OCU Primate Epifaniy meets with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

01.12.2022, 15:27
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On December 1, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All-Ukraine met with the spiritual leader of the world Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, who arrived in Ukraine on a solidarity visit.

This is reported by the press service of the Kyivan Metropolia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (OCU).

The meeting was also attended by the Anglican bishop of Europe, Robert Innes, ecumenical adviser to the Church of England, Canon Jeremy Morris and deputy head of the OCU's office for External Church Relations, Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv.

Archbishop Welby thanked Metropolitan Epifaniy for the meeting.

"When we spoke at the Lambeth Palace this July, I promised to come to Kyiv to show our support for the people of Ukraine. This visit is very short, so we can't visit everything we would like. But I didn't think it would be possible to expect a longer visit, which I believe will happen in the future. So I thank you for our meeting, and I want to hear from you how we can support Ukrainians, especially during the winter, when the most vulnerable – children and the elderly – will face the biggest challenges?»

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine thanked the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion for his support, prayer and firm position in condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.

"Thank you for coming to Kyiv, as it was planned during our meeting in London, although this journey is difficult. Your visit is historic, as this is the first time the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited a country experiencing foreign aggression.

We appreciate the support of Britain and the support of the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion, and we appreciate your prayers for the victory of truth and peace in Ukraine. The enemy is trying to intimidate our people with the shelling of civilian infrastructure and terror against the civilian population, but it will not succeed, just as its other plans have failed. We will defeat the aggressor because the truth is on the side of Ukraine, and our spirit is strong, and our faith is indestructible," the head of the OCU said.

Metropolitan Epifaniy spoke about the humanitarian activities of the church, about the projects that are already being implemented, in particular, the construction of modular housing for victims and the creation of "points of invincibility" in parishes in the north of the Kyiv region.

The Primate of the OCU also answered a question about interfaith relations in Ukraine.

"The people, society and the state expected the Moscow Patriarchate to change its position in Ukraine. 9 months of full-scale war have passed, 6 months since their meeting and decorative declarations of change, but no real changes have taken place. The inner identification of oneself with "Holy Rus", with the ideas of the "Russian world", later has a decisive influence there. People are outraged by this and demand changes. We have repeatedly said that we are open to dialogue without preconditions, but Metropolitan Onufriy has a ban on any meetings, even informal ones and without coverage, because he does not consider us either a church or even believers," Metropolitan Epifaniy said.

Archbishop Welby noted that he personally prays for Ukraine every day.

"My position is not to promise much but to do more than I promised. We will have a meeting of bishops next week, where we will provide a report on our journey and propose concrete steps to help those in need in Ukraine," the Anglican hierarch stressed.

Metropolitan Epifaniy took this opportunity to express his condolences over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. "Thank you for these kind words about our late Sovereign – she was truly an example of faith and devotional service. This is how she lived. This is how she passed away from this world. I am confident that her son, the king, will continue this ministry just as faithfully and faithfully," the Archbishop of Canterbury said in response.

Following the meeting, the parties agreed to continue cooperation, in particular in the humanitarian sphere.

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