Lithuania's Orthodox leader defrocks priest for bid to break away from Moscow

  • 2022-06-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Metropolitan Inokentiy, head of the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese, has issued a decree defrocking a priest who was dismissed for his bid to separate from Moscow, the Chancellery of the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese said on Thursday.

Gintaras Sungaila was sacked in April and has now been stripped of his title under the ruling of an ecclesiastical court after it found Sungaila guilty of ecclesiastical misconduct.

The court ruled that Sungaila broke his oath, made false statements, disobeyed the bishop, carried out social activities without the bishop's blessing, carried out schismatic activities, organized a change of ecclesiastical jurisdiction without the bishop's permission, and discredited other bishops and priests.

"Everything was done in secret, behind the leadership's back. A canonical transfer to another ecclesiastical jurisdiction is carried out with the blessing of one's own bishop, but no one has approached me with such a request," Metropolitan Inokentiy was quoted as saying in the statement.

It also says Sungaila was summoned to court three times but failed to appear and the decision was taken in absentia

Metropolitan Inokentiy dismissed Sungaila on April 28. The latter had criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Russian Orthodox Church's support for this action and claims to have been sacked for that, which the Lithuanian Orthodox leaders deny.