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ЗАЯВЛЕНИЕ НАСТОЯТЕЛЯ СВ. – Православного прихода русской традиции в Стокгольме

Vitaliy Babushin prays for victory over enemy - Ukraine
Vitaliy Babushin prays for victory over enemy

The Russian Orthodox Church at Mariatorget in Stockholm

On Sunday, May 12, 2019, the following incident occurred in the Holy Transfiguration Church in Stockholm. After the service, a fairly large group of people invaded the church, a representative of which handed the rector Archpriest Angel an envelope with the requests of the group members to accept them as members of the parish. An ultimatum was presented: to convene a general meeting of the parish within two weeks to discuss the “current situation.” Some of those present were members of the parish earlier but left it six months ago due to attempts to destroy the church world in the parish. It is no secret that our former parishioners founded the “Truth” parish and that they subjected both the community of the Holy Transfiguration Church and the rector personally to slanderous attacks. At the same time, among those demanding, there were people who had not previously visited the parish.

Also, demands were made for the transfer of the parish under the omophorion of the Patriarch of Moscow due to the fact that the parish is Russian. For this, the convocation of a general parish meeting was required. The group’s behavior was unfriendly and aggressive; shouts of anti-Swedish, anti-Georgian, anti-Ukrainian, anti-Bulgarian, and anti-Semitic content were heard. The situation is out of control. The child’s baptism scheduled for 2 pm was severely delayed, passions flared up, and members of the parish council were forced to call the police. Only then did the group leave the temple.

With this statement, we express our disagreement with the behavior of these people, behavior that is not only non-Christian but also illegal, and we grieve for the desecration of our church by this scandal, attacks, and insults.

We also remind you of the status of our parish. You can read more about its history on this site. We officially declare that the Holy Transfiguration parish is Russian in terms of history, liturgical tradition, reverence for the memory of our ancestors, and spiritual and cultural self-identification. This applies to the Church Slavonic language of divine services (services in Swedish are held once a month), and Sunday sermons are delivered in modern Russian. The Russian singing tradition is preserved and developed. The Julian Church Calendar is observed. During the services, the saints of the Russian Church are commemorated as a priority. The parish has a children’s school in the Russian language, spiritual talks are held in Russian, and the library fund consists mainly of books by Russian-speaking and Russian writers.

Otherwise, the parish has not been “purely” Russian since 1931 (section “History”), but until 2019 was under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the diocesan center in Paris. The Russian state has never had anything to do with the administrative and financial issues of our church. Spiritual and Eucharistic relations have always been maintained with the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as with other Local Churches of world Orthodoxy.

Being under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, our parish had no administrative ties with the Moscow Patriarchate for 90 years.

Canonically, due to the Interchurch crisis described in the “Documents” section, the parish is currently part of the Metropolitanate of the Bulgarian Patriarchate, preserving Eucharistic communion with all Orthodox Churches and staying away from political strife.

Nevertheless, having existed for 400 years in the Kingdom of Sweden, our parish is also Swedish. Our Christian duty is to bear witness to the blessed gifts of Holy Orthodoxy in the country of which we are full citizens. Therefore, in parallel with Church Slavonic and Russian, it is natural for us to serve, preach and communicate in Swedish, recalling that Orthodoxy is not an exotic religion of “migrants”, but the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, in which our life lies.

All church premises are rented from us, as it has been since the founding of the parish in 1617. The parish almost never interrupted its lengthy liturgical figure, many times changing its addresses in the center of Stockholm and not owning real estate.

According to the Charter, the management of practical and financial affairs is entrusted to the Church Parish Council. The activities of the parish are financed through donations from believers, the sale of candles, and partly (about of the budget) from a state allowance allocated to many religious communities in Sweden.

As a spiritual wealth and a sacred right of spiritual nourishment for the sole purpose of saving human souls, the Holy Transfiguration parish of Stockholm belongs to all Orthodox Christians of the Kingdom of Sweden, who are its members in accordance with the provisions of the parish Statute. In addition to Russians, Orthodox Christians are cared for in our parish: Swedes, Finns, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, Belarusians, Poles, Slovaks, Greeks, Romanians, Serbs, French, British, Germans, Spaniards, Jews, and Bulgarians. We are all “one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28).

In spirit, our church is a real pre-image of the still unfulfilled ideal of the supra-ethnic, local (territorial) organization of the Orthodox Church in the so-called “diaspora”.

We strongly condemn xenophobia in any form, chauvinism, and politicization of church life, considering this a manifestation of the dangerous heresy of Ethnophyletism, which today is a spiritual affliction among all Orthodox Christians.

We call for church peace, for the preservation of the purity of Orthodox teaching and gospel values, for a common pan-Orthodox testimony of Eucharistic unity in the Body of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has risen from the dead and with His Blood redeemed us from sin.


Orthodox Parish Russian tradition in Stockholm


You’re in the Lord,
Archpriest Angel Velichkov
Stockholm, 2019.05.12