The Russian Orthodox church in Amsterdam has announced it is to break from with the Moscow Patriarchate, over the invasion of Ukraine. In a statement on their website, the Russian Orthodox Parish of Saint Nicholas of Myra in Amsterdam, said it was no longer possible for the clergy to function within the Moscow patriarchate and provide "a spiritually safe environment for our faithful... "This decision is extremely painful and difficult for all concerned."
The full statement follows:
'Today an extraordinary meeting of the parish council took place. The reason for this meeting was the threat to the parish and the clergy which we reported to you previously.
During the meeting, the clergy unanimously announced that it is no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate and provide a spiritually safe environment for our faithful. They have asked Archbishop Elisey to grant them canonical dismissal. They have also sent a request to Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) to be received into his diocese. The metropolitan has expressed his willingness to consider the request and will request a canonical release from Archbishop Elisey.
The parish council has decided to support this move by the clergy and proposes that the parish follow the clergy in this. This proposal will be presented to a special General Parish Meeting on 26 March.
There will be no services in the church in the period leading up to the General Parish Meeting. This is due not only to concerns of safety, but also to pastoral considerations: in this extremely tense situation, it would be virtually impossible to achieve the prayerful atmosphere we strive for during services.
This decision is extremely painful and difficult for all concerned.
In closing, we would also like to share with you some positive news. On 11 March our parish received relics of St. Nicholas of Myra from Egmond Abbey. We see this as a sign of hope in these difficult times.'
The Parish Council
On 12 March, Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca from the World Council of Churches wrote to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, appealing for him to mediate in order to help end the war. The Patriarch, a strong supporter of Putin did not respond to this request, but in his reply spoke of a "large-scale geopolitical strategy aimed, first and foremost, at weakening Russia". In his sermon last Sunday he referred to gay pride parades organised in the west as part of the reason for the war.
Saint Nicholas of Myra church in Amsterdam is the first Russian Orthodox Church to break with Moscow. On 9 May, 280 Russian Orthodox priests from around the world signed a letter appealing for an end to the war and reconciliation. The said: "Our message is not to condemn, not to judge," he said. "We remind the state authorities of the fact that even if they avoid human judgment, they will not avoid divine judgment...The message is to show the way to repentance and to salvation."
Saint Nicholas of Myra church, Amsterdam - https://orthodox-amsterdam.nl/en/
Patriarch Kirill responds to WCC appeal for him to mediate - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/44245
Over 280 Russian Orthodox priests worldwide call for end to war - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/44226