Moscow Church In Estonia Rejects ‘Russian World’ As Being At Odds With The Gospels – OpEd


The synod of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has declared that the idea of “a Russian world” now being pushed by Patriarch Kirill does not correspond to the Gospels and has called on all members of its denomination to “pray for peace and the safety of all residents of our independent Estonia.”

By rejecting Kirill’s position as expressed at the World Russian Popular Assembly at the end of March, the leaders of the EOC MP are following the strategy the Moscow church in Ukraine has in its attempt to defend itself against charges it is a foreign agent in Ukraine (

Whether that will help the EOC MP to maintain its separate status better than a similar approach has for the Moscow church in Ukraine remains to be seen. On the one hand, Estonia has had a much longer and more successful experience with having two Orthodox churches, one subordinate to Moscow and the other to Constantinople.

But on the other, the EOC MP has been under increasing pressure from the Estonian government which earlier this year ordered the head of that church, a Russian citizen, to leave after his Estonian residence permit expired (

Despite the small size of the EOC MP, the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin behind it have always seen its foothold in that Baltic country as critically important; and thus they can now be expected to respond extremely negatively if quietly to this latest Tallinn action (

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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