Orthodox churches in France gather orthodox episcopacies of Antiochian, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Georgian patriarchies as well as orthodox eparchies in the territory of France.
The Orthodox Church in France unites Orthodox Christians all over France no matter which eparchy they belong to, because eparchy within Orthodox Christianity is never seen as uniformity, but diversity in expression, which is true fortune. Diversity in expression results in the diversity of communities and parishes of different traditions within the Orthodox Church, each with its own experiences, characteristics and tradition, which are definitely a source of fortune for all. Olivier Cleman perfectly illustrated this in his book Retrospective of Orthodox Presence in France.
The creation of a permanent conference of Orthodox bishops of France in 1967 under the presiding of metropolitan Meletius, in the time of exile of the Orthodox patriarch, was the beginning of this process of coming together. Cooperation was improved and expanded in 1997 with the establishment of the Assemblyof Orthodox Bishops of France. This represented a significant move in pan-orthodox cooperation between Orthodox churches around Europe and the world.
Besides relationships that Orthodox eparchies in France maintain with other Christian communities as well as other religions, the Orthodox conference has been recognized by other institutions as being an official representative for cooperation and representation of Orthodox Christians in France.
Some of the Orthodox churches in France
Serbian Orthodox monastery in Bourgoin
This Serbianmonastery in the region of Bourgoin was established in 1989 by Monk Luc, a former Parisian iconography professor who, with the help of a few students, restored over the period of several years a parish chapel that originates from a 15th century castle. The monastery is rich in colors and icons, and often visited by tourists. The monastery covers five acres of land and has its own spring. This religious center is witness to the past and stability of religion, both Orthodox and Catholic.
Since 1992 this monastery has been listed on the heritage list in France, and its accurate location is: Monastereorthodoxe St. Hilare – St. Jean Damascene 71190 Ucon.
It has been established as a female monastery in 2008, and currently two female monks live there. The monastery has its own chapel, three iconographic ateliers, a library, 10 monk rooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a shop.
Lion Orthodox Church
There was no parish or priests in Lion or on the entire south of the France for the last 30 years – until just a few years ago. But this is changing with the new priest Luke and his family, who are determined to revive the Orthodox community in this region.
Strasbourg Orthodox Church
Priest Peter arrived to Strasbourg a few years ago to spread and revive Orthodox Christianity there. He says that his mission is easier in this region than in the south of France. He says that with God’s help and with the arrival of his colleague Luke, Orthodox Christianity will manage to establish itself again in Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Montpellier and more.
The Orthodox Church doesn’t have a long tradition in France. It has started to establish itself more in the last few decades, with the arrival of newcomers of the Orthodox origin. The primary problem is for the members to maintain active in the church and devoted to practicing religion, especially the younger generations that don’t speak the same native language as their parents and don’t devote much time to “old” customs and religion.