Kiev, October 19, 2018
Having returned to Kiev from Constantinople, His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew’s two Exarchs to Ukraine, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton, met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday, conveying to him the patriarch’s thanks for his efforts towards creating an autocephalous Church in Ukraine.
They noted that they had returned “to continue work on the last stage, which will bring us to the unifying Council, and then on to the presentation of the final document to the new primate—the Tomos of independence, of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
During the course of the meeting, one of the Exarchs, Bp. Ilarion, made a rather striking statement—he compared Poroshenko’s contribution “to the spiritual development of his people” with those of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Vladimir the Great, and of Yaroslav the Wise, the president’s “predecessors,” as the president’s official website reports.
“Your name is inscribed in golden letters in the history of Ukraine with those of the rulers of Kievan Rus’, the Kievan state, your predecessors the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir and Yaroslav the Wise, who did much for the spiritual prosperity of their people,” Bp. Ilarion said.
He also compared the acts of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross: “As a good shepherd, the Ecumenical Patriarchate left the 99 sheep and by its decision on October 11, led this one sheep—millions of Orthodox Christians—to unity, realizing its Golgotha-sacrificial mission, which it continues to carry out, contrary to its own interests.”
On October 11, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared that it was continuing the process of granting autocephaly to a new Ukrainian Church, reestablishing its presence in Ukraine, lifting the canonical sanctions against the leaders of the Ukrainian schismatics (which had been placed upon them not by Constantinople, but by the Russian Church), and revoking the 1686 document whereby it had transferred the Kiev Metropolia to the Russian Church.
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