Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian Presidential Press Secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko says representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), who support the creation of a single church in Ukraine, have disrupted the "Russian scenario," by meeting with President Petro Poroshenko.

"Yesterday, the Russian scenario was disrupted," Tsegolko wrote on Facebook Wednesday, Nov 14.

"Representatives of the UOC-MP hierarchs, who support the appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the autocephaly [of the Ukrainian Church], met with the president of Ukraine in the Ukrainian House [in Kyiv]," he wrote.

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According to the press secretary, Poroshenko briefed the hierarchs on his recent talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the agreement reached between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the readiness of the Ecumenical Throne to facilitate the holding of a Unification Council. In turn, the bishops of the UOC-MP reported about an insane pressure exerted on them on the part of Moscow.

"President Poroshenko assured that the Ukrainian state would protect the right of clergy and laity to free choice of church jurisdiction. He also said that the Ecumenical Patriarch, for his part, guarantees complete canonical protection to supporters of autocephaly in Ukraine," Tsegolko added.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the meeting between the Ukrainian president and the bishops of the UOC-MP, which was scheduled for November 13, had been canceled.

Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya), said that the bishops, who were invited to the meeting, "are sitting behind closed doors at the Lavra." The presidential administration said the head of state remained open to dialogue with representatives of the UOC-MP.

Nevertheless, late Tuesday evening, Poroshenko met with three UOC-MP representatives, who support the creation of a single local church.