Brussels, June 22, 2015
The Russian Orthodox Archbishopric of Brussels and Belgium, while being a canonical branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, is, however, a subject of Belgian law, the Russian Orthodox Church's Diocese of Belgium and Brussels said.
The Archbishopric was registered in 1937 and has existed since then in compliance with a royal decree and with the laws of the Kingdom of Belgium, it said in a statement.
The statement was released after the Archbishopric of Brussels and Belgium was entered on a list of organizations, whose assets are to be recovered or seized by court bailiffs in favor of Yukos Universal Limitedpursuant to a court ruling against the Russian Federation.
In fact, it is a Belgian Orthodox organization which maintains church and canonical links with the Moscow Patriarchate (the Russian Orthodox Church), and which was recognized in 1985 as an official state confession of the Kingdom of Belgium, the statement says.
Therefore, legally, the Archbishopric of Brussels and Belgium is not connected with any other states besides the Kingdom of Belgium, whether the Russian Federation or any other country, it says.
The church and canonical links to the Moscow Patriarchate cannot serve as a justification for laying any financial, or ownership claims along the lines of the Russian state, given that Church is constitutionally separated from State in the Russian Federation, and that the Patriarchate's jurisdiction de-facto applies to a multitude of independent states, among them Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, and also Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and other states, according to the statement.
The Archbishopric does not own and has never owned any property belonging the Russian Federation, the statement says.
All of its constituent parishes are Belgian public organizations, run, as a rule, by citizens of the Kingdom of Belgium, while their property has the status of private, or public property of these organizations, acquired in accordance with Belgian laws and on donations provided by religious citizens of Belgium and other countries, the document says.
In view of the above, the statement says, the Archbishopric of Brussels and Belgium rejects all possible claims on the part of the court executive agencies and expresses its resolute protest against its entry on a list of state organizations of the Russian Federation. It is confident that the entry of the name of the Archbishopric on this list is a misunderstanding and a consequence of an unfortunate mistake, the statement says.