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HomeBalkansMoldova’s Main Orthodox Church Rules Out Cutting Russia Ties

Moldova’s Main Orthodox Church Rules Out Cutting Russia Ties

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The Metropolitanate, or Metropolis, of Moldova, the main Orthodox Church in the country and one canonically subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, on Thursday rejected a request to transfer to the Romanian Patriarchate submitted by a group of priests in the capital, Chisinau.

The vicar bishop of the Metropolitanate, Ioan Mosnegutu, declared after the end of a meeting of clergy and abbots that the Church would maintain its current status and will not discuss accession to the Romanian Patriarchate.

“During the meeting, a decision was adopted according to which the Orthodox Church of Moldova maintains its current status. The clergy and the people remain faithful to Moldova’s Orthodox Church and His Holiness, Vladimir. Discussions on the accession of the Orthodox Church of Moldova to the Romanian Patriarchate will not be initiated,” he stated.

A group of priests from the Archdiocese of Chisinau, led by Pavel Borsevschi, had addressed a letter to Metropolitan Vladimir asking him to initiate the process of passing the Metropolitanate to the jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate. The main reason they cited for switching allegiance to the Romanian-linked Church was “the unjust and treacherous war that Russia is waging in Ukraine”.

Vlad Cubreacov, formerly of the rival Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, which is subordinate to the Romanian Church, on Tuesday said that the proposal of Archpriest Borsevschi “will not pass”.

“The Russian Metropolitanate is in agony and desperately seeks to survive under the leadership of Bucharest, to which it would like to impose conditions,” Cubreacov wrote on Facebook. But “the … plan … is subversive and will not pass,” he added.

Thirteen churches from different districts of Moldova switched last week from the Metropolinate of Moldova to the Metropolis of Bessarabia. Next week, their parishioners will receive re-registration documents from the Public Services Agency. More than 60 priests have defected to the Metropolis of Bessarabia since the start of the war waged by Russia in Ukraine.

The Metropolis of Moldova has over 1,000 churches and monasteries in Moldova and remains by far the largest Church in the country. The Metropolis of Bessarabia has over 250 churches.

Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova sent a letter to the Russian Patriarch Kirill on September 5, which has yet to receive an answer, complaining of growing questions about the war in Ukraine.

In this letter, Metropolitan Vladimir accused Kirill of abandoning him and leaving him unable to stop the rise of the Metropolis of Bessarabia, which is supported both by the Romanian Orthodox Church and by the political authorities in Romania and Moldova.

Vladimir wrote that, because of the Russian attack on “brothers of the same [Orthodox] faith in Ukraine”, the Metropolis of Moldova is perceived as a backer of the war blessed by Patriarch Kirill himself.

The Church in Moldova has a tangled history. For centuries it was governed from Constantinople, until Tsarist Russia annexed Moldova in 1812, when jurisdiction was switched to Moscow. Between the two world wars, when Moldova was part of Romania, it was run by the Romanian Patriarchate. But the Russian Church regained control after the USSR annexed Moldova in the 1940s. The Metropolis was Bessarabia was only activated after Moldova gained independence in the 1990s.

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