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2019.10.21 16:00

Moscow seeks more power in Latvian Orthodox Church

LRT.lt2019.10.21 16:00

The Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church may be attempting to force Metropolitan Alexander (Aleksandrs Kudrjašovs) of the Latvian Orthodox Church (LPB) to retire and replace him with a more someone more acceptable to the Russian side, Baltic News Network quotes LTV’s programme De Facto.

Earlier in October, the LPB council decided to reinstate a clause in its rules, reaffirming the independence of the Latvian church from Moscow.

The request was also sent to the Moscow Patriarchate in Russia, and shortly after, Russian media published an opinion piece accusing the LPB of secrecy and excessive loyalty to the government of Latvia.

In 2018, a Russian citizen was appointed as the head of the neighbouring Estonian Orthodox Church. He had visited the Russian-occupied Crimea while serving in Moscow, and had taken part in a campaign against the Ukrainian church, which recently broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate.

Concerned about security, Latvian lawmakers passed amendments to the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church, requiring members of clergy running for the posts of the metropolitan and bishops to be citizens of Latvia and to have lived in the country for the past ten years.

De Facto reported that a senior LPB priest, Nikolajs Tihomirovs, has warned about possible influence from Moscow and attempts to divide the Latvian Orthodox Church. He also suspects that a priest was sent by the Moscow Patriarchate to incite discord among members of the church.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs told De Facto that there were "certain activities" in the church that have made people look carefully into the situation.

The story originally appeared on BNN.