Russian patriot receives request for change of jurisdiction from Lithuanian church

In a statement posted on its website, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church announced that the nine-member commission would be headed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

The request for change was submitted by elements of the Lithuanian church who were unhappy with Cyril’s support for the Russian-led invasion on February 24.

“We decided to form a commission to consider the issue of amending the law of the Diocese of Vilnius-Lithuania,” the report said, adding that its findings would be submitted to the “Bishops’ Conference.”

The Russian organization TASS reports that the Lithuanian diocese belongs to the Moscow Patriots and unites churches and monasteries on the territory of Lithuania.

Vladislav Sipin, a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy, one of the members of the commission, said the transfer of the diocese to the jurisdiction of Constantinople was not in question.

Sibin acknowledged that the Lithuanian Church of the Russian Orthodox Church could be granted autonomous status, as in Estonia and Latvia.

In these two Baltic countries, he told TASS, 20 to 30 percent of the national population is Orthodox, but in Lithuania there are Orthodox Belarusians and Russians.

“There is no particular logic for the diocese to have autonomous church status,” Sibin said.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonide, in a letter to patriot Bartholomew of Constantinople, supported the request for a change of appointment.

“The general support of the Moscow patriot Cyril for Russia’s war against Ukraine is unacceptable to some Lithuanian Orthodox Christians, therefore, according to the Prime Minister, it is natural and human. […] They have the right to practice their faith without compromising their conscience,” Simonite spokeswoman BNS said, citing The Baltic Times.

In the letter, Simonit said he was ready to meet with Bartholomew to discuss the government’s possible role in restoring “Thai Church” activities in Lithuania, according to a spokesperson.

Simonite said in the letter that the Eastern tradition is the second largest traditional religion in Lithuania and that her community has grown with the arrival of more than 50,000 Ukrainian refugees.

“Only the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople can decide whether to restore the church or parishes of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to Lithuania,” the spokesperson said.

“The Lithuanian government will engage in this process to the extent necessary to guarantee the freedom of faith, conscience and religion enshrined in Article 26 of the Constitution for all Lithuanian citizens,” he added.

According to the newspaper, the letter from the Lithuanian Prime Minister was delivered to Barthélemy on May 18 by the Lithuanian Ambassador to Turkey, Ricardos Decudis.

This decision was not supported by the head of the Lithuanian Orthodox diocese, Innocencio, who criticized the government for unknowingly funding the request.

According to Innocent, the majority of Lithuanian Orthodox Christians do not think about changing jurisdictions.

The head of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church has already sacked five priests who criticized the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for the invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin.

Innocent accused the Orthodox clergy of calling for the transfer of power to Constantinople, a threat to the stability of Lithuanian society.

The Lithuanian Orthodox Church, one of the nine traditional religious communities in Lithuania, has 2.7 million followers in the Baltic, 5% of whom are mostly Catholics.

Cyril, who has close ties to the Kremlin, in his speeches called on Russians to strengthen their ties with the Kremlin and the Russian military in the holy war against the “Antichrist”, who represents the Ukrainian government and Western partisans .

The Russian patriot promoted the idea of ​​a “Russian world” which would include places where the Russian language was spoken and practiced the Orthodox faith and should become Moscow’s sphere of influence, regardless of international borders, in a messianic mission protection from the Russians. . Russians their traditional values.

Just today, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTS) announces its separation from the Moscow Patriarchate because of its open support for Russian “special military action” in Ukraine.

“We express our disagreement with the position of the Moscow patriot Cyril on the war in Ukraine,” the UPTS statement read on its website.

That is why the UPTS Council decided today to declare “full autonomy and independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”.

“The Council urges the Ukrainian and Russian authorities to continue the negotiation process and find a strong and sensible word to stop the bloodshed,” he added.

Thelma J. Longworth