Moscow, November 14, Interfax - Representatives of the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have told journalists about President Pyotr Poroshenko's telephone call with Metropolitan Onufry of All Ukraine during the Council that took place in Kiev on Tuesday.
Poroshenko called to invite the hierarchs to meet at the Ukrainian House (an international convention center in Kiev), even though it had been agreed before that the conversation would take place at the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, where 83 of the 90 hierarchs of the canonical Church had gathered.
"The telephone conversation between Metropolitan Onufry and the president turned out to be very rough. While the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was calm, the president was clearly angry. He shouted into the handset so loudly that many of the hierarchs in the hall heard what he was saying," a participant in the assembly told the online publication Strana.ua.
The president demanded that Metropolitan Onufry back down on the issue of the Ukrainian church's autocephaly. "In reply to the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's comment on the matter, there was an annoyed voice in the handset: 'What canons! What canons!'" the participant said.
The bishops and the president 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.