KYIV – President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko took part in the massive religious procession marking the 1,030th anniversary of the Christianizat-ion of Ukraine-Rus’. Close to 100,000 people participated in the march.
Faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Filaret, and of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Macarius, proceeded to the garden square near the monument to St. Volodymyr, the grand prince of Kyivan Rus’ who ordered the mass baptism of the citizens of Kyiv in 988.
President Poroshenko stressed that millions of Ukrainians eagerly expect the earliest recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
“The Tomos of Autocephaly will complete the consolidation of independence of our state, strengthen religious freedom, interconfessional peace. It will strengthen the rights and freedoms of citizens… Especially those who are now out of communication with universal Orthodoxy,” the head of state stressed.
A representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan of Emmanuel of France, emphasized that the ecumenical patriarch “will not leave his Ukrainian sons unprotected and abandoned.”
“The ecumenical patriarch cannot remain blind and deaf to the appeals that have been repeated for more than a quarter of a century,” Metropolitan Emmanuel said. “Sons of the Ukrainian Church and its leaders have the right to their place among the Churches,” he added.
“The Mother Church has already passed the ruling on April 20 this year. Namely, to begin the procedure for achieving the ultimate goal: to provide autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Bartholomew’s representative noted. He noted that this became possible after the appeal of the Ukrainian authorities, the president of Ukraine, “the successor to the political structure of Kyivan Rus’.”
“We are sure that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is on your side. You will not be orphaned because the Mother Church will find a way to become involved in your progress, your success, your growth in the faith of Christ,” Metropolitan Emmanuel said.
The metropolitan underscored that the Ecumenical Patriarchate “will not allow those who hate the truth to make their devilry here in Ukraine.”
President Poroshenko noted that since the first days of his presidency he had set a goal to seek the creation of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the recognition of this Church by the Ecumenical Patriarch. “Autocephaly is an issue of our independence. This is an issue of our national security. This is an issue of the entire world geopolitics. Army protects our land. Language protects our hearts. Faith protects our soul,” he stated.
Source: Presidential Administration of Ukraine