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Bessarabian Orthodox priests harrassed again by Moldovan authorities

Moldovan police have stated investigating the case of several Bessarabian Orthodox priests (two of them are Romanian citizens) accused of organizing an unauthorized march between Girgiuleşti and Cahul. The priests deny the charges calling their action a religious procession which is exempted from any authorization procedure.

The police move comes after recent incidents în which two other Bessarabian Othodox priests had been denied entry to Moldova and still two others had received orders to leave the contry.

At the end of last year, Moldovan President Voronin threatened to revoke the Bessarabian church's right to registration. The threat came in response to a decision by the Romanian Orthodox Church, to whose patriarchy the Bessarabian Orthodox Church belongs, to reactivate three additional dioceses in Moldova under the control of the Bessarabian church.

On December 26 the head of the Bessarabian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Petru Paduraru was harrassed by Moldovan border guards when he returned from Romania.

The Chişinău Government registered the Bessarabian Orthodox Church in 2001 only after being obliged to by the European Court of Human Rights.

Podcast Politigraf