Lithuania allocates funding to Phanar Exarchate due to Ukrainians

22 February 12:15
Lithuanian Seimas. Photo: RBC Lithuanian Seimas. Photo: RBC

Both the Lithuanian Church and the Phanar Exarchate will receive €77,600 each in 2024.

The Lithuanian authorities have allocated funds for religious denominations in the country for 2024. The Lithuanian Church, subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, and the newly established Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople will each receive €77,600, according to LRT.

"Budget allocations to religious organisations’ leaderships were distributed taking into account the canons and statutes of traditional Lithuanian churches and religious organisations, as well as believer numbers published by the State Data Agency," the Ministry of Finance commented.

According to the latest census conducted in 2021, there are around 105,000 Orthodox believers in Lithuania. The Phanar Exarchate has only one congregation, while there are 52 in the Lithuanian Church.

The Lithuanian authorities explain the equal funding by claiming that the Ukrainian migrants who have come to the country allegedly prefer the Constantinople Patriarchate. The Ministry of Finance states that the decision to allocate equal funding to the structures of the Exarchate and the Lithuanian Church "is mainly due to tens of thousands of Ukrainians having arrived in Lithuania in the wake of Russia's invasion."

"The start of this year saw the establishment of another Orthodox religious community, the Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which unites part of the nearly 84,000 Ukrainian citizens who came to Lithuania due to Russia's hostilities against Ukraine and were granted temporary protection here," the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance told the publication.

According to the ministry, it is assumed that Ukrainian refugees are inclined to practice their faith in communities of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

It will be recalled that in February, the Lithuanian authorities registered the Exarchate of the Constantinople Patriarchate in the country.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote about a Ukrainian community functioning within the Lithuanian Church in Vilnius.



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