Vilnius, Lithuania, December 28, 2022
The hierarchs of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church gathered in a general Assembly with the clergy, monastics, and lay representatives from all parishes at the Holy Spirit Monastery in Vilnius yesterday.
Among the main topics discussed were the war in Ukraine and the canonical status of the Lithuanian Church.
The Assembly stated that “the Lithuanian Orthodox Church immediately condemned the war against Ukraine at all levels—the hierarchy, clergy and laity, and expressed its full support for the anti-war position of its primate, Metropolitan Innokenty of Vilnius and Lithuania,” reports the Church press service.
The Assembly also confirmed its loyalty to the course of gaining greater Church independence and adopted a corresponding appeal to the Holy Synod. Earlier, Metropolitan Innokenty addressed the Synod with a petition to grant the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese the status of a self-governing Church.
The principled position of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church is that its Church status should be brought into line with the real state of things. As you know, the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese is one of the traditional religious communities of Lithuania and is a morally and financially independent religious organization.
At the same time, the Lithuanian Orthodox Church attaches the utmost importance to the observance of Church canons. Through the canonical connection with the Moscow Patriarchate, the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese is united with the entirety of the Orthodox Church. This connection is exclusively canonical and in no way hinders Church independence. Similarly, Roman Catholics in various countries maintain a canonical connection with the Roman See.
Despite the Lithuanian Church’s clear and consistent stance, it has had to continually defend itself against false statements and interference from state authorities, who have pledged to help establish the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Lithuania.