President took part in the solemn handing over of the Tomos of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Istanbul
President Petro Poroshenko together with his wife Maryna Poroshenko took part in the ceremony of handing over the Tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine held in the Patriarchal Church of St. George.
The document and the staff was given by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Epifaniy concelebrated a divine Liturgy in the Temple.
Prior to this, the Ecumenical Patriarch held a solemn water consecration ceremony in the Patriarchal Church of St. George.
At the end of the Liturgy, the Head of the Ukrainian State together with his wife took part in the ceremony of consecration of water in the Golden Horn bay.
President’s address on the occasion of granting the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine
A great historic event, in which the Lord was with us, with Ukrainians, has just finished. And we, Ukrainians, were with the Lord. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine has finally received the Tomos from the Ecumenical Patriarch, from the Mother Church.
The Lord saw and commended the persistent struggle of the Ukrainian people for their independence. He heard our prayers. He gave us proper reparation for our work and facilitated that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Synod of the Constantinople Mother Church said the long-awaited "yes" to the independent Church of Ukraine.
Today's event in the history of our country will remain in line with St. Vladimir’s baptism and the proclamation of Ukraine's independence. The Orthodox world will remember the day when the Church of Ukraine possessing equal rights joined the family of sister churches.
Our country has covered a long path to this day. And no wonder that yesterday His All-Holiness recalled in his speech Olga - our first Christian Princess and Equal of the Apostles Prince Vladimir-Baptist. And long before them, the holy Apostle Andrew stood on the mountains of Kyiv and "his eyes saw Ukraine, and the mouth - blessed. And he planted the seed of faith in us". This, by the way, is a quotation from the decisions of our Orthodox Council of 1621.
For over a thousand years, Kyiv's Christian tradition has been respected and multiplied. Today, our Orthodox Church is ready for independent existence. The Ukrainian people thank God and what has happened is a true miracle, which we owe to the Creator's will.
We rejoice that the Ecumenical Patriarch, as the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of Orthodox people, as a global figure heard our voice and our requests. And the tireless work of His All-Holiness on the spiritual field will forever remain in the history of the church and in the history of nations, especially the Orthodox.
And the Tomos for us is actually another act of proclaiming Ukraine's independence. It will complete the assertion of the independence of the Ukrainian state, strengthen religious freedom, interconfessional peace. It will strengthen the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially those who were outside the communion with the Ecumenical Orthodoxy and who were unjustly called non-canonical.
His All-Holiness these days especially emphasizes the importance of restoring the communication of millions and millions of Ukrainian believers with the fullness of the world Orthodoxy. In addition, for Ukrainians, our own Church is a guarantee of our spiritual freedom. This is the key to social harmony.
And as President, I guarantee on behalf of the state that Ukraine will respect the religious choices and freedom of religion of every citizen.
I congratulate all those who care about the rise of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. And I thank everyone who tirelessly worked on its emergence, created unity and restored justice!
St. Sophia, the wisdom of God was with us and we fulfilled our duty to the past and to the next generations.
Glory to God!
Glory to Ukraine!