On October 28, 2009, at the former Metropolitan’s apartments in the territory of St Sophia of Kyiv the regular session of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations was held. Taking part in the Council’s work was the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
Attending the session was President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko. Addressing the heads and representatives of the religious organizations of Ukraine, the head of the state noted the importance of all the church initiatives working for consolidation of the Ukrainian society. In particular he underscored the importance of teaching of the Christian Ethics at schools, emphasizing that only 5 years ago this process was supported at the national level, and today this subject is taught in 51% of the schools of Ukraine.
Also the issues of completion of returning o the religious buildings to religious organizations were touched upon. The president emphasized that he was “a proponent that the church premises belonged to the Church”. The head of the state also raised the problem of the necessity of introducing changes to the effective Law of Ukraine on freedom of conscience and the religious organizations, but supported the stance of some churches that the work on the concept of state-confessional relations should be completed first.
The President expressed his satisfaction of the beginning of the dialogue for overcoming division in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy and noted that unification of the whole nation began with spiritual unification. Also Victor Yushchenko remarked: “I am the President who would like the clergy to play an important role in the life of the society”.Special attention was paid to the issue of the forthcoming elections of the President of Ukraine and the head of the state addressed the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches with a proposition to issue a joint statement as for the necessity to conduct the elections in peace and mutual respect. At the same time the President asked the religious leaders to do their best in order that religious organizations would not get politicized during elections and suggested to think of the ways of making the Ukrainian politics and society more moral.
Addressing the President of Ukraine and the members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church thanked the head of the state for his patronage of the church issues and the issues of social morality. His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr underscored that the chief purpose of the initiated consultations with representatives of non-canonical orthodox churches was restoration of the unity of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy. His Beatitude Volodymyr also stated it was a very ticklish matter that should be carried out so that no new divisions emerged. At the same time the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church raised a question of broadcasting by some Ukrainian mass-media of the plots reminding the times of aggressive atheism, which did not merely offend the believers’ feelings, but were dangerous for spiritual life and morality of our society. The members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches decided to prepare a joint statement in this connection.
The session of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches also considered the issues of recognition of the theological education by the state, of enabling the religious organizations to open their educational establishments and the problems of emergence in Ukraine of the pseudo-religious extremist organizations etc.