RIGA - President Egils Levits has submitted to Saeima amendments to the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church for the full recognition of the self-contained and independent status of the Latvian Orthodox Church, Levits said after a meeting with Saeima groups' leaders on Monday.
With these amendments the state of Latvia will recognize that the Latvian Orthodox Church is completely self-contained and independent church, not dependent on any other pastoral power outside of Latvia. By coming into force the law will preclude any influence or power over the Latvian Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Moscow, said Levits.
Levits said that he had discussed the draft law with the Speaker of the Saeima and the chairpersons of all parliamentary groups of the Saeima, and heard full understanding of the situation and support for this initiative. The Latvian Orthodox Church has also been informed about the elaborated draft law.
Rejecting any link with the Patriarch of Moscow is a crucial matter for our orthodox community, the whole society of Latvia and national security, said Levits.
In an independent and democratic state of Latvia based on the rule of law the orthodox community needs its own autonomous and independent church. That has been, is and will always be the position of the state of Latvia. Under Archibishop Janis Pommers, this was already achieved shortly after the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia.
The Latvian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Alexander can count on full support from the state of Latvia as an autocephalous church henceforth also recognized in law, said Levits.
The draft law has been discussed with all of the competent state institutions, it has been examined in the National Security Council and information has been provided to the National Security Committee, as well as the Human Rights and Social Affairs Committee of the Saeima, which will responsible for the further processing of this draft law, said Levits.
He has asked Saeima to recognize this draft law as urgent and adopt it as soon as possible.