Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova

This article is about one of the Orthodox churches in Moldova. For other uses, see Moldovan Orthodox Church (disambiguation).
Moldovan Orthodox Church
Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova

Territory  Moldova
Headquarters Chișinău, Moldova
- Total

1,286 communities
Sui iuris church Self-governing Metropolis of the Moscow Patriarchate
Established 1813/1944
Language Moldavian,[1] Slavonic
Music Byzantine and Russian
Current leadership
Bishop Metropolitan Vladimir

The Moldovan Orthodox Church (Moldovan: Biserica Ortodoxă din Moldova; Russian: Правосла́вная це́рковь Молдо́вы) or the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova (Moldovan: Mitropolia Chișinăului și a întregii Moldove; Russian: Кишинёвско-Молда́вская митропо́лия) is a self-governing church under the Russian Orthodox Church. Its canonical territory is the Republic of Moldova.

The Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova is considered the largest church in the country, and one of the two main Orthodox churches in Moldova (beside the Metropolis of Bessarabia, a self-governing metropolitanate of the Romanian Orthodox Church). In the 2004 census in Moldova 3,158,015 people or 95.5% of those declaring a religion claimed to be Eastern Orthodox Christians of all rites.

The head of the Moldovan Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Vladimir (Cantarean), who is a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Eparchies of the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova

It is believed that Orthodox Christianity was first brought to Romania and Moldova by the Apostle Andrew. Be that as it may, by the 14th century the Orthodox Church in Moldavia—today northeastern Romania, Moldova, and southwestern Ukraine—was under the authority of the Metropolitan of Galicia in modern-day western Ukraine. In 1391, however, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which had jurisdiction over the region, elected a metropolitan for Moldavia specifically (Metropolis of Moldavia). By the 15th century this metropolitan was elected by the autocephalous Church of Ohrid, but following the abolition of the latter it returned to the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople. During this time, in the 17th century, the churches in Moldavia transitioned from using Slavonic to Romanian.

In 1812, the eastern half of Moldavia (renamed Bessarabia)—roughly corresponding to the Republic of Moldova and the Ukrainian district of Budjak—was annexed by the Russian Empire, which placed the Orthodox Church in this territory under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, which in 1813 established the Eparchy of Kishinev (Chișinău) and Hotin under Metropolitan Gavril (Bănulescu-Bodoni) to care for the region's Orthodox Christians. In 1918, after the region came under Romanian rule, the Archdiocese of Kishinev came, against protests of the Russian Orthodox Church, under the subordination of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Unwilling to accept the changes that came, its bishop was replaced.[2][3]

In 1922, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church set up two more dioceses in Bessarabia—the Diocese of Hotin, seated in Bălți, and the Diocese of the Cetatea Albă, seated in Ismail—and, in 1927, the Orthodox Church in Bessarabia was raised to the rank of the Metropolis of Bessarabia.

Following the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union annexed Bessarabia and proclaimed the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Metropolis of Bessarabia was forced to interrupt its activity.[2] In the same period, the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church established on the territory of the new republic a new Diocese of Kishinev. In 1990, the Orthodox Church was raised to the rank of the Archdiocese.[4]

A year after independence from the USSR as the Republic of Moldova in 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Orthodox Church in the new country, as the Moldovan Orthodox Church, and raised the rank of the Archdiocese to the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova.[5]

Structure and organization

The Moldovan Orthodox Church claims exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Church in Moldova, although this is contested by the Romanian Orthodox Church and its Metropolis of Bessarabia. The Church of Moldova currently consists of five eparchies or dioceses: Chișinău under Metropolitan Vladimir (Cantarean), vicar of Soroca, under Bishop Ioan (Moșneguțu) ,Bălți and Fălești under Bishop Marchel (Mihăescu), Cahul and Comrat under Bishop Anatolie (Botnari), Edineț and Briceni under Bishop Nicodim (Vulpe), Tiraspol and Dubăsari under Archbishop Savva (Volkov), and Ungheni and Nisporeni under Bishop Petru (Musteață), As of 2010 the Church of Moldova had 1,231 parishes, 46 monasteries, 9 sketes, a theological academy, and two theological seminaries served by 7 hierarchs, 1,395 priests, and 107 deacons.

Since the grant of autonomy to the Moldovan Orthodox Church by the Moscow Patriarchate the Church has administered its local affairs through a local synod chaired by its primate, the Metropolitan of Chișinău and All Moldova, and consisting of the primate and the Church's eparchial or diocesan bishops.

Relations with the Metropolis of Bessarabia

In the lead-up to the independence of Moldova, the Romanian Orthodox Church reactivated the interwar Metropolis of Bessarabia, granted it autonomy, and gave it authority over the Republic of Moldova and areas in southwestern Ukraine with Romanian populations. The Metropolis was started in 1992 by the Moldovan Orthodox Bishop of Bălți, Petru (Păduraru). In 2006, the Supreme Court of Justice of Moldova recognised the Autonomous Metropolis of Bessarabia, as "historical, canonical and spiritual successor of the Metropolis of Bessarabia which functioned until 1944 including".[2]

The Metropolis of Bessarabia had 84 parishes in Moldova at the time of its organization, and is considered a schismatic organization by the Moldovan Orthodox Church and its mother, the Russian Orthodox Church. On the other hand, the Romanian Orthodox Church is in favour of a "peaceful coexistence and brotherly cooperation between the two Orthodox Metropolises depending on the two sister Orthodox Patriarchies".[2]

See also


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