Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 1997, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe
Actions of the Russian Orthodox Church Council, 18-22 February 1997
Sources: OMRI, no. 37, 21 February 1997; Express-Khronika, 24 February 1997; Jim Vail, "Religious Cults Demand Day in Court," Moscow Times, 15 January 1997, 1-2.
Delayed a decision on the question of the canonization of Nicholas II,
executed along with his family by the Communists in July 1918.
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad canonized Nicholas II, his wife,
Alexandra, and their five children in 1981.
Excommunicated former Metropolitan Filaret (Denisenko). Defrocked
in 1992, he now is patriarch of the breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox
Church--Kyiv Patriarchate. Filaret, widely known for longstanding
ties to the KGB and for a morally compromised lifestyle, was a leading
but unsuccessful candidate for the Moscow Patriarchate, which was
filled instead by Metropolitan Alexei of Leningrad in 1991.
Excommunicated Father Gleb Yakunin, former Soviet prisoner of
conscience, human rights activist, ex-Duma deputy, and head of the
Committee to Defend Freedom of Conscience. Open Media
reported Yakunin's conviction that the move is "revenge for his charge
that senior Orthodox priests cooperated with the KGB during the Soviet
era." The excommunication may also be in part a response to Yakunin?s
pending suit against Alexander Dvorkin and the Moscow Patriarchate's
Department of Education for slander against religious cults.
Yakunin has been a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Kyiv
Patriarchate since 1994.
According to the recently published report, "Kui kristlik on Eestimaa?" ("How Christian is Estonia?,"
available in Estonian and English), Estonia, the northernmost Baltic
nation, has 1,476,031 inhabitants and only 491 Christian
churches. Church attendance in the country is stagnant or declining.
Sources: DAWN Europe and MissionNet, a ministry of Resources International, 1 April 1997.
News Notes, East-West Church & Ministry Report, 5 (Spring 1997), 13.
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© 1997 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
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