Читать по-русски

Very Rev. Vitalijus Mockus

At the beginning of March 2022, Very Rev. Vitalius Mockus, then Chancellor of the Orthodox Church of Lithuania, as well as Rev. Vitalis Dauparas and Rev. Gintaras Sungaila criticized in the media and on social networks the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill for his sermons which justified Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

On 17 March, an Eparchial meeting took place in Vilnius. At the meeting, Metropolitan Innokentiy asked all those present what to do next regarding the war.

Rev. Vitalis Dauparas

Mockus, Dauparas, and Sungaila proposed to suspend the commemoration of Patriarch Cyril, while Rev. Ananiev called on the Metropolitan to consider a possible change in the eparchy’s jurisdiction.

All proposals were rejected and the priests were reprimanded for their social networks activities. Rev. Sungaila and Rev. Dauparas requested resignations from minisrty for reasons of consciencious objections.

Rev. Gintaras Sungaila

Consequently, Metropolitan Innokentiy issued a strong-worded, first since the beginning of the war, appeal: “The position of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania is unchanged: we strongly condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine and pray to God for its speedy end. As you may have already noticed, Patriarch Kirill and I have different political views and takes on current events. His political statements about the war in Ukraine are his personal opinion. We in Lithuania do not agree with that.

The next week, the Metropolitan summoned Rev. Sungaila and Rev. Dauparas and informed that he did not accept their resignations from ministry and suggested that they would continue without commemorating the Patriarch in St Paraskeva Pyatnitskaya church; the priests accepted it and continued their ministry.

Very Rev. Vladimir Seliavko

Unexpectedly, on the same day of 14 April, Very Rev. Vitalius Mockus was dismissed from the posts of Chancellor of the Orthodox Church of Lithuania, the rector at the Cathedral of the Theotokos and the Dean of the Vilnius deanery; while Rev. Gintaras Sungaila and Rev. Vitalis Dauparas were dismissed from ministry, and campaign to discredit the priests began. On 23 April, on the eve of Easter, the Metropolitan’s letter about the mentioned priests’ “knife in the back” was posted on the doors of all churches. Also, the collection of signatures under the petition “on maintaining the unity of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church” was organised; after 3 months of intensive collection in all parishes, the signatures were handed over to the President of Lithuania, Gintaras Nausėda, on 8 July.

Rev. Georgy Ananiev

On the feast of the Vilna Martyrs, which was specially moved from 27 April to Saturday of Bright Week on 29 April, a procession was held against the mentioned above priests. Several hundred people were brought by bus from all over Lithuania. After the Liturgy, a “procession of the cross for the unity of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania and for peace in Ukraine” was arranged; at the end, a prayer service was held and many years were offered to Patriarch Kirill, while the mentioned priests were called by name in a special litany as those who fell into schism.

Dn Georgy Tsyburevkin

On 10 May, five priests — Vitalius Mockus, Vitalis Dauparas, Gintras Sungaila, Georgy Ananiev, and Vladimir Seliavko — were dismissed from ministry; deacon Georgy Tseburevkin’s request for dismissal made in solidarity with the above-mentioned priests was satisfied. On 23 June, Gintaras Sungaila was defrocked; on 29 June Vitalius Mockus, Vitalis Dauparas, Georgy Ananyev, and Vladimir Seliavko were also defrocked.