The Republic of Moldova is an independent state in Eastern Europe where the majority of the population speaks Romanian language but only 2.1% of them consider themselves to be Romanians.
Out of a total population of 3,388,000, 76.1% identify themselves as Moldovans (national census of 2004). A census in the early 1990s showed 90% of the citizens of Moldova marked themselves as Orthodox Christian.
The Moldovan Orthodox Church, whose territory is wholly contiguous with the nation of Moldova, is an autonomous church under the Russian Orthodox Church.
From 1373 to 1401 Moldavia was a self-ruled church until Ottoman conquest.
From 1401-1812 the territory was part of different eparchies of the Patriarchate of Constantinople which in turn was responsible to the Ottoman Sultanate. From 1791 to 1812 the territory was part of the Moldovo-Wallachian Exarchate of Constantinople.
From 1812 to 1918 the territory constituted the Chisinau Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its first Metropolitan was Gavriil (Banulescu-Bodoni). Its last metropolitan was Anastasios, the future first-hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
From 1918 to 1940 the territory constituted part of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia during the existence of Greater Romania.
From 1940 to 1992 the territory constituted the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova of the Church of Russia.
In October 1992 the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova was granted autonomy by the Church of Russia.
In the leadup to the independence of Moldova, a significant part of the population wanted reunification with Romania rather than independence. They were encouraged by Romanian authorities, and by the Church of Romania. The Church of Romania revived the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, granted it autonomous status, giving it authority over Moldova in opposition to the existing Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova.
In October 1992 the Russian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Metropolis of Chisinau and Moldova, which holds the vast majority of the Orthodox population, parishes, monasteries, and churches in Moldova. This Metropolis is usually now known as the Moldovan Orthodox Church.
The Moldovan Orthodox Church has 1,080 parishes. The Metropolis of Bessarabia, has about 84 parishes within the nation of Moldova. The Old Believers Orthodox Church make up approximately 3.6% of the population.
The head of the Moldovan Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Vladimir, who is one of the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Moldovan Orthodox Church has four dioceses: Chisinau, Tiraspol and Dubasari, Edinets and Briceani, plus Cahul and Comrat. Church languages are Romanian and Slavonic. Church music is Byzantine and Russian. Entities are 1080 parishes, 30 monasteries, 1 academy, 2 seminaries.
The autonomous Metropolitanate of Basarabia is said to have between 30 and 84 parishes in Moldova, the Odesa region of Ukraine, and the Chuvash region of Russia in the Ural mountains. It was founded by the bishop of Balti, Petru (Paduraru) in 1992, with the support of the Church of Romania. It was also supported by political parties opposing independence for the Republic of Moldova. It considers itself to be the heir of the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia which existed in 1918-1940 during the period of Greater Romania.