Poroshenko to appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch to grant autocephaly to Ukraine's Orthodox Church, asks Rada to support him
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko intends to appeal to Archbishop of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, asking him to issue a tomos (an official church document) granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and has called on the Verkhovna Rada to support it.
"I, as president, decided to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, to his Holiness [Bartholomew] with a request to provide a tomos to the Ukrainian independent, or more precisely, local autocephalous church," Poroshenko said on Tuesday during a meeting with faction leaders in the Verkhovna Rada.
The head of state also called on the Verkhovna Rada to support his initiative as soon as possible.
"I would like to ask you, dear colleagues, because there are things that unite all of us, because the parliament represents the Ukrainian people, as well as the president, so that the parliament supports this appeal and should do this as quickly as possible," the president added.
According to him, if there is a relevant resolution of the Verkhovna Rada, the president's address and the appeal of church hierarchs, this appeal will be transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarch. "We hope that this matter will be considered at the Synod in the near future and a relevant decision will be taken before the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Ukraine-Rus," Poroshenko said.
At the same time, the head of state noted the importance of the church unity and people's unity in this decision.
It was reported earlier that the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada had adopted an address to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on June 16, 2016, calling on him to issue a tomos granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy said that Patriarch Bartholomew I had received a letter from the Ukrainian parliament asking him to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Archbishop Eustratios (Zoria) of Chernihiv and the Kyiv Patriarchate's official spokesman said the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate had considered the Rada's appeal and passed it to a relevant commission for consideration.