Orthodox Church of Estonia Offended by Moscow Patriarchate
The head of the Orthodox Church of Estonia, Metropolitan Stephanos, said that public speeches by the visiting Metropolitan Hilarion, of the Moscow Patriarchate, contained a “tone of disdain” toward Estonian history and inhabitants.
Metropolitan Hilarion recently visited Estonia and raised the issue of local church property with the foreign minister. The Orthodox Church of Estonia, an autonomous church committed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, claimed that property issues have already been solved in agreements with the government.
“Any new agreement would presuppose recognition of the autonomy of the local Metropolitan by the Moscow Patriarchate,” wrote a statement by the Orthodox Church of Estonia. “The aim of one Orthodox Church on the Estonian territory is our common goal, but it should not mean engulfing of the local Church as in 1945.”
The statement also claimed that Metropolitan Kornili, head of the Russian Orthodox Diocese in Estonia, had misled the public, claiming that he invited Metropolitan Stephanos to the celebration of his 20th anniversary as a Bishop and a meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion.
At the same time, the local diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate invited a priest from a Finnish seminary which is also loyal to Constantinople. “This is a typical attempt to cause troubles between two autonomous churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” the statement wrote.
Founded in 1923, the Orthodox Church of Estonia was suppressed in 1945 and regained its autonomy in 1996. It has a following of 27,000.