Friday, August 14, 2009

An attack on religious freedom in Moldova

First, the letter from Metropolitan Vladimir to Chisinau City Hall (Romanian original at http://logos.md, response from Arcadie Gherasim follows further down the page):

Dear Mr Mayor,

The Metropolitan of Chisinau and all Moldova wishes to express, on behalf of Orthodox Citizens of the Republic of Moldova which are part of the Metropolitan Church of Moldova, deep concern and indignation regarding an event which is the first to be held in our country:

The Adventist confession, which includes 13,503 members according to the last national census (which is only 0.34% of total population in RM), has announced its intention to hold on August 15 this year, in the Square of the Great National Assembly at 10.00, a concert under the fun slogan "Follow the Bible". This announcement was made on the electronic page of the official organizations and is spread through advertising panels in the city.

Because Article 5, art. 15, cap. 2 of the Law on the cults and their component parts of 11 July 2007 shows clearly that "the State recognizes the importance and primary role of the Orthodox Christian religion and the Orthodox Church of Moldova in the life, history and culture of people of the Republic of Moldova (Zimbru: Note that this communist law is a flagrant breach of the constitution under which no religion is to be officially recognised or favoured) , The Metropolitanate of Moldova, as the legal representative of Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Moldova (Zimbru: except for the "old believers" and members of the Basarabian Orthodox Church), believes that:

It is absolutely inadmissible that an aberrant minority religious group intends to use the Square of the Great National Assembly, the symbol of our national conscience, for propaganda and to instigate social disorder. In the same way, it is a provocation that, in front of the monument to the faithful prince Stefan cel Mare Sfint - the national hero - there will be conducted a meeting of an essence that is exactly opposed to the values for which the ruler fought for us and left to us, Orthodox citizens of this country, as a legacy at great cost;

The timing of this action is absolutely inappropriate. As is known, at this hour, the Metropolitan Cathedral "Nativity", located close to PMAN conducts each day, including Saturday, holy Liturgy, and such a type of demonstration-concert would produce serious inconvenience to Orthodox Christian citizens who wish to participate in the sacred Liturgy, moreover, that the concert will take place during the fast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary;

This demonstration is deeply manipulative because the adventists, under the neutral pretext of "Bible study", without transparent and relevant information in advance, is abusively proselytising citizens.

This year is dedicated fulfillment of 650 years since the foundation of Moldova. It is deeply important to us that the motivation for the establishment of this state was to protect these orthodox lands from the expansion of the holders of other faiths. Therefore, the organization of this event at the heart of the country, with an indicated goal totally against the nature of the people and the state is an extreme provocation, which revolts the orthodox and insults the memory of our ancestors.

During the last 2 weeks I have received a number of petitions from parishes and individual Christians expressing live indignation with regards to the event in question, which they qualify as being outrageous and revolting. The dissension that are spreading in the Church particularly worry me, which leads me to indicate that you find another place for such events which does not carry the symbolism of the Square of The Grand National Assembly.

Vladimir,
Metropolitan of Chisinau and all Moldova

The response from Arcadie Gherasim in this morning's "Timpul"

I read "The address by the Metropolitan of Moldova to the Chisinau City Hall regarding the sectarian concert" and I became extremely worried about the mentality into which our ancestral church has been led.

If it's true that this has been signed by Metropolitan Vladimir, then we are dealing with a regrettable pattern of intolerance, and with a violation of art. 31 of the Constitution of the Republic. Moreover, the offensive language used against the Adventist confession and the speculative and historical references, which are used as arguments against allowing an Adventist concert in the Square of the Great National Assembly, convinces us of the fact that those at the head of the Orthodox Church are so affected by communism that they are trying to apply the beliefs of the "holy father" Voronin. Put another way, after they have filled the holy places with communists, offending thousands of believers, now the Metropolitan is pouring out his fury on other confessions, without stopping to ask, however, why the people are running away from his priests.

Oh, and by the way, how come I have never seen a similar action against the "National Wine Day" which takes place in the same square, labelled as a "symbol of our national conscience"?

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