Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Fight over subordination of Orthodox hierarchies spreads to Moldova

The Bessarabian Orthodox Church of Saint Theodora de la Sihla in Chişinău, Moldova built in 1895 by architect Al Bernardazzi (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Bessarabian Orthodox Church of Saint Theodora de la Sihla in Chişinău, Moldova built in 1895 by architect Al Bernardazzi (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Fight over subordination of Orthodox hierarchies spreads to Moldova
Edited by: A. N.

Despite the fact that Ukraine’s Orthodox church is about to be granted autocephaly and ever more people in Belarus are expressing hope that their country will be the next to escape from under the yoke of the Moscow Patriarchate, few have paid attention to another Orthodox country where the subordination of Orthodoxy is very much in play.

According to the 2004 census in Moldova, 93.3 percent of that country’s population are Orthodox. They are divided between the Moldovan Orthodox Church, which, although autonomous, is under the control of Moscow and the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia, also autonomous but under the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Tensions between the two churches, always high because of the political orientations they embody, the first toward Moscow and the second toward the West, are rising, with Moldova’s pro-Russian president Igor Dodon saying that Romania has tried to block a visit by Moscow Patriarch Kirill.

That visit albeit shortened to only two days will now begin five days from now. During the visit, Kirill is scheduled to visit the northern and southern regions of Moldova as well as meet with Dodon and other officials in Chisinau, Moscow’s Russian Orthodox Russkaya Liniya portal says.

The Metropolitanate of Moldova, a self-administrating part of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was founded in 1813 and currently has “more than 1200 parishes,” the Russian portal says. The Romanian church, it says, appeared on Moldovan territory only after 1991. (In fact, it has a much longer history.)

In the 1990s, the Moldovan government, fearing a church schism, refused to register the latter church, but in 2001, the European Court for Human Rights insisted that it do so, and since that time, there have been two registered Orthodox hierarchies in Moldova, each very much hostile to the other.

There are in fact rumors that people connected with the Bessarabian church plan to organize protests during Kirill’s visit.

Those are especially likely because of an event now slated to take place on Thursday, the day before Kirill arrives in Moldova. On that date, Bartholomew, the Universal Patriarch, will be in Bucharest to dedicate a new Orthodox cathedral. Some expect he will also declare that only the Bessarabian church has the right to the canonical territory of Moldova.

If that happens, such a declaration could lead to a religious and political explosion in Moldova with Moscow seeking to defend its position by relying on the Gagauz, a Turkic but Russian Orthodox nation, and on the hierarchy of the pro-Russian church there and Romania weighing in for the Universal Patriarch and Moldova autocephaly.

Further Reading:

Edited by: A. N.
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts