Russian priests in Amsterdam leave Moscow Patriarchate
The Russian Orthodox parish in Amsterdam announced Saturday it will no longer function within the Moscow Patriarchate and has asked the archbishop of the diocese of The Hague and the Netherlands to grant canonical dismissal.
The parish’s four priests and deacon unanimously decided it was no longer possible to “provide a spiritually safe climate” for their congregants within the Moscow Patriarchate and have requested to be included in a different diocese. They called the decision “extremely painful and difficult” in an announcement on the parish’s website.
The decision comes after the parish expressed its disagreement with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who gave his “full support” for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The parish also objected to priests in Russia being punished for supporting peace. The Netherlands’ archbishop subsequently paid a “threatening,” unannounced visit to the parish in a diplomatic car, which sources believed belonged to the Russian embassy, according to the Nederlands Dagblad.
The archbishop allegedly told them, "There is great interest in your church.” The priests understood this as an implicit threat, sources told the Nederlands Dagblad.
The parish council supports the priests and deacon in their request, and will hold a special parish meeting on March 26. Until that time, no services will be held in the church. This is in part due to safety concerns –– parish members have received multiple threats and the church building was vandalized on Tuesday with a controversial pro-Russian symbol, according to Nederlands Dagblad.
“In this extremely tense situation, it would be virtually impossible to achieve the prayerful atmosphere we strive for during services,” the announcement said of the decision.
Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius visited the parish on Saturday. She called the parish’s stance “impressive.”
Tevens een bezoek gebracht aan de Russisch-Orthodoxe Kerk. De parochie kwam in opstand toen het hoofd van de kerk in Moskou afgelopen week een preek hield waarin hij— Dilan Yesilgöz - Zegerius (@DilanYesilgoz) March 12, 2022
homoseksuelen de schuld gaf vd oorlog in Oekraïne.
Indrukwekkend hoe de A’damse parochie staat voor verbinding. pic.twitter.com/Tfqd1LV6nS