Metropolitan Evgeny forced to leave Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia, February 7, 2024

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His Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn and All Estonia was forced to leave the country today after the authorities refused to renew his residence permit.

Late last month, the authorities informed the Metropolitan that his permit, which expired today, would not be renewed, as he was deemed a threat to national security. His Eminence submitted a formal appeal, and the Holy Synod and Council of episcopal, clerical, and lay representative called on the state to reconsider, but Met. Evgeny was again informed on Monday, February 5, that his permit would not be extended, reports the Estonian Orthodox Church.

Met. Evgeny left his flock with a parting word:

Reverend archpastors, honorable fathers, dear brothers and sisters!

Christ is Risen!

According to the Apostle Paul, we Christians should always accept all circumstances that happen to us with equanimity: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks (1 Thess. 5:16-18). And our joy and equanimity stem not from some earthly successes and achievements, but from our faith: “For through the Cross joy hath come into all the world.” And this joy, as Christ says, no man taketh from you (Jn. 16:22). Therefore, in these days, I would like to address you with a call to remain in good spirits, to thank God for everything, and not to lose the spiritual joy that the Lord expects from all of us.

And we really have something to thank God for! Many things have happened in the past few days. For the first time in 34 years, an episcopal consecration was celebrated in our Church on Estonian soil, a Synod meeting was held this week, and a Council was convened and held. Two deacons have been ordained to holy orders in the last six months. Youth, cultural, and educational events are taking place. And most importantly, the Divine services and Church Sacraments are celebrated in our churches! And it's very important for us not to forget this and to thank the Lord God for everything! I urge you all, in the words of the Apostle Paul, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

We hope that further, with God’s help, Church life will not change and will continue in its rhythm. There are two vicar bishops in Estonia who, with my blessing, can exercise the full powers of the primate of our Church. In turn, I remain in contact and continue to take care of the Church entrusted to me, even remotely.

May the All-merciful Lord help us all to walk the path of the commandments of Christ, drawing near to His Heavenly Kingdom!

Christ is in our midst!

May God’s blessing be upon you all!

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 was forced to leave the country.

Formerly the Archbishop of Verey in Russia, Met. Evgeny served in Estonia starting in June 2018.

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