For the first time, Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, has come to Moldova. During the three-day visit, Patriarch has met with country’s most important officials and been praying for Moldova’s unity and good fortune. Although some Moldovans described the visit as a political manifestation from Russia, in the end it aroused fewer controversies than at the beginning.
Today the three-day visit of Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has ended. The Patriarch has visited Moldova for the first time since 2009 and his election by the Holy Synod. His coming to the country generated many controversies. Part of society expressing anti-Russian attitude interpret it as a political manifestation authored by Russia against Moldovan state. Some had been awaiting numerous protests even before the beginning of the visit. Analysts were expecting dismissal of Metropolitan Vladimir. In several media there were information that Metropolis of Chisinau and all Moldova would have been granted autocephaly and, as a result, become independent from the Moscow Patriarch. But no such thing happened. Official discontent expressed by Metropolis of Bessarabia, being under the Romanian Orthodox Church, notwithstanding, only a small group of Chisinau’s citizens protested in the streets.
During his visit, the Patriarch met with, among others, Prime Minister Vlad Filat, acting President Marian Lupu, and leader of oppositionist Communist Party Vladimir Voronin. Marian Lupu awarded Patriarch Kirill the highest state honour of Moldova – the Order of the Republic. According to the initial schedule, the head of Russian Orthodox Church was to visit all dioceses under the Moscow Patriarchate in the country. However, at the last minute and officially due to a bad state of Patriarch’s health, the journey was limited to Chisinau and Curchi Monastery. Unofficially, the Patriarch did not want to travel to Tiraspol in order to avoid participating in presidential campaign which has been taking place in Transnistria.
A substantial majority – 90 percent of Moldovan society – are Orthodox Christians. Currently in Moldova there are two Orthodox churches, which is a non-canonical situation: Metropolis of Chisinau and all Moldova under Moscow Patriarchate (almost 1200 parishes), and Metropolis of Bessarabia under Romanian Patriarchy (less than 130 parishes).