Estonia Declines Residence Permit Extension for Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn and All Estonia
OCP News Service – 25/01/2024
Tallinn- Estonia: The Estonian Police and Border Guard Department announced its decision not to extend the residence permit of His Eminence Metropolitan Evgeny of Tallinn and All Estonia, formerly known as Valery Reshetnikov. This decision comes as the authorities believe Metropolitan Evgeny poses a threat to Estonia’s security due to his public activities and statements.
Metropolitan Evgeny, a citizen of Russia, had applied for an extension of his residence permit, which was declined by Estonian authorities. Despite warnings and conversations with the Ministry of Internal Affairs urging him to change his rhetoric, Metropolitan Evgeny continued to express support for actions deemed aggressive by Estonian officials.
Indrek Aru, head of the local Border Guard Bureau, explained that the decision to refuse the permit extension was based on Metropolitan Evgeny’s public support for the actions of the Russian government, particularly in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. The activities of Metropolitan Evgeny and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ were seen as promoting the internal security policies of the Russian Federation in Estonia.
The decision regarding Metropolitan Evgeny’s residence permit is specific to him personally and does not affect the Estonian Orthodox Church as a whole.
The Estonian authorities have been closely monitoring the activities of the Church since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022. While no specific examples of threats to national security were provided, authorities had previously summoned Metropolitan Evgeny and other bishops for meetings with representatives of the Interior Ministry.
Despite Metropolitan Evgeny’s statements against war and calls for peace, the state remained suspicious of the Estonian Church. Metropolitan Evgeny’s residence permit will expire on February 6, after which he must leave the country.
In response to the decision, the press service of the Estonian Church called on faithful members to strengthen their prayers for Metropolitan Evgeny and the Church as a whole. The Church did not provide further comments on the matter at this time.
OCP News Service