VILNIUS – A commission set up by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has started examining the application of the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese, which has asked to grant it the status of an independent Church, the archdiocese said on Monday.
The commission held its first meeting over the status of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania at the Danilov Monastery in Moscow on Monday. The panel started studying available information and defined future lines of work, including collection of necessary additional data.
“It is very important for us to make sure that the path of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church towards greater independence is in line with the constitution and the canons of the Church,” a press release from the archdiocese quoted its head, Metropolitan Inokentiy, as saying.
According to him, the granting of the status of an independent Church would require a lot of explanations and preparations as well as specific arguments.
“In our case, this would imply more the bringing of the status of the Church in line with reality as it is the Lithuanian Orthodox Church making all decisions today, it has no financial links with the Moscow Patriarchate and the majority of parishioners of our churches are full-fledged Lithuanian citizens,” Metropolitan Inokentiy said.
The Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese is asking for a special status for the Church, close to autonomy, the archdiocese said.
Metropolitan Inokentiy earlier defrocked four priests for their "canonical offenses", according to the Chancellery of the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese.
The defrocked priests criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Russian Orthodox Church's support for the war, and initiated a process for Orthodox churches in Lithuania to switch from Moscow's jurisdiction to that of Constantinople, a move opposed by the Lithuanian Orthodox Church leaders.
The Lithuanian Orthodox Church, one of Lithuania's nine traditional religious communities, is a metropolitanate within the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia.