Riga, September 10, 2022
The Latvian Orthodox Church issued a statement yesterday in response to its legal change in status by the Latvian Parliament.
On Thursday, the Saeima adopted the bill submitted earlier this week by the Latvian President, declaring the Latvian Church completely independent of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The statement from the press service of the Latvian Orthodox Church reads in full:
On September 8, at the initiative of the President of Latvia Mr. Egil Levits, the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia amended the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church. This decision is of a legal nature and the adopted amendments relate to the legal status of the Church. The state has established the status of our Church as autocephalous. The state has determined that the Latvian Orthodox Church is legally independent from any Church center located outside Latvia, maintaining spiritual, prayerful and liturgical communion with all canonical Orthodox Churches of the world. Changing the status does not change the Orthodox faith, dogmas, liturgical life of the Church, calendar style, sacred liturgical language, rituals, traditions, or internal Church life.
The Synod of the Latvian Orthodox Church lovingly calls on the clergy and laity to preserve the peaceful order of the spirit, to maintain the unity of our Church, strictly observing the laws of our Latvian state. By sharing spiritually and prayerfully in unbreakable unity with the entire Orthodox world, we will preserve the purity of our faith and strengthen holy Orthodoxy in the Latvian land. We ask all believers to pray fervently and fervently for our holy Church, and may the merciful Lord preserve it in peace and prosperity.
According to the statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church, autocephaly can only be granted by a Local Council of the Church, which consists of bishops and clerical, monastic, and lay representatives.