Constantinople, May 29, 2018
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has received 60,000 signatures in total, calling for the issue to be resolved according to Church canons.
A group of Ukrainian pilgrims, headed by His Grace Bishop Pimen, vicar of the Rivne Diocese, met with a representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople during a recent pilgrimage to Turkey, delivering an appeal concerning the issue of Ukrainian Church autocephaly, with the signatures of 50,000 Ukrainian faithful, reports the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The address asks the patriarchate not to grant a tomos of autocephaly to the nationalistic Ukrainian schismatics who, with the president and parliament’s backing, aspire to create a new Ukrainian Church.
60,000 such signatures have now been delivered to the secretariat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The first 10,000 were delivered earlier this month.
“Representing the will of the priests, monastics, and clergy of our Church, who hope that the Church issue in Ukraine will be resolved in the canonical way established by the apostles and holy fathers of the Church, we delivered a written address to the Patriarch of Constantinople,” Bp. Pimen said.
“We also asked His Holiness to pray for our people and Ukrainian Orthodoxy,” the hierarch added.
Among the 130 pilgrims were parishioners from churches that have been seized by the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate,” one of the two schismatic bodies in Ukraine that is vying for autocephaly. They also delivered more than 30 addresses from Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Rivne, and other regions, describing in detail what is happening to their parishes.
The Orthodox Ukrainians expressed hope that the commission tasked to deal with the issue of granting autocephaly will consider these cases in detail and, if possible, will travel to Ukraine to communicate with people on the ground.
During their visit, which included time in Constantinople and Ephesus, the Ukrainian clergy and faithful also celebrated the Divine Liturgy, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Apostol (Danilidis) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The delegation also gifted to the patriarchate copies of the wonderworking icons of the Mother of God of three of Ukraine’s main holy sites—the Kiev Caves, Pochaev, and Svyatogorsk Lavras.
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