Romanian hierarch defends Putin. He has the right to voice his personal views, says Patriarchate rep

Constanța, Romania, February 11, 2022

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According to one Romanian hierarch, Russian President Vladimir Putin is much better than people make him out to me, and has proved to be a great benefactor for the Church.

Hierarchs have the right to speak personally, without representing the Patriarchate itself, the Romanian Church’s spokesman commented after His Eminence Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis’ remarks proved controversial in the media.

Although Romanians tend to see Putin as a “villain,” “he’s not so dark as everyone makes him out to be,” the Archbishop said in a recent radio interview, reports Adevărul.

“He’s the greatest benefactor for the Holy Mountain and Jerusalem,” Abp. Teodosie said. And “in his own country, both Putin and Medvedev are benefactors. And I have followed in their footsteps and marveled at their sacrifice. And we judge them as evildoers.”

“Of course they have their sins,” the hierarch continues, but they aren’t responsible for communism, which was planted by the westerners Marx and Engels.

Asked for comment, Romanian Patriarchate spokesman Vasile Bănescu noted that the Archbishop is well known for “sui generis” statements, “including on some extra-ecclesiastical issues.”

“By virtue of the diocesan autonomy that he sometimes chooses to use in an original way, he is of course entitled to speak publicly on any subject, without this meaning that he is speaking on behalf of the Romanian Orthodox Church, but in a strictly personal manner,” Bănescu continued.

Official Patriarchate statements come only through the Holy Synod and its chancellery, not through any one hierarch, the spokesman specified.

The Archbishop also made the news last month when he was fined three times in a single day for violating quarantine by celebrating Liturgy and participating in diocesan events. The Archdiocese of Tomis responded that notification of his quarantine was sent by mail and wasn’t received until the day he was fined, after he’d already been fined twice.

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