06 November 2007, 15:32
Romanian Orthodox Church to gain strength in Moldova and Ukraine
Chisinau, November, Interfax - The Romanian Patriarchate plans to extend its influence in Moldova and Ukraine by establishing there more parishes and dioceses, Metropolitan Petru Paduraru of Bessarabia, whose metropolis is not recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church, told journalists in Chisinau.
As for the three new Romanian dioceses in Moldova (Balti, Cantemir, and Dubasari), he said, ‘we did not open them anew but rather reopened what had existed before 1940.’
‘At those dioceses there will also be temporally established dioceses of Khotin, Cetatea Alba (Belgorod-Dnestrovsky), and Izmail, until it becomes possible to open these diocese in Ukraine where they existed before 1940. We hope that the natural process of reestablishment of dioceses will go ahead,’ the metropolitan said.
According to him, Romania’s new Patriarch Daniel, who succeeded Patriarch Teoctist as the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, ‘is active in this direction.’
Before becoming patriarch, Daniel was archbishop of Iasi and metropolitan of Moldova and Bukovina.
Meanwhile, the Metropolis of Chisinau and All Moldova protested against the Romanian Patriarchate opening new diocese calling it ‘a direct and aggressive intervention to the canonical territory under a different church hierarchy.’
‘The Romanian Patriarchate’s provocative actions may ultimately endanger lawful order of the nations involved in this church schism,’ the Holy Synod of the Moldovan Orthodox Church said in its declaration on the matter.
On the other hand, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the Romanian Patriarchate’s decision to open new dioceses in Moldova destroyed Orthodox unity and will entail consequences.
‘We have always believed that no one should break fundamental canonical norms that ban establishing an overlapping jurisdiction within an already existing one. What has happened is an open violation of canonical order that aims at destroying the unity of the Orthodox world,’ the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad said some earlier.
The Metropolis of Bessarabia under the Romanian Patriarchate was uncanonically established in the Republic of Moldova in 1992 by a Russian Orthodox bishop, Petru Paduraru, who was later suspended by the synod of his church. According to the Republic of Moldova’s state commission for religious affairs, by August 1, 2007 there was had 309 parishes, monasteries, theological colleges, and missions under the Metropolis of Bessarabia.