Moscow, November 13, Interfax - A meeting between Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and the top bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday has not taken place, a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church said.
"It looks like the meeting between President Poroshenko and the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church announced earlier will not take place. The president has not come to the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, which the Church indicated as the place of the meeting," Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said on Telegram.
The meeting was proposed by the president, and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine insisted on having this meeting at the monastery. There were reports that Poroshenko insisted on holding a meeting at the Ukrainian House, an international convention center, but the metropolitan ultimately managed to persuade him.
"However, it emerged today that Pyotr Poroshenko would not come to the monastery, and a provocation was prepared against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church hierarchs: after an agreement was made on the date [of the meeting], the bishops received a directive from president's Chief Of Staff, Igor Rainin, to come to the Ukrainian House at the same time [2:00 p.m.]," the Union of Orthodox Journalists reported.
The sides were expected to discuss the establishment of a "unified local church" independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, a process in which the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has refused to participate from the start, seeing this as interference in religious affairs by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the secular authorities.
On October 11, the Patriarchate of Constantinople's Synod in Istanbul abolished its 1686 decree handing the Kiev Metropolitanate over to Moscow, announced the creation of a mission in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of self-proclaimed Orthodox churches in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate's Synod responded by severing ties with Constantinople.