Since Russia has declared Europe an enemy, and Moldova positions itself as a part of Europe and is not attracted to the “neo-imperialist construct” that Moscow is creating, the separation of the Moldovan church from the Russian Orthodox Church is inevitable. This opinion was expressed on Wednesday in an interview on the program “Alternative with Iulia Budeci” on TV8 by religion expert Sergei Chapnin.
Despite the certainty that the Moldovan church will not remain a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the expert believes that Moldova does not have many options. And in order not to make a mistake, it is important not to rush the church and to keep a healthy discussion in society.
“Now we see two main options: to stay with Moscow, which is already causing political pressure on Metropolitan Vladimir and the Moldovan Metropolis. Or to transfer to the Romanian Church. But again, on what conditions.
Joining the Bessarabia metropolis is rather strange, because the bigger cannot join the lesser. The problem here is obvious. Today we do not see even a hint that there are any unofficial ‘secret’ negotiations between the Romanian Patriarchate and the Moldovan Metropolis,” Chapnin notes.
According to him, the third idea, which rarely appears in public, is that the Moldovan church could become autocephalous (independent). But this is more like creating a new problem than solving the current one.
“This sounds like a big problem. Because within the Orthodox world, within the family of Orthodox churches, there is no common consensus on how to properly receive autocephaly. We see that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine received autocephaly five years ago from the Ecumenical Patriarch. And many churches, not only the Russian church, have not recognized this autocephaly so far,” the religion expert said.
So, nothing indicates that there can be a consensus even within the Moldovan Metropolis itself on autocephaly.
The last option, which is difficult but still possible to imagine, is the Moldovan Church as an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the territory of Moldova. (Such a special administrative-territorial unit, foreign in relation to the main church, implies greater autonomy, but without the right of autocephaly).
“It’s very important not to rush now. And I really appreciate that it is happening in Moldova. There is quite a broad and honest discussion going on, which is a rarity in the Orthodox world. Many reasonable voices can be heard. (...)
The most important thing now is not to push or prod. The Church is sane. I see that the Church in Moldova understands its responsibility to the people and to the state. It understands that now there are no clear recipes ready and there is a search for a solution. It is very important to support the Moldovan Metropolitan Church in the search for a solution that will reflect the wishes and intentions of the majority of the church,” the program guest said.
He noted that since Russia has declared Europe an enemy, and Moldova positions itself as a part of Europe and is not attracted to the “neo-imperialist construct” that Moscow is creating, the separation of the Moldovan church from the Russian Orthodox Church is inevitable. In addition, the distancing from Moscow will acquire not only declarative, but also more and more obvious administrative and canonical forms.
“And a further question. Moldova considers itself a part of the European community, and it includes the church community. There is a number of local Orthodox churches in Europe: in Poland, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece. This is a rather large Orthodox world. And what place would Moldova like to take in this Orthodox world of Central and Western Europe? I cannot advise anything, it should be the decision of the Moldovan Metropolitan Church itself,” Chapnin stressed.
He wished that in any case the decision would be peaceful and would not lead to further confrontation with the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia. He wished that “pastoral wisdom” would prevail in the attitude towards each other, and that even imminent mistakes would be forgiven.