Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Head of Russian Orthodox church in Estonia confirms he is leaving country after expulsion order

Eugene Reshetnikov - Wikipedia

Metropolitan Yevgeniy of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will be leaving Estonia on Feb. 7 after the Estonian government did not extend his residence permit in January 2023, the ERR public broadcaster reported on Feb. 6, citing comments the Metropolitan made to Estonian authorities.

Estonian authorities have accused Metropolitan Yevgeniy of public statements and actions in support of Russian aggression. Tensions between Tallinn and Moscow surged following the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"The Estonian state will not extend the residence permit of the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Yevgeniy, whose civil name is Valeri Reshetnikov, because his activities are a security threat to Estonia," the Estonian police and border guard said in a press release.

Representatives of the Interior Ministry have repeatedly appealed to Metropolitan Yevgeniy, insisting he must cease publicly defending the Russian regime and Russia's military activities, the press release read.

"Despite previous warnings, Reshetnikov (Yevgeniy) has not changed his inappropriate behavior... Therefore, Reshetnikov's (Yevgeniy) actions are a security threat to the country."

Estonian authorities said that Yevgeniy has cooperated so far and plans to leave the country on time.  

The Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate represents only one branch of the country's Orthodoxy, the other being the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church under the direct jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.