Czech Orthodox Church head resigns over breach of oath accusation
15 APRIL 2013
Olomouc, North Moravia, April 12 (CTK) -
The Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church Metropolitan Krystof stepped down Friday amid his critics' allegations that he has breached his oath as a monk and had sex with women, a church dignitary said, adding that Krystof has resigned on his own for the sake of the church's unity.
Krystof (Christopher of Prague), 59, previously dismissed the accusations and said he would take legal steps to clean his name.
TV Nova reported last week that Krystof, who headed the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia from 2006, had several girlfriends with whom he has children. It said the urged Primate Krystof to refute the accusations by mid-May.
According to Nova, the church has accused Krystof of having sex with church synod discussed the issue at an extraordinary meeting and the wife of one of the priests for seven years. In addition, she is not the only woman with whom Krystof committed a sin. He has even children with others, maybe up to ten of them, Nova said.
After Krystof's resignation, the church's acting head will be the Olomouc-Brno Archbishop Simeon, 87, for about 40 days until a new primate is chosen.
"The metropolitan [Krystof] registered certain rising tensions that got unnecessarily dramatised. He decided it would be prudent to step down to secure peace," Simeon told journalists Friday.
Krystof has worked hard in the recent period, and now he can devote himself to academic work and prayers, Simeon said.
He said he has to take over Krystof's agenda and supervise the preparations of the celebration of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries SS Cyril and Methodius to medieval Moravia.
Orthodox church dignitaries from all over the world will arrive in the Czech Republic to attend the celebration in late May, Simeon said.
Krystof previously admitted that he has two daughters, both born before he took the oath as a monk.
He said the accusation may be linked to the ongoing property settlement between the Czech state and churches, within which 1.14 billion crowns is to go to the Orthodox Church.
"Some would like the money to be exclusively spent on humanitarian projects for seniors, ill people and children. Others, however, say the money should be deposited in funds to draw more money for priests' [pay]," Krystof told TV Nova a week ago.
The number of Orthodox Church's followers in the 10.5-million Czech Republic is estimated at 100,000. The number has been rising mainly in connection with the arrival of immigrants from Ukraine and other countries with the Orthodox tradition.
Krystof, whose civic name is Radim Pulec, was born in Prague on June 29, 1953.
He studied at the Hussite Theological Faculty in Prague, graduated from the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Presov, east Slovakia, and also pursued distance studies at the Theological Academy in Moscow. He achieved the title of doctor of philosophy at the Athens University in 1987.
In 1974, he was ordained to the diaconate and as a priest.
In 1985 he was tonsured, becoming a monk, and given the name Krystof (Christopher). He served at Prague's Cathedral of SS Cyril and Methodius. In 1988 he was elected bishop of Olomouc and Brno.
After the death of the then Czech and Slovak primate Dorotej (Dorotheus) in 2000, Krystof became archbishop of Prague and of the Czech Lands.
After the death of the Slovak primate Nikolaj in May 2006, Krystof became the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ÈTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ÈTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor and Monitor CE are not responsible for its content.