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

Listes des autres pages paroisses

Page information


The Orthodox Church of Troyes was founded at the beginning of the 20th century, with the arrival of the Russian emigration, fleeing the repercussions of the Revolution of 1917. White Russian émigrés, mostly Orthodox, came to Troyes to seek work in the textile industry, and initially attended worship services celebrated in improvised places by priests from Paris and Sens.

Mr. Roubatchev, engineer and technical director of the Clément Marot Teinturerie, where many Russian emigrants worked in the 1930s, made available to them a plot of workers' gardens, located next to the dyeing plant, rue de Chateaudun (overlooking the rue aux Moines), where a wooden chapel was built, which in fact was almost the size of a small cathedral. All the children of White Russians born at that time were baptized there. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during a bombing in August 1940 of the May 1 district.

After World War II, the Orthodox community grew as a result of a new wave of emigration. But they no longer had a church. From there, they had to use different host venues. The services were first celebrated in the catechism room of the Protestant Temple. Then, the Catholic Diocese lent a room in the Maison des Œuvres, located on Boulevard Victor Hugo.

In the 1970s, Wladimir Yagello (who was not yet a priest) took charge of the Parish. The offices were then celebrated at Notre-Dame en l'Isle (Troyes Seminary). The small chapel was located on the second floor, above the refectory of the Catholic priests. The liturgies took place there until June 13, 1999, with Father Marcel Forestier, who came from Dijon, then with Father Wladimir Yagello, ordained priest on January 2, 1994.

And the parish had to change location again. The Bishop Daucourt lent his personal chapel in the Diocese for two months until October 24, 1999; then, until February 17, 2000, the liturgies were held at the Parish House of St Martin. Finally, as of 26 March 2000, the Bishop Marc Stenger awarded us the Catholic Chapel of St. John the Baptist, on rue des Cumines where we currently are. Father André Krementzoff has been officiating there since October 12, 2003. The Sunday liturgy is celebrated once a month, preceded by Vespers, on Saturday afternoon.

Different nationalities are represented among the parishioners: Russian - especially since a third wave of emigration occurred in the 90s - Estonian, Serbian, Greek, Ukrainian, Belarusian ... The common language is French, which is used as the main language during worship. The community grows and participates in ecumenical activities. Friendship has long been established with Catholics and Protestants.

Ordinary services regularly bring together thirty to forty parishioners but, it is considered that more people are involved with the parish: the number can be much more important according to the periods, the circumstances, holidays, or on the occasion of special ceremonies such as christenings. Some agapes were attended by up to sixty people. Over the past ten years, it can be assumed that more than a hundred people have attended the parish more or less regularly (some parishioners live far from Troyes).

We can also assume that the absence of proper premises for the Orthodox community, also of a larger size, could have been a brake on an even greater development, if we take into account, for example, the large Serbo-Croatian communities. and Armenians of greater Troyes.

This “uncomfortable” situation may have found its solution: in 2016, Bishop Stenger offered to cede to us, by an emphyteutic lease free of charge, a Champagne barn located in St André les Vergers. The community accepted the offer, despite being aware of the transformation challenges and their cost. This building, classified as an historic monument, is now undergoing renovation. The roof has been redone and an Orthodox bulb has been installed. The interior arrangement should be completed in 2021. A dream is coming true, especially for the oldest of us, who have experienced the "nomadism" mentioned above.

This dream will not have come true by accident: it is the realization of the unwavering commitment, the high moral standing of the community, which accepted to take up the challenge, sparing no effort to organize fundraising events to fund the work. All were involved in participating in diocesan Catholic fairs (constant presence, making food for sale, etc.), lengthy preparations for ecumenical meals, or cleaning up the barn. Is it any wonder when we see the family spirit, the solidarity that unites us at every meeting, at every liturgy, at agapes, the happiness we experience when tasks have been completed? It is also a way of showing our affection to Father André and to thank him for the dedication and dynamism that characterize him, that carry us and give us the strength to undertake all this.

We are a large family with all age groups represented. This instills in us greater confidence in the future, for example, when new faces regularly appear at the liturgies. Hopefully, this new church will contribute to the ever-growing radiance of our Orthodox community.