President Victor Yushchenko presented to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I the Order of Yaroslav the Wise I grade. The ceremony took place at Presidential Secretariat during the meeting of President Yushchenko and Patriarch Bartholomew I with heads of foreign Orthodox Churches.
Patriarch Bartholomew I was also granted the mantle and the diploma of Honorary Doctor of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University and received memorable presents from President Yushchenko.
The Ecumenical Patriarch thanked President Yushchenko for the honor, saying: “… we consider these high awards as honoring the First Throne and the martyrs of Constantinople, rather than honoring our modesty”, - said Bartholomew I.
Addressing the present heads of Orthodox Churches of the world, President Yushchenko thanked them for coming to Ukraine to take part in celebration of 1020th anniversary of Kyivan Rus’ Baptism.
“Your visit we will remember filled with love and wish to bring to this land understanding and peace among Orthodox Churches of Ukraine”, - he added.
President Yushchenko also promised that from his part he would be doing everything to improve relations between all the religious communities in Ukraine.
Among the participants of the meeting along with President and Ecumenical Patriarch were Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymos II, Bishop of Vidin (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) Dometian, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, Metropolitan Sergi of Nekresi and Hereti (Georgian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Petros of Aksum (Orthodox Church of Alexandria), Bishop Vasilij of Zvornik –Tuzla (Serbian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Nifon of Targoviste (Romanian Orthodox Church), Archimandrite Stefan (Jerusalem Orthodox Church), Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chelm, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.