On Saturday, July 8, 2023, His Excellency the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, visited the Seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Phanar.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, flanked by the Reverend Hierarchs Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon and Hilarion of Winnipeg, as well as clerics of the Patriarchal Court, warmly welcomed His Excellency the President in the courtyard of the Patriarchate and then they entered the venerable Patriarchal Church together, where His All-Holiness performed the Trisagion for the repose of the souls of the victims of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Reverend Hierarchs gathered to pray along with Mr. Zelenskyy's entourage, which consisted of high-ranking officials of the Presidency and the Ukrainian Government, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Ankara, His Excellency Mr. Vasyl Bodnar, and the Consul General of the country in Constantinople, the Honorable Mr. Roman Nedilskyi.
This was followed by the actual meeting of His All-Holiness with His Excellency the President, at the Patriarchal Office, which lasted over an hour.
Immediately afterwards, in the Throne Room, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the President of Ukraine made statements to the numerous accredited representatives of the Media.
His All-Holiness said that he and Mr. Zelenskyy discussed the current situation in Ukraine.
"We expressed the desire that peace would come soon, because war is a bad thing for everyone. We said that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as the Mother Church of the Ukrainian Orthodox, is always on their side. We were happy because the President of our country, Mr. Erdogan, also supports the achievement of peace in Ukraine through dialogue, but also because he promised that Turkey would help by all means for the reconstruction and restoration of things in Ukraine, after the end of the war. It is not the first time that we have welcomed Mr. Zelensky to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is always an honor and a pleasure for us to welcome him, and I want to conclude by saying that we wish for the return of all the prisoners who are being held at this moment, and especially for the return of the children who are far from their homes and their homeland. We thank the General Media for showing so much genuine interest in the visit of Mr. President to the Seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We hope that when Mr. President comes to Turkey and to our Patriarchate again, that peace will have prevailed, that peace will have returned [to Ukraine]."
For his part, President Zelenskyy thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for the warm welcome and for his undiminished support for the Ukrainian people.
His All-Holiness then welcomed and blessed the members of the entourage of the President of Ukraine, to whom he then bade farewell in the propylaea of the Patriarchate.