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Open letter to the Council of Churches of Estonia

Open letter to the Council of Churches of Estonia

Dear Archbishop Urmas Viilma, the Chairman of Estonian Council of Churches!
Dear brothers and sisters in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Beloved in our Lord Christians of all local churches who confess Christ as the living God!

Our appeal to you as our brothers and sisters in Christ was prompted by the extremely alarming developments (unfolding) pertaining to our convent.

The world beyond the walls of our monastery is the realm of boiling passions, ever more colliding contradictions and blazing wars including that between Russia and Ukraine, who only yesterday were regarded as germane Orthodox nations.

This bloodstained armed conflict in the heart of Europe inflicts a deep-seated pain on the hearts of our nuns. We beg our Lord in our incessant prayers to manifest His gracious power and conciliate the parties to this brutal military conflict, reminiscent of the horrific world wars of the past.

Oh, Lord, let it not be so!

To our deep regret Pükhtitsa Convent and our nuns are being dragged into a political controversy alien to the very essence of the monastic way of life.

The authorities of the Republic of Estonia want us to break our consanguineous ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which, in the person of its Patriarch, did take one of the sides in this armed conflict. In other words we are expected to voluntarily renounce our Stauropegion (direct subordination to the Patriarch).

Such a step is simply impossible as far as we are concerned. The representatives of the Estonian Authorities may fail to realize or understand such matters, but you, our brothers in Christ, do know what canonical bonds with the Mother Church really mean to a monastery.

By no means we are in position or entitled to the unilateral breach, since the Stauropegion of our Closter is provisioned by its Charter, which is not subject to change in our sole discretion.

Our Convent received the Stavropegion back in 1990 owing to the commitment and efforts of the ever-memorable Patriarch Alexy II (Ridiger). His memory is sacred to the nuns of the monastery, for it was he who, then bishop of Tallinn, saved the monastery from closure during Khrushchev’s atheistic times.

Since its foundation in 1891 Pükhtitsa Monastery has been continuously praying to the Lord for 133 years now. Meanwhile, the world has changed dramatically. The Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church was restored in the post-synodal period, hence this is the fifth Primate on the Patriarchal Throne so far.

We are reminding you of these developments with the sole purpose of making it clear that our Convent has never been subject to the passions of socio-political life and since the first years to the present day has remained inviolably faithful to its monastic purpose and calling, centered around prayer and labour.

Therefore, we are deeply convinced that the state intervention into a centennial tenor of monastic life is devoid of any constructive sense.

People have been prayed and working in the monastery during the Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union (USSR), as well as the Republic of Estonia, thus we sincerely hope that we would not be deprived of the possibility to offer our prayers to God for the peaceful living to be granted to the whole Earth, all countries and every single nation.

We appeal to you as Christians, regardless of your confessional affiliations, with a convincing request to support Pükhtitsa Monastery in every possible way as much as you can.

Every believer definitely understands that the politics, let alone political pressure, is completely alien to monasticism.

Our Convent is beyond politics. This is our credo. And we dare to hope that your prayers would be instrumental in conveying this obvious truth to the authorities of the Republic of Estonia, for whom we have great respect.

Hegumenia Philareta with her sisters