Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Latvian Church responds to government's designs

Moscow, September 12 (Interfax) - The Latvian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has given a reserved response to the Latvian parliament's decision to "grant' autocephaly to it.

"The government has established the status of our Church as autocephalous. The government has established that the Latvian Orthodox Church is de jure independent from any church center outside Latvia, while preserving spiritual, prayer and liturgical communion with all canonical Orthodox Churches of the world. The changed status does not alter the Orthodox faith, dogmas, the liturgical life of the Church, the calendar style, the sacred liturgical language, rites, traditions, and inner church life," the church press service said.

The Synod of the Latvian Orthodox Church "lovingly calls on the clergy and laity to maintain a peaceful disposition of the spirit" and the unity of the Church, strictly observing the laws of Latvia," it said.

Last Thursday, the Latvian Saeima passed in the final reading the amendments to the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church, submitted by President Egils Levits. The amendments adjust the status of the Latvian Orthodox Church, which becomes fully autonomous and independent. The Latvian Orthodox Church is due to reconcile its charter with the amendments to the Church status law by October 31.

The Latvian parliament's decision has been criticized by the Moscow Patriarchate, which noted a flagrant interference of secular authorities in church affairs. Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, an advisor to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, said that the Latvian authorities "outdid the Middle Ages" by their decision.

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