In collaboration with the Minister of Justice, I have prepared and this morning submitted for examination to the Saeima amendments to the Law on the Latvian Orthodox Church.
These amendments provide for the full recognition of the self-contained and independent (autocephalous) status of the Latvian Orthodox Church.
This is the status that was historically de facto established for our orthodox church by the 6(19) July 1921 Tomos issued by Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Tikhon to Archbishop Jānis Pommers and the Cabinet of Ministers Regulation of 8 October 1926 on the Status of the Orthodox Church.
With these legislative amendments the state of Latvia recognises that the Latvian Orthodox Church is completely self-contained and independent (autocephalous) church. It is not dependent on any other pastoral power outside of Latvia.
By coming into force the law will preclude any influence or power over our orthodox church by the Patriarch of Moscow.
Rejecting any link with the Patriarch of Moscow is a crucial matter for our orthodox community, the whole society of Latvia and national security.
In an independent and democratic state of Latvia based on the rule of law the orthodox community needs its own autonomous and independent church. That has been, is and will always be the position of the state of Latvia. Under Archibishop Jānis Pommers, this was already achieved shortly after the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia.
I have discussed the elaborated draft law with the Speaker of the Saeima and the chairpersons of all parliamentary groups of the Saeima.
In these discussions, I heard full understanding of the situation and support for this initiative. The Latvian Orthodox Church has also been informed about the elaborated draft law.
I can confirm that the Latvian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Alexander can count on full support from the state of Latvia as an autocephalous church henceforth also recognised in law.
The draft law has been discussed with all of the competent state institutions, it has been examined in the National Security Council and information has been provided to the National Security Committee, as well as the Human Rights and Social Affairs Committee of the Saeima, which will responsible for the further processing of this draft law.
We are all in agreement that the matter must not be delayed.
I have asked the Saeima to recognise this draft law as urgent and adopt it as soon as possible.