History of EOC
COMMUNIQUE of the EOC (August 26, 2000)
Press bureau Nurme 47, 11616 Tallinn Estonia

On 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.

It 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 does.
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.

Rev. Meletios ULM
1st Secretary of the Metropolitan of the EOC
26 August 2000

Back to contents

Archives of website
Home Page
Church of Estonia