Constantinople, August 27, 2018
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople called President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine on Friday, on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of Ukrainian independence.
President Poroshenko had personally invited the patriarch to attend ceremonies in Kiev, though his busy schedule did not allow for it, reports the site of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The patriarch “conveyed to him along with all the Ukrainian people the wishes and blessings of the Mother Church, which engendered them in Christ and to this day continues its affectionate concern for their perseverance in faith, unity and prosperity, as well as the spiritual renewal of Ukraine.”
As Interfax-Ukraine reports, with reference to the presidential press service, the two also held further discussions on the question of creating a unified Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“The parties discussed further actions on the path to creating a unified Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” according to the press service.
President Poroshenko appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in April to grant a tomos of autocephaly to a new unified Ukrainian Church. The Holy Synod in Constantinople has yet to make a decision on the matter. Most recently, the session for discussing the question was delayed from September to October.
The president’s appeal was backed by the two schismatic bodies operating in Ukraine, but not by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which enjoys the support of every Orthodox Church in the world, and does not back Poroshenko’s nationalistic, anti-Russian political move. The president has repeatedly framed the creation of a Ukrainian Church as a matter of national security against Russia. The canonical Church in Ukraine is an autonomous body within the Russian Orthodox Church.
On the one hand, the patriarch and patriarchate have pledged to not interfere in internal Russian Church matters and to abide by Church canons, and on the other hand, it has claimed the Ukrainian Church as its canonical territory and continues to meet with Ukrainian politicians and schismatics to discuss the matter.
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