Metropolitan of Moldova: Church-state relations have deteriorated since February

Chișinău, Moldova, January 27, 2023


Although it once enjoyed good relations and cooperation with state authorities, the state’s attitude towards the Moldovan Orthodox Church has significantly changed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in February.

This is because, despite the fact that the Moldovan Church opposes the war and helps Ukrainians, it remains part of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău and All Moldova explains in a recent interview with Deutsche Welle.

His Eminence explains:

—For many years after 1989, when I came to the leadership of the Orthodox Church in Moldova (it was still the USSR), I had very good relations with the state authorities. We used to meet a lot, either on holidays, or we were simply discussing the needs of the Church or the laws. It’s our duty to pray for those who stand at the helm of the country. And in the times of the USSR we prayed. This is what we have done all along—we pray for the country and for the Patriarch. But now something has changed.

—What has changed?

—Relations between the leadership of the state and the Church. Until recently, everything was fine. Services at the cathedral were broadcast live on TV... But something’s happened lately. We’ve been pushed aside as if we’re not even members of this society. And this is simply because we are canonically subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate.

—Maybe the reluctance is justified, if we look at what the Patriarch does?

—I’m not entitled to judge the actions of the Patriarch. My duty as Metropolitan is to pray that God will also give him wisdom, to pray for the leadership of our state and for those who surround me. Our purpose is to appease the good God, that He might bless us with tranquility and peace.

In October, 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, accusing the Moldovan Church of supporting the war in Ukraine.

The next month, the Liberal Party of Moldova called on the Church to renounce the Moscow Patriarchate and join the Romanian Patriarchate, which has an overlapping jurisdiction in Moldova. The politicians reasoned that because Patriarch Kirill supports the war, citizens of Moldova thus indirectly support the war as long as they remain part of the Moscow Patriarchate.

And these calls come despite the fact that, as Met. Vladimir reminds in his homily, the Moldovan Church is against the war, and has offered considerable help to refugees and suffering Ukrainians, which the media ignores:

From the very first days of the war we condemned Russia’s aggression and, physically got involved in helping refugees. We have a House of Alms. From the first days we have been helping refugees. Every day for three months I prepared lunches from them—from 1,500 to 3,000 lunches. With the help of customs officers, we crossed over to the Ukrainian side and brought them food. Our priests in Italy sent us two trucks—one with clothes and another with food that we distributed to Ukrainian refugees. We have also housed over 100 refugees in our monasteries. Even here at the Metropolis we kept three families. I took care of them. No one wants to write about these facts, but they write about bad things right away. We take food to the homeless on the square near the Eternitate Memorial—100-180 lunches daily. We take food to another 40 sick elderly people at their homes. No one sees that.

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Steve1/28/2023 9:12 pm
What about the breakaway Moldovian State of Transnistria? There's good reason for the government of Moldovian to be suspicious.
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