CONSTANTINOPLE – The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, visited His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar during an official visit to Turkey. The Patriarch held a private meeting with the president of Ukraine in the Patriarchal Office.
His All Holiness, addressing Zelenskyy, said that “we feel that you bring us feelings of love, respect, and devotion of the entire Ukrainian people to the Mother Church of Constantinople from which you received the lights of Christianity and which will be always by your side with motherly affection and constant prayer.” He also said that “The Mother Church demonstrated its feelings by granting Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is progressing and flourishing and we are very proud. We follow the same path and we continue the works of our brother, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv. We thank God because he is worthy of being elected to the leadership of your Church.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch also expressed his joy for continuous progress, stability, peace and prosperity in Ukraine and referred to the thirtieth anniversary of the country’s independence in 2021. He added that “Ukraine had gone through many difficulties over the last thirty years and that it was the consequence of the previous regime. He said that “I hope that the entire Ukrainian Nation will be able to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Ukraine’s independence in 2021 with enthusiasm, joy, and great happiness.”
The Ukrainian president invited the Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Ukraine in 2021 and the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his hope that an official visit would soon take place, God willing, after the pandemic is over. He also recalled with great emotion his previous visit to Ukraine in 2008, during which he was warmly welcomed by the Ukrainian People and was blessed to be able to officiate at the historic Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv. In addition, he was able to officiate on St. Vladimir Hill along with Patriarch Alexios II οf Moscow and All Russia and with the Archbishops of Athens and all Greece and Tirana and all Albania. The Ecumenical Patriarch asked God to bless him in order to hold such meetings in the future at the Phanar and in Ukraine. President Zelensky agreed with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and said that his visit would be a particularly important moment for Ukraine.
Earlier, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France officiated a prayer service on the occasion of the official visit of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the Patriarchal Church of St George at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.