Friday, November 3, 2023

Moldovan Russian Orthodox Head Warns Moscow Putting His Church at Risk of a Ukrainian Outcome

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 31 – Metropolitan Vladimir, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moldova and a churchman who has been loyal to the Kremlin on Ukraine, says the Moscow Patriarchate is putting his church at risk of following Ukraine’s Russian Orthodox Church into oblivion by its failure to respond respond to the Moldovan church’s request for help.

            In a five-page letter to Patriarch Kirill, Vladimir says that as a result of this failure and of the assistance from the state and the population that the competing Bessarabian Metropolitanate of the Romanian Patriarchate does receive, his church is in serious difficulties (

            His letter says that some clergy of his church are increasingly thinking about shifting to the Romanian Orthodox Church “in large measure” because the ROC does not permit their church to make decisions for itself or provide it with assistance, instead treating the Moldovan church as “peripheral” and negotiating about it without it.

            “Yet another tendency which disturbs out people and clergy, 80 percent of whom have Romanian citizenship,” Metropolitan Vladimir says, “is the ever more insistent striving of the Moscow Patrirarchat to swallow the Moldovan metropolitanate into the so-called ‘Russian world’ which is alien to our national values and aspirations.”

            “Unfortunately,” he continues, “this trend represents a continuation of the harsh policy of denationalization which was conducted in tsarist and then in Soviet times, one that the Russian Orthodox Church wants ‘to complete.’” Moscow even now “does not understand that the people of Moldova have Latin roots.”

            Russian observers suggest that the Moldovan church is not yet in as much danger as the Russian Orthodox linked to Moscow in Ukraine, but they acknowledge the Metropolitan Vladimir’s letter is a sign that the Moscow Patriarchate is on its way to losing yet another church in the former Soviet space, albeit perhaps not as quickly as elsewhere.



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