Metropolitan Eugene, head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK), has confirmed that he is leaving Estonia on Tuesday, after the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) informed the metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia on Monday that they had refused to extend his residence permit and ordered him to leave the country the next day.
The MPEÕK publicly announced Eugene's departure on Tuesday morning.
Prior to his departure, Eugene left his followers with a dictum in which he highlighted that Christians must always benevolently accept everything that happens with them. Quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, he said, "'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks!'"
He added that he hopes that church life won't change anymore, and will continue at its own pace.
"There are two archdioceses in Estonia that, with my blessing, can exercise the authority of our head of the church," Eugene noted. "I, in turn, will remain in touch and continue to care for the church entrusted to me, even from afar."
"Police and Border Guard Board officials met with Russian Federation citizen Valeri [or Valery] Reshetnikov on Monday and informed him that his residence permit would not be extended," said Indrek Aru, head of the Border Guard office of the PPA's North Prefecture.
"It was also explained to Reshetnikov that his temporary residence permit was expiring Tuesday and that he was to leave Estonia within that day," Aru continued. "Reshetnikov cooperated with officials, and to the PPA's knowledge, the metropolitan intends to leave Estonia on time."
On January 18, the PPA informed Reshetnikov that the Estonian state would not be extending his residence permit, due to expire February 6, citing his actions as a threat to Estonia's national security. Reshetnikov was given the opportunity to submit objections to the authority's decision, which he did in a response on January 25.
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) had provided its input as well, finding that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus' as the religious leader of the Russian Orthodox Church is consistently vindicating and supporting the Kremlin regime's bloody aggression against Ukraine, and that both the patriarch of Moscow and Metropolitan Eugene's actions have aided the implementation of the Russian Federation's security policy in Estonia.
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).
Editor: Aili Vahtla