significant step towards the unity of all Orthodox in Western Europe and the diaspora.
The 12th All Diaspora Russian Youth Conference was opened in Paris by His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, representative of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. Primatial blessings were sent by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, and clergy and youth of the Russian Exarchate ('Paris jurisdiction') attended the opening ceremony alongside their ageing (and only serving) bishop, Archbishop Gabriel of Koman. To see photos of the opening, including the wonderous Kursk Mother of God, patron of the diaspora, and to read the First Hierarch's address, please see:It is, although I don't see unity of the Russian diaspora happening outside Panorthodox unity in Western Europe.
Perhaps the participation of the Russian Exarchate heralds a new dawn of unity for the Russian Church in Western Europe. With a new cathedral being built and new seminary, set to house students from all over western Europe and beyond, this is indeed a great opportunity for the Exarchate.
It's going to be interesting to see how this parallel jurisdictions-a world wide ROCOR, a Church by definition outside its jurisdiction, and direct Russian Dioceses like Sorouzh (i.e. Great Britain), Komoun (i.e. France), Canada and the US (i.e. the Patriarchal parishes)-is going to work out.
The Russian Orthodox Church is already taking back its Church properties in France. It is now only a question of time before the small and weak Patriarchate of Constantinople, ever more politically dependent on Moscow for support against Turkey, releases the Rue Daru group from its jurisdiction. Then it will send it back (together with other Orthodox parishes poached into its jurisdiction, as in Estonia) to the Russian Church. http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/reconf.htm
He's dreaming. He's entitled to dream, but that is what he is doing. The reference to Estonia underlines that.
The Phanar has struck a deal with local interests independent of it. In Estonia, the state and the nation as a whole have decided they have vested interest in keeping Moscow out, whether the President or Patriarch of Russia. Ironically, when that happened, the Patriarch of Moscow at the time was eligible for Estonian citizenship (a third of Estonian residents at the time were not). If the Phanar released them, they wouldn't come running to Russia. And Estonia, with the highest GNP of the foremer Soviet states, NATO and EU membership, won't make them.
With only one non-retired bishop, the Archbishop Gabriel, one small monastery and no apparent enthusiasm of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to see new episcopal life breathed into the ailing Exarchate, would reunion with the Mother Church - now that the reasons for separation have ended, as ROCOR recognised in 2005-2006 be so bad?
The fact that they took this to court means they answer that in the affirmative.