2018-11-03 22:21:00

Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew sign cooperation agreement

Kiev, November 3, Interfax - President Pyotr Porosnenko and Patriarch Bartholomew signed an agreement on cooperation between Ukraine and the Patriarchate of Constantinople after a meeting in Istanbul on November 3, the Ukrainian president's press service told Interfax on Saturday.

The agreement forms conditions for "the granting of the [autocephaly] Tomos to proceed absolutely in strict accordance with the canons of the Orthodox Church," Poroshenko said at the meeting.

He called the day historical and thanked the patriarch for the warm "meeting filled with wisdom."

"I am sure the autocephaly decision will lead to the unity and unification of all Orthodox believers in Ukraine," Patriarch Bartholomew said after signing the document.

"I pray to God so that I visit you wonderful country again in the very near future," he said.

The agreement stipulates cooperation in creating an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the president's press service told Interfax.

Under the document, the Ecumenical Patriarch shall grant a Tomos recognizing the independence of the Ukrainian church and hands it over to the leader elected at Sobor (assembly); the Ukrainian state will provide assistance with these processes.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate will set up a mission (effectively an embassy) in Kiev to represent its interests and foster relations between the Ukrainian Church and the Orthodox world.

These decisions are another step to receiving the Tomos whose grant is explicitly stipulated in the agreement, the press service said.

Now Ukrainian bishops are to gather for the assembly and elect the leader.