Some weeks ago I made mention of Patriarch Bartholomew's decision to reinstate some clergy in Lithuania. Many people thought this was the first chess gambit towards a longer game. Many people were right.
Orthochristian.com) - Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė signed a cooperation agreement today to formally establish the presence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Patriarch and state are thus establishing a parallel jurisdiction in the Baltic state, as Lithuania is universally recognized within the Orthodox Church as the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“Today, a new perspective opens before us and an opportunity to jointly seek the establishment of the Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Lithuania,” Pat. Bartholomew said after signing the agreement, reports lrt.lt.
The Prime Minister had declared as early as May that the state was willing to help Constantinople set up shop. However, the PM is known to distort facts about the Church’s stance and activity.
Recall that Pat. Bartholomew recently received a handful of canonically defrocked clerics under his omophorion, unilaterally nullifying the actions taken by the canonical authority over them. They served their first Liturgy as clerics of Constantinople in Vilnius on Sunday.
The Lithuanian Church, of course, rejected Constantinople’s arbitrary actions.
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Church published a statement yesterday, before the agreement was signed, extending an invitation to Pat. Bartholomew to venerate the relics of the Holy Martyrs of Vilnius Anthony, John, and Eustathius that are housed in the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, as “a sign of honor and reverence for the elevated rank of the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Orthodox faith of the members of his delegation.”