President during the thanksgiving service for the Tomos of autocephaly of the UOC: Unity is something Ukraine urgently needs
During the working visit to Vinnytsia region, President Petro Poroshenko took part in the thanksgiving service for the Tomos of autocephaly of the UOC. The service was conducted by Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy and Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar in the Cathedral of Vinnytsia. The Tomos of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was brought to the Cathedral.
After the prayer, the Head of State appealed to the audience in the Cathedral and congratulated everyone on Christmas and New Year holidays, noting that this year these holidays are special. "This year we celebrate Christmas in a special way, because the Lord has given us a huge gift, aspired by generations of Ukrainians. We are lucky to witness that ... Not witness, but be part of the process of creating a united, autocephalous, key word - Ukrainian, holy church," Petro Poroshenko said.
The President recalled all stages of the process of establishing the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He noted that talks with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on that issue had been held for a long time. Petro Poroshenko especially thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the determination, courage, faith and wisdom shown by His All-Holiness in resolving this issue. "Despite the enormous pressure from the Russian Federation - aggressor country, direct threats, threats to him, threats to the church, he did it," Petro Poroshenko noted.
"As a believer I would like to emphasize that without God's help it would not have been possible," the President said. He noted that the hierarchs of the churches demonstrated unity on this issue by supporting appropriate appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian church.
"I want to thank His Bliss Bishop Epifaniy, Bishop Simeon, Bishop Alexander and all the hierarchs here. I want to thank the hierarchs of Ukrainian churches who have decided to unite. I would like to thank His Holiness Filaret, His Beatitude Makariy. Because unity is what Ukraine urgently needs," the President said.
The Head of State also noted that, despite skepticism, the formation of the Ukrainian church from the historical point of view occurred instantaneously, in days or weeks.
"I came here with the words of gratitude to each of you for this prayer, for without the prayer it would have been impossible. For the faith you demonstrated, I would like to thank Bishop Simeon for his support... Without your support, it is simply impossible to do that with administrative methods," Petro Poroshenko said. He also thanked for the fact that today Vinnytsia region is the first in the number of parishes that have decided to join the UOC.