The Orthodox Church of Russia plans to widen its activities in Finland. Aleksei II, the Patriarch of Moscow, told the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE's TV-news on Friday that the Orthodox Church has to take care of the spiritual needs of Russians living in Finland, and to give them an opportunity to attend services that are held in Church Slavonic.
The Orthodox Church of Finland belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - not to the Patriarchate of Moscow.
The current head of Finland's Orthodox Church, Archbishop Leo, commented on the news to Helsingin Sanomat on Friday evening by saying that the Patriarch of Moscow has promised him he would honour the autonomous canonical status of the Orthodox Church of Finland.
"I do not believe that Aleksei would have spoken so abruptly", the Archbishop noted.
He stressed that Church Slavonic is already being used in the services of Finnish Orthodox parishes.
A large number of Russian immigrants have joined the Orthodox Church of Finland. "We are doing our best to serve all immigrants and to offer them a spiritual home", Archibishop Leo concluded.