Orthodox Church of Lithuania seeks greater independence from Moscow Patriarchate

Interfax (30.05.2022) – https://bit.ly/3m3xTjN – Metropolitan Innokenty of Vilnius and Lithuania has asked the Moscow Patriarchate to grant his eparchy a special, more independent status.


The press service of the Orthodox Church of Lithuania said in a statement that this would be more like autonomy.


Metropolitan Innokenty described the address to the Moscow Patriarchate as a historic event. The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church accepted his request for consideration. On May 27, the Synod decided to set up a commission to address the Lithuanian issue.


This would essentially mean bringing the status of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania in line with reality, as its hierarchs actually make all decisions independently today, Metropolitan Innokenty said.


“Our church does not pertain to Moscow or Russia but to Lithuania. All of its administrative decisions are made in Lithuania. In the complete absence of any financial ties with the Moscow Patriarchate, we’re preserving the canonical and prayerful connection to the Mother Church and remain devoted to the traditions of Russian Orthodox piety,” he said


The Orthodox Church of Lithuania currently enjoys the canonical status of an eparchy. The status of an independent church may be granted under the patriarchal tomos in accordance with a decision of a local council


The Orthodox Church is one of nine traditional religious communities in Lithuania. It has the status of the Moscow Patriarchate’s metropolitanate.


Metropolitan Innokenty earlier dismissed several Orthodox priests after they criticized Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and expressed desire to split from the Moscow Patriarchate for this reason. The priests say that they have been persecuted for their dissenting views. However, the Lithuanian Orthodox community’s leaders deny this, stating that the Orthodox Church of Lithuania also condemned Russia’s actions, saying that those clerics divide the community and neglect their vows and other canons.


Photo : © Saint-Petersburg Theological Academy