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

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Parish of Saint Nicolas in Toulouse

In 1929, a group of Russian youth gathered around two priests: Fr. Vladimir Aisov and Fr. Nikolai Lapshin. Together, they decide to implement an ambitious project - to create an Orthodox parish in Toulouse, a city that knows nothing about Orthodoxy.

Thus, the first Orthodox community began to emerge, which, by God's grace, became a multinational center of Orthodoxy in this region. Throughout its history, the parish has been under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of the Orthodox Russian Churches in Western Europe.

Father Nikolai Shukshin (after the death of his wife takes monastic vows with the name Serapion) plays an important role in the creation of Orthodox parishes in our region, including Toulouse. With regard to Toulouse, we know that on June 23, 1929, Fr. Vladimir Aisov holds a council of 16 founders of the parish in honor of St. Nicholas the Pleasant. Services are held in a building provided by the "Agricultural Society" located at 9 Ozenne Street.

After some time, the young hieromonk Leonid Krol came to Toulouse. Fr. Leonidas succeeds in uniting local emigrants and rallying the community, which moves into a garage equipped for worship, located in the St Georges quarter on Rue Rispa 4. Soon after his arrival, Fr. Leonid fell seriously ill and in 1936 moved to Montaban, where he served in the chapel in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow". In Toulouse, he is replaced by Priest Fyodor Postavy, who will remain here until his death in 1946. Since the 60s, a large number of Greeks and Serbs have come to Toulouse, filling our parish and taking an active part in its life. The Diocesan Council, by its decision on March 8, 1963, allows divine services to be held in three languages: French, Slavic and Greek. In addition, one representative from the Greek and Serbian communities is elected to the parish council. In 1972 we moved again, this time to the crypt of the Church of St. Oban, generously provided by the Catholic priest Gerard Dessol. Here the life of the parish will take place under the wise guidance of the above-mentioned Fr. Leonid Krol, who went to the Lord in 1982.

In 1987, a new breath opens in the life of the parish, associated with the arrival of a new priest, Fr. Andrew Wade. Under his pastoral leadership, joint efforts, with the financial support of the Archdiocese, parishioners, among whom it is necessary to highlight Sergei Rogozin, Stephen Zherebtsov, Vasily Solnichkin, who took the initiative, the parish buys a house and turns it into a magnificent temple. The iconostasis presented to your attention was made and donated to the temple by the icon painter and artist Jacques Baduy.

The Providence of God brought thousands of Russian people to France. They were forced to leave their homeland, but when they arrived in a foreign land, they brought with them their culture, traditions and history and, above all, the Orthodox faith, which here in the West is of interest to many. The face of our parish has changed over the course of its development. From the native Russian, as it was at the beginning of its appearance, it became universal, opening its doors to everyone whose Christian life is associated with Orthodoxy.