Metropolitan of Estonia again summoned to Ministry of Internal Affairs

Metropolitan of Estonia again summoned to Ministry of Internal Affairs

Tallinn, Estonia, February 8, 2023


The Estonian state continues to closely monitor the Estonian Orthodox Church, given its status as an autonomous Church within the broader Moscow Patriarchate.

The Church initially came under scrutiny Estonian state closely monitoring Orthodox ChurchIf the Estonian Church, which is part of the Moscow Patriarchate, should make any statements calling for war, the state could cancel the residence permit of His Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn.

“>in September when the state called on Met. Evgeny to publicly distance himself from Patriarch Kirill’s statement that those who die in battle receive forgiveness of sins, which he did Metropolitan of Estonia distances himself from Patriarch’s homily about forgiveness of sins for soldiersHis Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn and All Estonia also reminds of the several calls for peace that have already come from the EOC Synod and hierarchs and of all the humanitarian work undertaken by EOC churches and parishioners to help Ukrainian refugees.”>in October. Otherwise, the state had threatened to cancel his residency permit and expel him from the country.

And last week, Met. Evgeny was urgently summoned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the second time in three months, this time in connection with the prayer for peace that was planned to be held at the Tallinn cathedral later this month, reports

Met. Evgeny announced the prayer service late last month, intended to be held as part of the “Together for Peace” event of the KOOS/Together movement. However, Estonian Church cancels prayer for peace event after criticism from Ministry of Internal AffairsThe Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate announced today that it is canceling a prayer for peace event scheduled for February 22 as part of the “Together for Peace” event of the KOOS/Together movement.

“>the service was canceled after criticism from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which characterizes KOOS/Together as a pro-Kremlin group.

The Church announced that it was unaware of the movement’s other planned events, and therefore it fell victim to political provocation.

According to Estonia’s Vice Chancellor of Internal Affairs Raivo Küüt, the conversation with Met. Evgeny at the Ministry concerned “red lines”:

The first red line is obvious. This is any verbal or non-verbal support for Russian aggression in Ukraine. This is the main thing to consider. Here this must not be done on a personal level or in the ranks of any organization. This is a very clear boundary.

The second aspect can be viewed in a broader way: We’re talking about elements of political agitation… We would not like to see political agitation on the part of religious organizations.

According to certain secular and Church figures, the Ministry’s reaction to the planned peace event was unwarranted.

“In my opinion, the reaction was somewhat excessive,” commented religious scholar Andrei Shishkov, noting that the Ministry uses the threat of revoking Met. Evgeny’s residency permit as a means of control.

Given that Met. Evgeny is a Russian citizen, that the Estonian Church is part of the Moscow Patriarchate, and that KOOS/Together has a reputation of being pro-Kremlin, the state reacted to the planned event “as a threat to national security,” Shishkov explained.

Archpriest Igor Prekup also thinks the Ministry overreacted. “Their move doesn’t facilitate a healthy atmosphere in society,” he said.

But for Küüt, the Ministry’s reaction was appropriate. “After all, if something like this happens in society without an appropriate reaction, then there’s even more ground for the spread of conspiracy and various harsh statements… So there was no excessive reaction here.”

The state is unlikely to actually expel Met. Evgeny, Shishkov believes, because then he could simply administer the Church remotely, with no possibility of the Estonian state pressuring or controlling him.

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