Moldovan Orthodox Church
The Moldovan Orthodox Church (canonical name: Metropolis of Chișinău and all Moldova) is an autonomous church under the Russian Orthodox Church, whose canonic territory covers the Republic of Moldova.
Together with the Metropolis of Bessarabia (an autonomous church under the Romanian Orthodox Church), it is one of the two major churches of Moldova. At the 2005 census, 3,158,015 people or 95.5% of those declaring a religion claimed to be Eastern Orthodox. The Moldovan Orthodox Church has also strained relations with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which only has a few followers in the country.
In October 1992 the Russian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Metropolitan Church of Chișinău and all Moldova. It holds the majority of the Eastern Orthodox population, parishes, monasteries, and churches in Moldova.
The church has four eparchies (bishoprics): Chișinău, Tiraspol and Dubăsari, Edineț and Briceni, Cahul and Comrat. Church languages are Romanian and Slavonic. Church music is Byzantine and Russian. The Moldovan Orthodox Church has 1,080 parishes, 30 monasteries, one academy and two seminaries.
The head of the Moldovan Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Vladimir, who is a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Relation with the Metropolis of Bessarabia
In the lead up to the independence of Moldova, the Romanian society and by the Romanian Orthodox Church encouraged reunification with Romania rather than independence. The Romanian Orthodox Church revived the Metropolis of Bessarabia, granted it autonomous status and gave it authority over (part) of the Republic of Moldova and other areas. The movement was started in 1992 by the bishop of Bălți, Petru Păduraru. It was also supported by political parties supporting reunification of Moldova and Romania. It considers itself to be the heir of the Metropolis of Bessarabia which existed in 1918-1940 during the period of Greater Romania.
The Metropolis of Bessarabia had about 84 parishes in Moldova at the moment of its new recognition.