Tallinn, February 1, 2024
The Council of the Estonian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) held an emergency session this week to discuss the fate of His Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn in the country.
Last month, the Estonian Police and Border Guard Development denied the Metropolitan’s request to renew his temporary residence permit, which expires next week. His Eminence submitted an official appeal last week.
And on Tuesday, January 30, the Estonian Church Council, consisting of Met. Evgeny, Bishops Lazar of Narva and Sergei of Maardu, all clergy, and lay representatives from every parish, met to discuss the state’s decision. The Council is the highest governing body, according to the Church charter, reports the Estonian Orthodox Church.
The meeting was preceded by a Divine Liturgy at the Church of the She Who Is Quick to Hear Icon of the Mother of God in Tallinn celebrated by the hierarchs and most of the clergy of the Tallinn and Narva Dioceses.
As a result of the discussion, a document was adopted “from the fullness of our Church,” expressing categorical disagreement with the state’s decision not to extend the Metropolitan’s permit.
Recall that Estonian authorities have been watching the Estonian Church closely and have admitted in the past that they found nothing suspicious. Met. Evgeny and Bp. Lazar of Narva have both signed and issued statements against the war, and the Metropolitan publicly stated his disagreement with Pat. Kirill’s homily about soldiers who die in war receiving forgiveness of sins. Nevertheless, the state continued to be suspicious of the Estonian Church, and Met. Evgeny now must leave the country within a week.
Three clerics of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church spoke out in defense of Met. Evgeny last week and against state interference in Church matters.