2019-05-20 00:00:00

Patriarch Kirill wishes Ukraine's president Zelensky successes in uniting nation

Moscow, May 20, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has offered kind wishes to new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

"We hope that the newly-elected president will not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor and we sincerely wish him successes in uniting and reconciling the Ukrainian people," the patriarch said at an Easter reception at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Monday.

He condemned the previous Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko's project in "forced unification of Orthodox believers for the sake of creating a new church with a pronounced Russo-phobic political orientation."

Recent elections showed that "Ukrainian people disapprove of speculation of the religious factor in the political sphere," he said.

Towards the end of the elections the wave of takeovers of canonical churches and illegal closures of religious communities in Ukraine somewhat subsided, which "once again points to the artificiality of this process inspired by the previous government," the patriarch said.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church avoids all kinds of politicization and brings together millions of Ukrainians regardless of their political convictions, and hopefully "its colossal peacemaking potential, underestimated by the previous regime, will be fully employed by the new authorities in Ukraine," Patriarch Kirill said.