News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Moldova's largest Orthodox church keeps link to Russia

by Reuters Journalist

Moldova's largest Orthodox church reaffirmed its link to its Russian parent church on Thursday despite dissent from priests who have denounced the association with Moscow over the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.

More than 90 percent of Moldovans adhere to Orthodox Christianity. But parishioners are divided between two churches -- the Moldova Metropolis, subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Metropolis of Bessarabia, which reports to the Romanian church. Neither has autocephaly, or full independence.

The head of the Russia-linked church, Metropolitan Vladimir, last month complained to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, an ardent supporter of the war in Ukraine, that those ties were denting its appeal.

But clerics on Thursday agreed to maintain those links.

"The clergy and the people remain faithful to the Orthodox Church of Moldova and Metropolitan Vladimir," Bishop Ioan of the 

Russia-linked church said in a statement.

"There will be no discussion of linking the Molodvan Orthodox Church to the Romanian Patriarchate."

A group of priests in the majority Russian-linked church had asked Vladimir this week to switch allegiance to the Romanian church. One cleric, Pavel Borsevschi, said the Russian patriarch had "turned himself into a political figure who hypocritically calls for fraternal blood to be spilled."

Since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, more than 60 priests from Moldova's majority church have left and joined its Romania-linked rival.

The split reflects longstanding cultural divisions in the state lying between Ukraine and Romania -- which, at different times in its history, was part of the Russian empire and the Soviet Union and "Greater Romania."

The war in Ukraine worries many in the country of 2.5 million. Pro-European President Maia Sandu has denounced the invasion, accused Moscow of plotting to oust her and thrown her weight before a drive to secure European Union membership.

Sandu has tried to steer clear of the religious divide.

"For our parishioners it is important to feel that we want peace and that the borders of all countries must be observed,"she told a radio interviewer this week.

"The church cannot stay on the sidelines and pretend it does not see what is happening."

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email