CHURCH OF ESTONIA
Press bureau Nurme 47, 11616 Tallinn Estonia
17 August the Moscow Orthodox Church announced, that
they do not recognize the independence (autonomy) of
the Estonian Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction
of Constantinople Patriarchate. The prelates of Moscow
even forbade the participation of the representatives
of the Russian Orthodox Church in any meeting where
the Estonian Orthodox Church is officially represented.
In addition, the press service of the Moscow Patriarchate
announced that just a few parishes in Estonia belong
to the jurisdiction of Constantinople.
B.N.S. 18 August.
is with sorrow that we hear such misleading statements.
At the same time, the positions of the Russian Orthodox
Church are no surprise to us. The Moscow Patriarchate
continually politicizes the problems concerning the
inner matters of the Church.
Despite such statements, the Primate and the Church
Administration have always stressed that they are ready
to help the registration of the Orthodox under the Moscow
Patriarchate in Estonia as a legal religious body, but
only as a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The historical truth we proceed from is that during
the first Estonian Republic there existed one local
autonomous Orthodox Church in Estonia, which was under
the spiritual protection of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
So it is also now on the basis of historical continuity.
It is good to repeat some facts :
1) The EOC is the only legally registered Orthodox Church
in Estonia. In 1993 it was registered in the "Register
of Churches and Parishes" by the Department of
Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
with the number 01800116.
2) The EOC has been recognized by the state as the legal
heir of the EOC that existed before the Soviet occupation.
The 1935 statute of the EAOC was registered in the Republic
of Estonia seven years ago without changes. We must
underline that two-thirds of the Orthodox parishes in
Estonia are subject to the Primate and the Church Administration
of our Church, so it is not right to speak about a few
parishes, like the press service of the Moscow Patriarchate
3)The EOC is the only legal subject of the return of
Orthodox Church property nationalized during the Soviet
era. We stress that the EOC has never hindered the parishes
of the Moscow Patriarchate to use the church buildings
where they celebrate their divine offices.
The EOC is, as before, on the position that for clarity's
sake the parishes under Moscow Patriarchate in Estonia
should register and introduce themselves as the diocese
of the Russian Orthodox Church in Estonia.
We all wish a brotherly solution to the problem. But
our brothers from the Russian Orthodox Church must for
their part recognize and respect the historical continuity
of the EOC in Estonia today. Then we can jointly start
to solve the legal matters concerning the church property.
1st Secretary of the Metropolitan of the EOC
26 August 2000