“Constantinople will not interfere with the internal affairs of the Church of Ukraine. It is completely independent and autocephalous,” His All-Holiness emphasized, among other things, as he welcomed Mr. Zelensky
The President of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, paid a visit to the Seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Phanar today, Thursday, August 8, and was received with the honors provided by the Patriarchal Protocol.
President Zelensky, who was accompanied by a large delegation of officials of the Presidency, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Ankara, Mr. Andrii Sybiha, and the Consul General of the country in the city, Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, arrived in the Chamber of the Throne, in the main building of the Patriarchal Palace, where the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew awaited and welcomed him, in the presence of the priests of the Throne.
The Ecumenical Patriarch held a private meeting with the President of Ukraine at the official Patriarchal Office for more than an hour.
“Your visit comes after the publication and promulgation of the Tomos of Autocephaly for the newly established Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which, we request, will always have your high protection and your support for the work that has already begun in Ukraine. We from Constantinople, as we gave you baptism 1031 years ago, so now we have given independence, the ability for your Church to carry out its work independently and unaffected by any outside intervention. Constantinople will not interfere with the internal affairs of the Church in Ukraine. She is completely independent and autocephalous. From here, from Constantinople, from the Phanar, she will only have high protection and our continued prayers for the success of her work,” he said, among other things, welcoming the Ukrainian President. “We send the blessing and love of the Mother of the Church of Constantinople, in the person of your dear Excellency, to the whole pious Ukrainian people.”
For his part, President Zelenskyy expressed his pleasure in the visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and for the honor of meeting with his Primate.
The meeting was attended by the Metropolitans Emmanuel of France and Amphilochios of Adrianopolis, the Archimandrite of the Holy and Sacred Synod, Joakim, and his assistant, Deacon Gregorios, as well as Archimandrite Michael, Exarch of the Mother Church in Kyiv. The Ukrainian delegation was represented by Mr. Vadym Prystaiko, the Deputy Director of the President’s Office, Andrii Yermak, the President’s Adviser, Andrii Sybiha, Ambassador to Ankara, and Oleksandr Gaman, Consul General in the City.
Immediately afterwards, in the Chamber of the Throne, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presented the Holy Hierarchs present to the President of Ukraine, and then Mr. Zelensky presented the members of his staff.
The President of Ukraine and his associates then went to lunch at the Patriarchal Refectory.
The Ecumenical Patriarch then accompanied the President of Ukraine to the All-Holy Patriarchal Church, where the President was briefed by the Patriarchal Exarch in Kyiv, Archimandrite Michael, about its history and the sacred relics kept there.