Centenary of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

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Parish of Christ the Savior, Asnières

The Parish of Christ the Savior was founded in 1932 in Asnières-sur-Seine, France and consecrated by Metropolitan Euloge (Georgiyevsky). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eulogius_Georgiyevsky

The first liturgy was celebrated by Father John Shahovskoy (born Prince Dimitry Shahovskoy) https://orthodoxwiki.org/John_(Shahovskoy)_of_San_Francisco (later Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America) on December 31, 1931. In March 1932, Father John was assigned to serve in Berlin, and Metropolitan Euloge appointed Hieromonk Methodius (Kuhlmann) as rector. Father Methodius was consecrated Bishop of Campania in 1953. He was Rector of the Parish until his death on April 13 1974, for almost forty-two years. During wartime, from 1940 to 1947, the Parish and Hieromonk Methodius reached out to the neediest by creating a committee for the poor and especially for those suffering from labor strikes, distributing clothes and free meals. Other undertakings linked to the Parish were the creation of a catechism and Russian classes.

Small parishes were setup linked to the Christ the Saviour church in Rueil and Colombes, as well as a shelter for elderly people in Rozay-en-Brie, and a health center staffed by volunteer physicians and nurses. Another memorable event was the purchase of the parish house in 1947 from Mrs. Fougery. The purchase was possible thanks to the personal donations of parishioners, but above all thanks to a very substantial anonymous donation that made the acquisition possible and afterwards provided funds for the remodeling and the construction of the new iconostasis. The icons were painted by Mrs. Tatiana Kossinsky – Mother Seraphima in monasticism. Many pilgrimages were organized to the Holy Land by Bishop Methodius from 1951. These continued for a long time after his passing away. After Bishop Methodius’ death, Father Alexander Rehbinder was assigned as Rector until his own death on December 19, 1981. Bishop, and later Archbishop George of Eudociade (Wagner) took over the leadership of the Parish. Archbishop George lived in the parish house from 1974 to his death on April 6, 1993. Since this date, several priests served, including Hieromonk Nestor (Sirotenko) now Archbishop of Madrid and Lisbon. The present rector for more than a year is Father Serge Ciolkovitch.

We should also mention, in this short history, the key role of the Church wardens and the Parish Council, thanks to whom the Parish survived until now, with a special mention of Mrs. Nadine Noïtaky, who was Church warden during 29 years, from 1974 to 2003. The Parish Choir was directed by Mr. George Lang from 1938 to 1960. Later on Mrs. Helen Vinitsky – Mother Evgenia in monasticism – directed it for twenty-five years, and now, from 1988 reader Cyril Vassilieff directs it. The stewardship of the Parish has rested on Mrs. Lydia Volkoff – Mother Nonna in monasticism – who was a military nurse during WWI. Mrs. Mary Jakovleff arrived in the Parish on January 1 1969, first to help Mother Nonna, then until her own passing on June 3, 2014.