On Tuesday, 20 September, the Cabinet of Ministers authorized the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns to approach His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on behalf of the Republic of Latvia to inform about the amendments to the Latvian Orthodox Church Law adopted by the Saeima, which legally determine and strengthen the future status of the Latvian Orthodox Church.
Since its proclamation on 18 November 1918, it has always been important to the Republic of Latvia that the Latvian Orthodox Church should be fully independent and autonomous in an independent Latvia. Both in 1921 and in 1992, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate decided on the fully independent and autonomous status of the Latvian Orthodox Church.
Therefore, the Latvian State has a constitutional obligation to guarantee the status of the Latvian Orthodox Church as it is defined in Latvian law in accordance with the dialogue between the Latvian State and the Latvian Orthodox Church.
Therefore, His Excellency the President of the State of Latvia Egils Levits, in cooperation with the Minister of Justice, drafted and the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia adopted the law “Amendments to the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church”, which entered into force on 10 September and which legally determines and strengthens the future status of the Latvian Orthodox Church.
The Ministry of Justice informs that by amending the law, the Latvian state has recognized that the Latvian Orthodox Church with all its dioceses, parishes and institutions is fully autonomous and independent from any ecclesiastical authority outside Latvia (autocephalous church).
Therefore, a letter is sent to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with an appeal to use the canonical powers available to him and to issue the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Latvian Orthodox Church so that the Latvian Orthodox Church may comply with all the requirements of the Latvian Orthodox Church Law binding on it, including acting as a fully permanent and independent (autocephalous) church in its relations with the Latvian state and other Orthodox Churches.
The Ministry of Justice will send the signed letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for submission to the Department of External Relations of the Russian Patriarchate and a copy to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The letter on behalf of the Republic of Latvia to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is available on the Legal Acts Portal.