2019-07-01 13:29:00

The Russian Orthodox Church condemns the law on bishops’ citizenship adopted in Latvia

Moscow, July 1, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox church official speaks against the law urgently adopted by the Latvian saeima, according to which bishops of the Latvian Orthodox Church should be the country’s citizens.

"A citizen of any state can become the patriarch in our country, and I don’t think that the state can interfere in inner life of the Church and dictate who is able to become the Church head, a bishop or the parochial rector," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion said on the Church and the World program on the television channel Rossiya-24 (VGTRK).

"It is absolutely impossible in the majority of western countries, however it is the reality in Latvia today," the metropolitan added.

He believes that if the parliament in Russia adopted the decision that the Orthodox Church can be headed by a citizen of Russia only, the mass media would make such a fuss around it and "this decision would be fairly considered an interference in inner affairs of the Church."

"By what right can a state order to the Church, who can become its head? However, when it happens in Latvia, everyone keeps silence, mass media does not react, meanwhile it is the rude interference in the things which are absolute prerogative of the Church. The Church can choose any person its head," the hierarch believes.

Metropolitan Hilarion also mentioned that in the Soviet times the statute of the Russian Orthodox Church had a provision that only a USSR citizen can be elected the patriarch of Moscow. He said that it had been introduced in the church statute on demand of the Soviet atheistic state.