2023.03.17 17:30

Constantinople Patriarch to visit Lithuania next week

BNS 2023.03.17 17:30

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will pay a visit to Lithuania next week, Vilnius confirmed on Friday.

Bartholomew I is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on Tuesday.

His visit will follow the Patriarchate of Constantinople's decision to reinstate five Lithuanian Orthodox priests who were defrocked last summer under the decrees of Metropolitan Innokentiy of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church, who is subordinate to the Patriarchate of Moscow.

The priests appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese says it does not recognise the decision of the patriarch of Constantinople.

The five priests hope that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will soon establish a permanent ecclesiastical structure under its authority in Lithuania. However, no decision has yet been taken on this issue.

For its part, the Lithuanian Orthodox Church seeks greater autonomy and says it has gotten closer to becoming an independent church. The Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate has now referred its request to the Council of Bishops for consideration.

Orthodox Christians in Lithuania are considered one of nine traditional religious communities.

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