History of EOC

There are yet problems in the Church relations between Estonia and Russia

Metropolitan Stephanos, who was enthroned in Tallinn last March, has told the «Aamun Koitto» that there remain yet problems in the Church relations between Estonia and Russia. One of the most central questions is the problem of the parishes that are under the Moscow Patriarchate.

According to the Metropolitan there can be no more than one orthodox Church in Estonia. HE Stephanos thinks that the parishes of the Russian Church can form a diocese of their own as the Moscow Patriarchate itself has lately proposed. Before a certain autonomy was planned to be given to the parishes under the Moscow.

The Metropolitan believes that as democracy and liberation from the burden of the communist times progress in Russian Church, the Church relations between Estonia and Russia will also improve.

Shortage of Priests

According to Metropolitan Stephanos there are both positive development and problems in the parishes of the Estonia Church. On the positive side the Metropolitan mentioned the stabilization of the administration of the Church and, as a result of this, also the building of the parish life on a more solid basis.

Two things have, according to HE Stephanos, influenced this development :
the support given by the Finnish Orthodox Church and especially by Archbishop John
the great work made by the Estonian presbyteras. The women have a considerable role in the educational and social work of the Estonian Church.

The greatest problems are the shortage of priests and the age structure of the clergy. There are no more than twenty priests and some of them are elderly. Most priests are very young and they lack both experience and sufficient formation. Because of the shortage of priests the Estonian Church cannot establish new parishes and make use of new church buildings as quickly as the Estonian Orthodox would like.

Another problem is insufficient knowledge of the orthodox faith and the vision of the activity of the Church only in liturgical terms. The Church has however an important social role to fulfill the Metropolitan underlined.

Even so the problems can be overcome with the help of God the Metropolitan said.

Inteview given to "AAMUN KOITTO" in Finland August 13, 1999

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