Chișinău, Moldova, December 26, 2017
In turn, the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia has affirmed that it is open to dialogue, reports canal2.md.
“We have an Orthodox Church in Moldova, but as there is a Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, we would like to hold negotiations, to dialogue together with their hierarchs, with their priests, to talk about canonical Church life,” Met. Vladimir stated.
His Eminence also emphasized that he had a similar conversation last week with several leaders of the Orthodox world in Moscow, during the celebrations for the centenary of the restoration of the Russian patriarchate.
“I met with His Beatitude Daniel, with the venerable Archbishop and Metropolitan Nifon Târgoviște, speaking about how it would be good to hold a dialogue, because we are Orthodox, and they are Orthodox, and also about the need for good relations and fraternity between us,” Met. Vladimir said.
The Metropolitanate of Bessarabia welcome the openness to dialogue, while insisting that that only canonical institution in Moldova should be the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia.
“From the very beginning, in 1992, we have said that we are open for dialogue. We represent the same Orthodox Church, we are two separate structures, one belonging to Moscow, and we belong to the Romanian Patriarchate, but we can and should cooperate in this sphere,” stated Bishop Anthony of Orhei, vicar of Bessarabia.
Vlad Cubreacov, who fought for the recognition of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, and who represented the Archdiocese to the European Court of Human Rights, argues that there is a conflict of spheres of influence.
“There is no conflict among the faithful. The conflict has a geo-spiritual character. That is, the conflict is between Moscow and us. The Metropolitanate of Bessarabia is equivalent to the independence of the Republic of Moldova,” said Cubreacov, the chairman of the Răsăritul Românesc association.
From the beginning of the 19th century, when Bessarabia became part of the Russian Empire, the Orthodox parishes in its territory were under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church. The Metropolitanate of Bessarabia was created in 1918 when these lands became part of Romania. It was disbanded by the Soviet regime in 1944.
On the basis of the law on religions, part of the clergy and faithful of Moldova formed an association, and on September 14, 1992 they held a meeting in Chișinău on the restoration of the activities of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, following the proclamation of independence of the Republic of Moldova. Bishop Peter (Paduraru) of Bălți, who had defected from the Moscow Patriarchate, was appointed the acting head of the Metropolitanate. A delegation of clergy was sent to Bucharest to ask the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church to accept the new Metropolia of Bessarabia under the canonical jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate, as it had been after 1918.
While the Moscow Patriarchate considered the revival of the Bessarabian Church uncanonical, Eucharistic communion between Moscow and Bucharest was never interrupted.