Ukrainian refugees and other members of the Orthodox community in Lithuania who do not want to pray in the Moscow Patriarchate on Orthodox Christmas Day are invited to do so in alternative places with a Ukrainian priest.
Ukrainian refugees invited to pray with priest without links to Moscow
© AP / Scanpix

The Christmas liturgy for the Orthodox will take place at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Klaipeda, the Church of St Johns in Vilnius and the A. Baranauskas and A. Vienuolis Memorial Museum in Anyksciai.

The services will be led by a chaplain from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Father Heorhiy Kovalenko, according to the ortodoksas.lt website. The services will be held in Ukrainian and partly Lithuanian.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius also announced that on Saturday, Orthodox Christmas Day, Kovalenko will give a Christmas speech before the Christmas tree in the Cathedral Square is dismantled.

"The Orthodox priests who, despite living in a free Lithuania, obey Moscow's evil Bishop Kirill who supports the Kremlin's aggression, are, of course, not invited to the event and are not welcome," the mayor said.

Some of the now-former Lithuanian Orthodox clergymen came up with an initiative that Lithuanian Orthodox Christians should break away from the Moscow Patriarchate and asked the Patriarch of Constantinople to allow Orthodox Christians in Lithuania to restore their canonical subordination to Constantinople.

In view of that, Metropolitan Inokentij, as the head of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church, unfrocked four priests in late June as they were found guilty of canonical crimes.

In late June, 2022, a general assembly of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church condemned the war in Ukraine and decided to accelerate the process of gaining more independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.

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