Ukraine close to receiving autocephaly of Orthodox Church - Poroshenko
Kyiv has entered the finish line in the issue of obtaining autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.
"We have walked this path together, especially in the past three years, and we can now say as part of this path that we have entered the finish line," he said at a meeting with the exarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Kyiv on Monday.
The head of state noted that Ukraine was looking forward to the accession of a single local Orthodox church that would become "the symbol of the reunification of the country, the unification of peace, grace that would finally contribute to the unification of both the Orthodox faith and the Ukrainian state."
According to Poroshenko, it is very important that Ukraine have another large state-forming foundation of the local Orthodox church.
The president wished the exarches success in their responsible mission.
An exarch in Ukraine, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon, in turn, confirmed that representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople would continue to work on the "issue already solved" - the process of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"We must certainly work on this issue, and let me disagree with certain media that we came here not to split the Ukrainian Orthodoxy, but on the contrary, to take even more steps to bring the desired unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," he said.
According to him, the exarchs are ready for "clear cooperation" with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
"Undoubtedly, we are ready for dialogue and [...] cooperation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. We have no prejudices to meet with representatives of different religious organizations, to learn their opinion and cooperate constructively with them," the archbishop said.
Exarchs handed Poroshenko an official address from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew about the decision of the Holy Synod to appoint Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton (Canada) as its exarchs in Ukraine.
At the same time, the head of state noted that it was necessary to act boldly and decisively in the matter of uniting Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
"I can repeat once more time that the church is separated from the state, and it should be separated especially from a foreign state," the president said.
Poroshenko stressed that the influence of a foreign state, which Ukraine feels today, confirms the correctness of actions in the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.