Estonia has taken a decisive step to safeguard its national security by ordering the expulsion of Metropolitan Yevgeny, also known as Valery Reshetnikov, the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, reported the Estonian public broadcaster ERR today.
The Estonian authorities have declined to renew the residence permit of Metropolitan Yevgeny, setting a deadline of 6 February 2024 for him to leave the country, citing concerns over his perceived threat to national security, as per ERR.
Repeated appeals were made to Metropolitan Yevgeny by the Estonian government to refrain from supporting the Kremlin regime and Russia’s military actions in his public statements. However, the metropolitan continued to defy these requests, prompting the Estonian government’s decision, according to a spokesperson.
As of now, neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor Estonian authorities have issued immediate comments regarding the expulsion order.
Estonia, along with its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania, supports Ukraine in its struggle against the Russian invasion. Having been under the rule of the former Soviet Union, these three Baltic states are now members of NATO and the European Union, aligning with Ukraine’s aspirations for EU membership.
In predominantly secular Estonia, the Orthodox Church holds a significant presence, especially among the Russian minority, with 16% of the population professing faith in it. Russians constitute almost a quarter of Estonia’s 1.3 million people, based on the 2021 census, while the Lutheran Church stands as the second-largest religious affiliation, embraced by 8% of the population.
This expulsion comes in the wake of the Estonian Internal Security Service’s recent announcement of the arrest of a Russian citizen, a professor at Tartu University, on suspicion of spying for Moscow earlier this week.
Source: ANA-MPA / orthodoxtimes.com