Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovich met with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on June 8, 2010, at the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Patriarch Bartholomew extended to Mr. Yanukovich cordial congratulations on his election as President of Ukraine and wished him ‘very fruitful’ work as head of the state for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.
‘We have always prayed here for the stability and prosperity of your beloved country. We are aware of the schism between the Orthodox in Ukraine and it grieves us very much. We pray that this schism may disappear as soon as possible’, Patriarch Bartholomew said. He also spoke of his recent official visit to Russia, where he talked with ‘my brother’ His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. ‘Recently, when I was in Russia, I was asked what I believed should be done for our brothers who have separated themselves to return to the canonical Church, because it is only in a canonical Church that real salvation is to be found’, he remarked, adding, ‘we are more than sure that you during your tenure as president will do all that is possible to cure, to heal these wounds and to restore the unity Ukrainian Orthodox Church’.
The head of the Ukrainian State, on his part, expressed conviction that the process of consolidation of the Church is extremely important. ‘Without faith it is impossible to build a strong country’, he said.
Mr. Yanukovich also told His Holiness about his pilgrimage to Holy Mount Athos, which he did the day before, on June 7.
DECR Communication Service