Cities in MOLDOVA
About 98% of the population are Orthodox Christians. Under Soviet rule, all activities of the Orthodox Church were heavily suppressed, with the ultimate goal of the total abolition of all forms of religious expression. Churches and monasteries were demolished or used for other purposes. Priests were punished if they led a service. In 1991, Moldavia still had 853 Orthodox churches and 11 Orthodox monasteries. The Old Russian Orthodox Church at that time still had 14 churches and one monastery. The Moldovan Orthodox Church, subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, is the state religion in Moldova, but in 1992 freedom of religion was established by law.
It is still the case that all religious groups must be recognised by the government. But here, too, there is no unanimity. In 1992, the Bessarabian Church was established by dissident priests from the Moldovan Orthodox Church. An increasing number of Moldovan Orthodox are turning to this group, which is oriented towards the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate. In mid-1997 the Moldovan Supreme Court decided that the state should accept the Bessarabian Church. The government decided to appeal against this decision, while the Archbishop of the Moldovan Orthodox Church warned of a 'war between Orthodox Christians' in Moldova.
Other denominations include the Armenian Apostolic Church, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals and Molokans, a Russian Orthodox sect. The Moldovan Jews have retained their identity despite difficult times. In the early 1990s, several Jewish newspapers were started and a synagogue opened in the capital, Chisinau. The government also established a department of Jewish studies at the state university of Chisinau.
Williams, N. / Romania & Moldova
Belarus & Moldova : country studies
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