Clergy of the Lithuanian exarchate received an award for defending religious freedom

Nine clergymen of the Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriachate in Lithuania received an award from the Office of International Religious Freedom of the U. S. State Deparment. The Office released this message: 

Under pressure from Moscow, this group of nine Orthodox clergy were cast out of their churches because of their vocal opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Five priests (Fathers Mockus, Seliavko, Ananiev, Dauparas, and Sungaila) and two deacons (Deacons Miniotas and Ovchinnikov) from the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church in Lithuania, vigorously and publicly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and were defrocked. Two priests (Fathers Kakhta and Roi) from the Moscow-aligned Belarusian Orthodox Church, similarly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and fled to Lithuania after Lukashenka’s regime forced them to leave Belarus. They built a new religious community in Lithuania that welcomes Orthodox believers seeking to worship free from Moscow’s influence, including Lithuanians, Ukrainian war refugees, and exiles fleeing oppression in Belarus and Russia. Their bravery demonstrated the importance of faith separated from politics in the midst of war and dictatorship. This group now works to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda among Orthodox believers through their blog, which has become an information platform for religious leaders worldwide dismissed from Moscow-aligned Orthodox churches for their anti-war beliefs.


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VšĮ „Krikščionių ortodoksų iniciatyvų centras“
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