News from the Orthodox World: Latvia, Albania and Austria

The Latvian Orthodox Church has consecrated a fourth bishop, without permission from the Patriarchate of Moscow. The new bishop, formerly Archpriest John Lipshans, a Latvian, means that the Latvian Church can continue being autocephalous, even if one of the present bishops passes away. (We recall that the present Metropolitan Alexander is in his eighties). Last year the Latvian Orthodox Church was granted ‘autocephaly’ by the Latvian Parliament and was forced to stop commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow, which means that all this is very controversial. However, we wonder if other fragments of the Russian Church outside the Russian Federation and Belarus, in other words, outside the political control of Patriarch Kyrill, will not do the same.

The Greek Archbishop Anastasios, the leader of the Albanian Orthodox Church, sent a letter of support to the elderly and ill Metr Jonathan of Tulchansk, who has been sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Ukraine for supporting the Patriarchate of Moscow. This is known as ‘opinion crime’ in the Ukraine. In a surprisingly virulent attack a certain Archimandrite Romanos Anastasiades of the Metropolia of Crete, which is in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, stated that Archbishop Anastasios is likely to die ‘without repentance’ for being pro-Russian. Archbishop Anastasios, apparently, is also guilty of ‘opinion crime’.

The former Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, has moved to the Ryazan province of Russia for the summer, fleeing threats and persecution for her non-woke views, especially on gender issues. She may eventually move there permanently and become one of many Western Europeans and Americans who have moved to Russia over the last year. These include a family of our parishioners.