On Sunday, September 23, 2018, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. Fokas in Istanbul, in the presence of the Consul General of Ukraine, where he publicly declared Ukraine would receive autocephaly shortly because that is what is right. Speaking to a congregation that included a Czech theologian, the Ecumenical Patriarch said:
“The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is the newest of the Autocephalous Churches to be proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1998.
It is now the turn of Ukraine, which will receive the status of autocephaly in the not too distant future despite existing reactions. And this will occur because it is right. On the one hand, it is Ukraine’s right to receive the status of autocephaly; and, on the other hand, it is the right, and indeed the exclusive prerogative of our Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly, just as it has granted this to all the newer Orthodox churches, beginning with Russia in the 16th century and most recently to the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
We are not intimidated by threats. As we recently stated, the Ecumenical Patriarchate neither threatens nor is threatened, but instead advances steadily, fulfilling its sacred mission as stipulated by the sacred canons and respecting the privileges granted by the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. We cannot ignore these canons and privileges granted by the Ecumenical Councils to the First-Throne Church of Constantinople. We respect and preserve them, and we shall implement them in the case of Ukraine and wherever else necessary.”