Ukraine cuts the fetters that tie it to the Russian Empire, and will never be the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said this during the speech to the participants of the Unification Assembly of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
"The Mother Church of Constantinople realizes its mission according to the canons - to approve the autocephalous local Orthodox Church of Ukraine as an equal among equals to the family of local Orthodox churches. Ukraine never was and never will be the canonical territory of the Russian Church!", he stressed.
At the same time, the head of state added that the issue of granting the autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a matter of Ukrainian national security.
“This is a question of our Ukrainian statehood. We finally gain spiritual independence, which can be compared to political independence. We cut the bonds that bind us to the empire,” he stressed.
Poroshenko recalled that in November, the Holy Synodus of the Ecumenical Patriarchate approved the text of Tomos on granting independence to the Ukrainian Church, and decided to convene a unifying Orthodox Assembly.
"I appeal directly to the participants of the Assembly, to the hierarchs of the churches. Now the future of Ukraine, our freedom, our state and spiritual independence from Russia depends on you and only on you. You will have to adopt a charter and choose a primate, and Tomos is already waiting for him", he said.
The head of state expressed confidence that the participants of the Assembly would make the right decisions.
"I believe that you are the right people, at the right time, in the right place. I wish the Unification Assembly a successful work," he concluded.
Earlier, we reported that the Unification Assembly of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church kicks off at the Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Kyiv. The Unification Assembly should have started yet at 10 a.m. but the registration of participants took longer.