Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he hopes that the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will green-light granting a tomos, an official church document, on autocephaly to the Orthodox church in Ukraine by the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus, which will be celebrated on July 28, 2018.
"The victory is not only when Ukrainian land has been liberated. The victory is when for the first time, more than 300 years, Ukraine has got a real chance to create a united local Orthodox church and, most importantly, a Ukrainian church," the president said at a Prayer for Peace in Ukraine event at Almudena Cathedral, a Catholic church in Madrid, Spain.
The Ukrainian community of Spain took part in the event, the Ukrainian presidential press service said.
"And we are praying that by the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Ukraine-Rus by the holy apostolic prince Volodymyr, the Lord will give us this tomos. And I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, for your prayers. Because miracles are created with a common prayer," Poroshenko said.
The president recalled appealing to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew immediately after Easter, on a Great Monday, April 9, during his visit to Istanbul.
"I would be very happy to see this happen. And in the near future, I believe that we will succeed," Poroshenko added, expressing the conviction that Ukraine has won the right to have the united local church. After all, Ukraine has paid a high price for it, he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Poroshenko announced on April 17 that the heads of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church had decided to officially appeal to Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for autocephaly.
Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop (used especially in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Independent Catholic churches).
Autocephaly opens the way for the creation of a united Orthodox church in Ukraine, which will not be subordinate to Moscow.
The split between the Moscow and Kyiv branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church happened during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Ukraine's Primate Filaret broke with the Russian Orthodox Church. He argued that an independent Ukraine deserved a national church truly independent of Moscow. The Moscow Patriarchate whose parishes prevail in Ukraine has never recognized the Ukrainian Patriarchate.