17:19 Jun. 17, 2016
Open letter to Bartholomew I published on the eve of meeting of all of the world's Orthodox churches
Just two days before the first Holy and Great Council of world's orthodox churches in a millennium on the Greek island of Crete, Ukraine's congregation and priesthood published a petition asking His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to facilitate the unification of Ukraine's orthodox churches.
"We, the faithful and the clergy of the divided Ukrainian Orthodox churches, including the Orthodox Church, which is still part of the Moscow Patriarchate are anxious about the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy. We are sincerely grateful for the care of the Church of Constantinople and you personally about the Orthodox Ukraine, we know and appreciate the principles that you proclaimed and implemented during a visit to Ukraine in 2008, and in numerous meetings with the spiritual, social and political leaders of Ukraine, including the previous head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Vladimir of blessed memory, who in 2008 has turned to you and all the Orthodox Churches to assist the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Based on this long-term cooperation, we ask Your Holiness to help in achieving the cherished unity of the Ukrainian church," says the open letter.
The petition comes after Ukrainian MPs addressed the Ecumenical Patriarch requesting him to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine from Moscow's Patriarchate.
They noted that Ukraine's Orthodox Church is ready to obtain a status of the local autocephalous church, by all appropriate criteria: "Modern Ukraine is an independent state with its sovereignty recognized across the world; the Ukrainian nation has its own distinctive culture that cherishes its identity. Not only has Ukraine's Orthodox Church reached the level of being autocephalous, it can also become the largest Orthodox Church in the world, if it can overcome the division."
The authors of the open letter supported the parliamentarians' initiative and asked Bartholomew I to convoke the All-Ukrainian unification council, and to be its "honorary head and arbiter".