Political party calls to ban Estonian Orthodox Church and transfer its property to Constantinople’s jurisdiction

Tallinn, Estonia, October 4, 2022

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. Photo: postimees.ee St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. Photo: postimees.ee     

Members of the Isamaa (Fatherland) political party in Estonia are calling for a ban on the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Their call includes seizing property from the Church and transferring it to the much smaller Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Isamaa is a Christian-democratic and national-conservative party founded in June 2006. It’s a recognized part of the European People’s Party.

The politicians argue that the Estonian Church must be stopped because it justifies the war in Ukraine. On the other hand, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has said that while it’s closely monitoring the Church, it has not seen anything that could be seen as a call for war.

“The Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is a continuation of the Mother Church in Russia, one of the goals of which is to spread Putinism and popularize the ‘Russian World’ in Estonia. This Church is a threat to the security of the Estonian state and society in a broader sense,” the Isamaa statement emphasizes, reports the Estonian outlet Postimees.

The message refers to a recent homily from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russian in which he said that if someone dies fulfilling his military duty, “then he undoubtedly commits an act equivalent to sacrifice. He sacrifices himself for others. And therefore we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed.”

Isamaa notes that the President of the Estonian Council of Churches, Urmas Vilma, condemned the Patriarch’s statement as a justification for violence.

Therefore, the party proposes to terminate the activities of the Estonian Orthodox Church by excluding it from the register of churches, nationalizing its property and transferring it to Constantinople’s jurisdiction in Estonia, and expelling Met. Evgeny and other clerics from the country.

The party calls on Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets to act immediately.

The Church is facing similar issues in other Baltic states. In Latvia, the state declared the Church there, an autonomous body within the Moscow Patriarchate, to be autocephalous and completely separated from the Russian Church. In Lithuania, defrocked clerics have state support to try to bring the Patriarchate of Constantinople into the country.

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