Wednesday, June 9, 2010

President meets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

The Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated Viktor Yanukovych on his election as the President of Ukraine and wished him "very fruitful" tenure for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.

Patriarch Bartholomew said that he remembers with sincere affection his visit to Ukraine two years ago, when he had the opportunity "to get acquainted with the progress and holiness of the Ukrainian Orthodox nation." "We always pray for continued stability and prosperity of your beloved country. We know about the schism between the Orthodox in Ukraine, which saddens us a lot. We pray that this schism healed as soon as possible," stressed the Ecumenical Patriarch. He also said that recently he had made the official visit to Russia where he had spoken to "his brother" Patriarch Cyril. According to him, during their conversation the two Patriarchs repeatedly mentioned the fact that both for Russia and Ukraine, the Church of Constantinople is a cradle.

"Recently, when we were in Russia, we said we believe that all our separated brethren would return to the canonical Church, because true salvation is in it," added the Ecumenical Patriarch. "We are more than confident that during your presidency you will do your best to heal these wounds and restore unity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We never stop praying and asking God to restore unity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," he said.

From his part, President Yanukovych expressed his conviction that process of church consolidation is extremely important. "It is impossible to build a strong country without faith," said the President.

Viktor Yanukovych also told the Ecumenical Patriarch about his pilgrimage to the holy Mount Athos where he prayed for Ukraine.