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Local Russian Orthodox church head contests expulsion from Estonia

Metropolitan Eugene, primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK).
Metropolitan Eugene, primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Metropolitan Eugene, head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK), has submitted objections to the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) refusal to extend his residence permit and is requesting the extension of his temporary residence permit, the Chancellery of the Metropolitan said.

According to the chancellery, Metropolitan Eugene, legal name Valeri or Valery Reshetnikov, on January 25 submitted a response to the PPA's letter regarding their refusal to extend his residence permit, detailing his objections regarding the circumstances underlying the non-renewal and applied to have his temporary residence permit extended.

A Russian citizen, Reshetnikov's current residence permit is set to expire on February 6. The PPA informed him of the non-renewal of his residence permit on January 18.

Estonia decided to refuse to renew the metropolitan's residence permit as he supports the aggressor in his public actions and statements, and hasn't altered his conduct despite previous warnings, said Indrek Aru, head of the Border Guard office of the PPA's North Prefecture.

Among other things, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior have repeatedly met with Reshetnikov to explain to him that he needs to stop vindicating the Kremlin regime and Russia's military actions in his public actions and statements, the PPA said. Despite previous warnings, however, Reshetnikov hasn't altered his conduct, which is found to be incompatible with Estonia's values and legal system.

"Therefore Reshetnikov's actions are a threat to national security," the Estonian law enforcement agency said.

According to the PPA, when processing Reshetnikov's application, they had taken into account his activities as a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in Estonia, his public statements and his impacts on the country's internal security. The Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) provided its input as well.

The Estonian Council of Churches (EKN) has requested that the Interior Ministry explain the background of the non-renewal to all of its member churches.

Eugene is the metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia and primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK).

The MPEÕK is distinct from the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAÕK), an Orthodox church under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the legal continuation of the Estonian Orthodox Church (EÕK).

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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