Moldovan Orthodox Church

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Orthodox Church of Moldova
Jurisdiction Russia
Diocese type Semi-autonomous
Founded 1401
Current bishop Vladimir (Cantarean)
See(s) Chişinău
Headquarters Chişinău, Moldova
Territory Moldova (including Transdniestria)
Liturgical language(s) Church Slavonic, Romanian
Musical tradition Russian Chant, Byzantine Chant
Calendar Julian
Population estimate 2,000,000
Official website Official Website

The Moldovan Orthodox Church (Officially: Orthodox Church of Moldova, Russian: Православная Церковь Молдовы, Romanian: Biserica Ortodoxă din Moldova) is an autonomous entity of the Russian Orthodox Church with canonical jurisdiction in Moldova, including the disputed region of Transdniestria.

It should not be confused with the Metropolis of Bessarabia, an autonomous part of the Romanian Orthodox Church with jurisdiction in Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church considers the Metropolis of Bessarabia as an uncanonical entity.

Moldova has a total population of 3,388,000, 76.1% of whom identify themselves as Moldovans (national census of 2004). A census in the early 1990s showed 90% of the citizens of Moldova marked themselves as Orthodox Christian.

Short History

From 1373 to 1401 Moldavia was a self-ruled church until Ottoman conquest.

From 1401-1812 the territory was part of different eparchies of the Patriarchate of Constantinople which in turn was responsible to the Ottoman Sultanate. From 1791 to 1812 the territory was part of the Moldovo-Wallachian Exarchate of Constantinople.

From 1812 to 1918 the territory constituted the Chisinau Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its first Metropolitan was Gavriil (Banulescu-Bodoni). Its last metropolitan was Anastasios, the future first-hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

From 1918 to 1940 the territory constituted part of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia during the existence of Greater Romania.

From 1940 to 1992 the territory constituted the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova of the Church of Russia.

In October 1992 the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova was granted autonomy by the Church of Russia.

Current Autonomy

In the lead-up to the independence of Moldova, a significant part of the population wanted reunification with Romania rather than independence. They were encouraged by Romanian authorities, and by the Church of Romania. The Church of Romania revived the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, granted it autonomous status and gave it authority over (part) of Moldova and other areas.

In October 1992 the Church of Russia granted autonomy to the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova which holds the vast majority of the Orthodox population, parishes, monasteries, and churches in Moldova. This Metropolis is usually now known as the Moldovan Orthodox Church.

The Moldovan Orthodox Church has 1,080 parishes. The Metropolis of Bessarabia, has about 84 parishes within the nation of Moldova. The Old Rite Russian Orthodox Church make up approximately 3.6% of the population.

The head of the Moldovan Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Vladimir, who is one of the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Moldovan Orthodox Church has four eparchies: Chisinau, Tiraspol and Dubasari, Edinets and Briceani, plus Cahul and Comrat. Church languages are Romanian and Slavonic. Church music is Byzantine and Russian. Entities are 1080 parishes, 30 monasteries, 1 academy, 2 seminaries.

The autonomous Metropolitanate of Basarabia is said to have 30 to 84 parishes in Moldova, the Odesa region of Ukraine, and the Chuvash region of Russia in the Ural mountains. It was founded by the bishop of Balti, Petru (Paduraru) in 1992, with the support of the Church of Romania. It was also supported by political parties opposing independence for the Republic of Moldova. It considers itself to be the heir of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia which existed in 1918-1940 during the period of Greater Romania.

Conflict continues between the Church of Romania and the Church of Russia over Moldova and other areas.

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