Moldovan state TV refuses to broadcast Liturgy on feast of Protection, accuses Church of being pro-war

Chișinău, October 18, 2022


Despite long-standing tradition, the state-run Teleradio-Moldova refused to broadcast the Divine Liturgy from the Metropolitan Cathedral for the feast of the Holy Protection this year, accusing the Moldovan Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate of supporting the war in Ukraine.

The Moldovan Church’s Synodal Department for Communications and Media Relations expressed its “regret and bewilderment” at the state’s decision in a statement on Saturday, noting that the Holy Protection is the patronal feast for the capital city of Chișinău.

“In this context, we consider the statement of the management of the public broadcasting and television service in the Republic of Moldova to be biased,” with its accusations against His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of “overt or indirect support of the war in Ukraine,” the Synodal Department writes.

The Department thus offers two clarifications:

  1. “The celebration of the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, and therefore in our case of the patron saint of Chișinău, is not an event that belongs to His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir or any other public or private person within the Metropolitanate of Chișinău and the whole of Moldova, especially since this year the divine service was officiated by His Grace Bishop Siluan Bishop of Orhei, so that, from our point of view, there is no objective reason to deprive viewers of watching the festive service.”

  2. “The Metropolitanate of Chișinău and All Moldova, through the voice of its primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir, has expressed unequivocally and in all its fullness its opinion about the conflict in Ukraine as a fratricidal war which must be stopped as soon as possible.”

The Synodal Department expresses the hope that “this regrettable situation will not constitute a precedent.”

The statement concludes:

And in order to put an end to any speculations on such a dramatic subject as the war, the Metropolitanate of Chișinău and All Moldova emphasizes that it identifies and stands in total solidarity with the message of compassion of its primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir, praying incessantly for peace in the whole world, even more so in the neighboring and friendly country of Ukraine.

The Moldovan Church is the latest to experience close state scrutiny, especially after a homily from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill late last month in which he said that those who die while fulfilling their military duty receive forgiveness of sins.

After this homily, the Estonian state began to more closely monitor the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and called on its primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn, to publicly distance himself from the Patriarchal words, which he did.

The Patriarch’s homily is also addressed in a recent statement from His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna of the Episcopal Council of the Russian Church’s Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, which notes that it has both Russians and Ukrainians among its parishioners, “who together with all of us suffer from the current situation.”

The Patriarch’s words about forgiveness of sins for fallen soldiers were “perceived with great pain and misunderstanding,” the Council writes, thus “implore[ing] His Holiness to speak out for an immediate end to the fratricidal war, which today poses too great a threat to the whole world.”

Met. John and the Council “once again appeal to His Holiness with a request to speak with all the power of the Patriarchal word in favor of the peace process and to call upon all leaders and responsible persons of the Russian Federation to join it.”

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