Metropolitan Eugene of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK) visited the Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday to meet with Undersecretary for Population Facts and Civil Society Raivo Küüt. Metropolitan Eugene said, that meetings with the Interior Ministry may become a more regular occurrence in future.
"We exchanged views on the situation as a whole. We came to the conclusion that this kind of contact is very useful in order in resolving problematic issues. Because it's one thing to exchange letters and reply in writing, but it's another thing to communicate with representatives of the Ministry of Interior directly. We found it very useful and will probably continue to have these meetings on a regular basis," Metropolitan Eugene told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera."
When asked by ERR if he opposes Russia's war in Ukraine, Metropolitan Eugene replied in the affirmative. "I am against any war. Therefore, everything has already been said about it, everything was declared in the statement (made last week – ed.), there is nothing new to say," he said.
"People often ask (me) as if I had expressed some kind of opposition to the Patriarch. No, he is our Patriarch and I did not express any opposition to him. I expressed my disagreement with his opinion, with the words he said. I explained why, and I have already given an interview on the subject," Eugene added.
Eugene said, that any possible separation of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate from the Moscow Church, or autocephaly, had not been discussed at the meeting.
On September 25, Patriarch Kirill said, that Russian soldiers fighting Ukraine are answering their calling and fulfilling their duty to the homeland and society. After equating their actions amount to a sacrifice and demonstration of faithfulness to sacred vows, he then said that Russian soldiers who die fighting in Ukraine would be absolved of all their sins.
On Wednesday last week, Metropolitan Eugene told the Ministry of the Interior that he condemned Russia's war in Ukraine and did not share Patriarch Kirill's view that the sins of Russian soldiers killed in battle would be forgiven.
Küüt: No reason to consider Orthodox Church security threat at present
Undersecretary for Population Facts and Civil Society Raivo Küüt told ERR, that the meeting at the Interior Ministry had been planned so that Eugene could explain his views on Patriarch Kirill's remarks in more detail. "The meeting was constructive, Eugene understands the situation and his role in maintaining cohesion in (Estonian) society," Küüt said.
"There is no reason at the moment to consider the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as a security threat," Küüt told ERR, while also confirming that the issue of autocephaly had not been discussed at the meeting.
Editor: Michael Cole