Archimandrite Michail Dandár elected Archbishop of Czech Lands

Prague, Nov. 23 (ČTK) — Michail Dandár was elected new Prague archbishop of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands, and his election ended the personnel disputes in the church, the Prague eparchy (diocese) office told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) today.

The personnel disputes started after Bishop Kryštof was forced to step down as Prague archbishop and head of the church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in April 2013.

The Church leadership then installed Archbishop Jachým in the top post, but a large part of the Church members did not recognize him as their legitimate head. They said he was not elected in accordance with the Church rules.

This opinion was shared by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the head of the world Orthodox Church. Jachým’s critics say the departure of Kryštof was masterminded by a group of Czech priests supported by the Moscow-seated patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The election held Nov. 22 was allegedly an attempt to confirm Jachým in the post of Prague archbishop.

According to ČTK’s sources, Jachým did not advance to the second round of the secret election, in which Marek Krupica and Dandár competed for the post.

Neither Krupica nor Dandár won the required two-thirds majority in the secret vote. Finally, a new vote followed, this time not secret, and Dandár won 78 percent of the vote.

A source within the church said fear of attachment to the Russian Orthodox Church has increased with Dandár’s election. Dandár is said to come from the German eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Amid the personnel dispute, Czech Orthodox believers applied for the registration of a new Czech Orthodox Church.

A few days ago, the Czech Culture Ministry suspended the distribution of the financial compensation to the Orthodox Church as part of church restitution due to current internal disputes.

As a result, the 40 million Kč the Orthodox Church should receive in January might end up in judicial or notarial deposit.

“I have done what was needed to prevent a possible abuse of the money,” Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) said.