Moscow, Constantinople Patriarchates seeking solutions to Church in Estonia

The Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates have expressed the hope to settle the problems of the Orthodox Church in Estonia.

"Both sides found it expedient to find a universal solution at negotiations," says a memorandum posted on the Moscow Patriarchate's website after the Zurich meeting of church delegations.

In particular, the solution will center on the "church's real estate in Estonia in line with the Zurich agreements of 1996," the website said.

The agreement reached between the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates in Zurich on April 22, 1996, said that all Orthodox believers would have equal property and other rights in Estonia. It also said that the believers were free to chose their leaders.

The prospective solution "will refer to the canonical status of the Constantinople and Moscow Patriarchates in Estonia," the website said.

The status of the so-called Estonian Autocephalous Church, which was established by the Constantinople Patriarchate in Estonia in 1996, despite the objections of the Russian Orthodox Church, forced the Moscow Patriarchate's delegation to leave the Ravenna meeting of the Joint Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission in October 2007.