In a momentous statement at the observance of the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus in which the Slavic Peoples were Christianized through the missionary work of Saints Cyril and Methodios sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Photios in the 9th century, His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, representing His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, declared that His All-Holiness “will not leave his Ukrainian sons unprotected and abandoned.”
He added: “The Ecumenical Patriarch cannot remain blind and deaf to the appeals that have been repeated for more than a quarter of a century. Sons of the Ukrainian Church and its leaders have the right to their place among the Churches. The Mother Church already passed the ruling on April 20 this year. Namely – to begin the procedure for achieving the ultimate goal – to provide autocephaly [independence] to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel added that this procedure became possible after the appeal of the Ukrainian authorities, the president of Ukraine, “which is 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.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko added: “Autocephaly is an issue of our independence. This is an issue of our national security. This is an issue of the entire world geopolitics. Dear friends, the time of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has definitely come.” Referring to interference from Moscow, he said it was “absolutely necessary to cut off all the tentacles used by the country-aggressor within our state body.”
What His All-Holiness stated ten years ago, during the 1020th baptismal anniversary of Kiev-Russia, remains true: “As the Mother Church of all Orthodox people, the Ecumenical Patriarchate never identified itself with one Orthodox nation in particular, but rather supported willingly the historic destinies of all Orthodox nations, even at the cost of its own jurisdictional or other benefits, co-operating always on equal terms with the civic and political leadership of these nations, in accordance with the shining example set by our Lord, the Apostles and the eminent Fathers of the Church.”
We offer our prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ and beseech the Most Gracious Savior to bring peace and a new flowering to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.