Istanbul, October 16, 2020
During a working visit to Turkey today, President Vladimir Zelensky and his wife Elena visited the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They took part in a moleben for Ukraine and were given a tour of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George.
After that, the President and First Lady met with Patriarch Bartholomew, reports the official presidential site.
The Patriarch thanked President Zelensky and his wife for their visit and noted that he is satisfied that peace is gradually coming to Ukraine. In turn, the President thanked the Patriarch “for his unconditional personal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, our independence, as well as for all the support that the Patriarch provides to Ukraine.”
President Zelensky then invited Pat. Bartholomew to visit Ukraine: “Ukraine is warm and welcoming. We will all be very happy to see you, it will be a very important visit for Ukraine.”
The 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, to be celebrated on August 24, 2021, was pinpointed as a possible date for his visit.
The situation in Donbas was also discussed. “About the prisoners in Donbas, in Crimea and in Russia—I really want them to return home,” the President emphasized. “I wish it with all my heart, to stop the pain of the families whose relatives are in captivity,” Pat. Bartholomew said in turn.
They also discussed further steps to strengthen cooperation between Ukraine and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Pat. Bartholomew last visited Ukraine in 2008 at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia.