Moscow, March 16, 2017
“We pray that the Ukrainian people would be united in one Church. The Mother Church of Constantinople will help you find such a united Church,” His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew told Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman during a meeting in the offices of the patriarchate in Constantinople on March 15.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Metropolitan Emanuel of France, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna, and Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, reports the site of the Church in the USA.
Ukrainian politicians and non-canonical schismatic “Orthodox” clergy have appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate many times to involve himself in the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate and declare the Ukrainian Church autocephalous, which he has thus far declined to do.
“We attribute great importance to our cooperation. Ukrainians aspire to a single Church, and your role is very important,” the prime minister said. “We have deep respect for Your Holiness and for your support in efforts leading to a unified Ukrainian Orthodoxy.”
His All-Holiness responded with thanks for the Ukrainians fidelity to the Church and expressed his willingness to help the Ukrainians achieve a united Church. “We can be optimistic about the future,” he added.
“I want to express our gratitude for the wisdom, blessings and love to Ukraine, for caring about Ukraine and for the prayers by which you support us in this difficult time.” Groysman said. In turn, Patriarch Bartholomew addressed himself to the Ukrainian people, whom he styled his spiritual children: “We greet the entire beloved Ukrainian nation from the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate not as foreigners but as beloved spiritual children of the Mother Church. Spiritual relations that unite the Mother church with Ukrainians never disappeared. We are close to you, especially when it is hard, we accompany you with our prayers and blessings… We send our blessing, love and concern for every Ukrainian without exceptions.”