Russian Orthodox Diocese of Chersonese

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The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Chersonese or Diocese of Kors(o)un, headquartered in Paris, France, is a diocese of the Church of Russia in Western Europe. Its current primate is His Grace Bishop Nestor (Sirotenko) of Korsun or Chersonese. (Chersonese is an ancient city in the Crimea, founded by Greek colonists in the fourth century BC. According to the tradition of the Church, in this city, Prince Vladimir decided to become a Christian, opening a new page in the history of Russia.)

Russian Orthodox Diocese of Chersonese
Jurisdiction Russia
Diocese type Diocese
Founded 1931
Current bishop Nestor (Sirotenko)
See(s) Paris
Headquarters Paris, France
Territory Western Europe (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland)
Liturgical language(s) Church Slavonic, French
Musical tradition Russian Chant
Calendar Julian
Population estimate unknown
Official website Diocese of Chersonese


The origin of the diocese goes back to the exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate in Western Europe, just after the Russian revolution in 1917, chaired by Metropolitan Euloge (Guéorguievski). Because of many problems with the Soviet controlled Mother Church, Metropolitan Euloge requested autocephalous status from Moscow, but was denied. Metropolitan Euloge did not believe that he and his flock were in the same situation as the refugees of the Karlovtsy Synod, he was looking for what he could see as a canonical solution to the situation.

In 1931, Metropolitan Euloge temporarily left the Moscow Patriarchate and reluctantly joined the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Orthodox who remained loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1931 founded the parish of the Three Holy Hierarchs (Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologianand John Chrysostom). Among its founders were Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenkov), the theologian Vladimir Lossky, hiéromoine Athanasius (Netchaev). An important role in the founding of new exarchate was played by the Fraternity of St. Photius, it was chaired by Vladimir Lossky until 1931 .

In January 1931, the Moscow Patriarchate, then subjected to unprecedented persecution from the Soviet authorities, appointed Eleutherius (Bogoïavlenski) Metropolitan of Vilnius in place of Metropolitan Euloge. In March of that year, Bishop Benjamin became auxiliary bishop of the diocese and rector of the church of the Three Holy Hierarchs, which became in 1946 the headquarters of the new exarch of the Moscow patriarchate in France.

In 1945, about a year before his death, the Metropolitan Euloge returned with all its parishes within the Russian Orthodox Church and again became exarch of the Moscow patriarchate. However, after Euloge's death in 1946, Metropolitan Seraphin (Loukianov) was appointed the new exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate. A large number of parishes, contesting Archbishop Seraphin, again broke from the mother Church. These parishes have spawned the current exarchate of the Russian parishes in Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Today's Diocese of Chersonese, strictly speaking, was born in the late 1980s as the heir of the exarchate of Western Europe.


The Diocese of Chersonese includes the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Portugal. Its current seat is the Three Holy Hierarchs' Church in Paris, France, but planning for the construction of a large cathedral in central Paris in cooperation with the Russian and French governments is underway. In addition to the parishes, monasteries, and chapels under its care the Diocese of Korsun also operates a theological seminary in Épinay-sous-Sénart, France.


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