21 May 2008, 10:24
Yushchenko invites Constantinople Patriarch to join Baptism of Russia celebration
Kiev, May 21, Interfax - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has invited Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople to join the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of baptizing Russia.
Yushchenko handed an invitation for the Patriarch to a delegation of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Kiev on Tuesday, the presidential press service has reported.
The Ukrainian president expressed gratitude for the efforts the Constantinople Patriarchate has been making to consolidate Orthodox Churches. "We fully support your efforts in the Christian world," the president said.
"The Ukrainian believers community and the state are convinced that we must advance towards Church accord, towards rapprochement with the Mother Church of the Constantinople Patriarchate," Yushchenko said, noting that, "Ukraine has been moving along this way."
The delegates conveyed gratitude for the opportunity to explore, while in Ukraine, Orthodox Churches' expectations and wishes regarding their consolidation, saying that this process is effective when all parties are prepared to contribute to it.
They also "spoke about the Ukrainian president's efforts as an official who has been assisting this process without attaching political strings to it".
Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed concerns on many occasions about the Constantinople Patriarchate's intervention in Church affairs in Ukraine, covered by the Russian Orthodox Church's canonical jurisdiction.