Lithuanian Orthodox Clergy Asks The State To Stop Interfering In Church Affairs

Country: Lithuania

Date of incident: July 13, 2022

Following the Russian occupation of Ukraine, a group of the clergy of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church started to work to introduce the Patriarchate of Constantinople into the country. The Lithuanian Orthodox Church is recognized as having canonical jurisdiction in Lithuania, which has caused animosity towards Orthodox Christians. Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and other Lithuanian authorities openly supported this initiative to move the jurisdiction to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In response to this, the Lithuanian Orthodox clergy and faithful appealed to President Gitanas Nausėda to stop meddling in Church matters.

Bishop Ambrose of Trakai, the vicar of the Vilnius Diocese, delivered the appeals, with the signatures of 7,317 laymen and 61 clerics, and met with two presidential advisors, informing them of the "diocese’s strong and unwavering condemnation of the war in Ukraine".

The appeals also stated deep concern about the unjustified attacks on the Church in Lithuania and support for the condemnation expressed by the Moscow Patriarchate’s diocese in Lithuania of the "fratricidal war in Ukraine". They further condemned the schism and reaffirmed their allegiance to the Church in Lithuania within the Moscow Patriarchate, appealing to the authorities to "prevent the escalation of religious and ethnic hatred" and " further incitement of religious hostility".

Views were also exchanged about the situation arising from the group of clerics who want to establish a parallel jurisdiction in Lithuania, with both parties agreeing that "state interference in religious affairs is unacceptable". The Bishop further addressed the Lithuanian Church’s wish to have more independence within the Moscow Patriarchate and his willingness to participate in the work of the Synodal Commission, which has already started studying that possibility.

The Lithuanian Church is facing a wave of vandalism, with numerous churches having been vandalized lately throughout the country, while problems with schismatic clergy continue.

Source and picture: Theparadise.ngOrthodox ChristianOrthodox Christianity