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WorldAsiaThe creation of an Orthodox exarchate subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople...

The creation of an Orthodox exarchate subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople discussed in Lithuania


During his visit to Lithuania, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople discussed with the leaders of this country the possibility of creating an Orthodox diocese here, which would be subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

“The Ecumenical Patriarchate offers itself sacrificially to serve the Orthodox believers in Lithuania… This is an exceptional honor for us,” Patriarch Bartholomew told reporters after meeting Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.

According to the Patriarch, “a new perspective and a new opportunity are opening up to jointly seek the establishment of an Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Lithuania.”

The Lithuanian Prime Minister stressed that Orthodox believers in his country should have a choice – which church to attend. Simonyte told reporters that some Orthodox believers, including Ukrainian and Belarusian refugees, oppose the current status of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania, which is subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church.

“It is natural and humanly understandable that after Russia launched a large-scale aggression against Ukraine with the open and active support of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, some Lithuanian Orthodox do not consider it possible in good conscience to continue to be part of the Moscow Patriarchate,” Simonyte said.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople is considered “first among equals” in the Orthodox world, although among the Orthodox churches the ROC is the most numerous, with around 100 million believers belonging to it (the total number of Orthodox in the world is about 260 million people.

According to Patriarch Bartholomew, “Orthodoxy in Lithuania dates back to the 13th century, when it was under the absolute control of Constantinople, then the capital of the Byzantine Empire”.

In 2021, in Lithuania, where the main faith is Catholicism, there were around 100,000 Orthodox believers. The total population of the country is approximately 2.7 million.

In 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew recognized the independence of the Ukrainian Local Church (OCU) from the ROC and took it into his custody. At the same time, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) continues to exist in Ukraine.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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