Latvia’s Parliament, the Saeima, has approved the law establishing the Latvian Orthodox Church’s independence from any church authority outside the country, the statement was published on the Saeima’s website.
“With the approval of this law, historical autonomy and independence of the Latvian Orthodox Church has been strengthened, which prevented the Russian Orthodox Church from having any influence or power over our Orthodox Church,” Artuss Kaimiņš, chair of the Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee, said.
The statement notes that this decision “corresponds with the interests of the Latvian Orthodoxy, the whole of society, and national security”. The Latvian Church has until 31 October to change their statute in accordance with the approved amendments.
Earlier, President of Latvia Egils Levits introduced amendments aimed at separation of the Latvian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.
“A decision on granting the Latvian Orthodox Church autocephaly can be made exclusively by the Mother Church, i.e. the Moscow Patriarchate. A decision like this being made by any form of state authority would mean an anti-constitutional interference in the internal affairs of the Church,” was the response from the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (quote by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti).