At his residence in Kyiv Filaret, the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus’- Ukraine, met the delegation of the Constantinople-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, among whose members were Metropolitan Emmanuel of France; Secretary-General of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Synod, Archimandrite Elpidophoros, and Archpriest Basil. During the meeting, Patriarch Filaret explained the attitude of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP), to the key problems of the Ukrainian church and answered his guests’ questions. As reported earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s delegation is visiting Ukraine at the invitation of President Viktor Yushchenko.
On the Ukrainian side, the meeting was attended by Dymytrii Rudiuk, rector of the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy and Archbishop of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky; Archimandrite Yepifanii, secretary to Patriarch Filaret; and Archimandrite Yevstratii, spokesman of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Also present at the meeting were Yurii Bohutsky, deputy head of the Presidential Secretariat; Andrii Tkachuk, a high-ranking official at the Secretariat; and others. During the meeting, Patriarch Filaret said that the UOC KP is prepared for a constructive dialogue with the Constantinople Patriarchate. “We are ready for a dialogue if it will lead to the formation in Ukraine of a single local autocephalous Ukrainian church,” Patriarch Filaret said.
Metropolitan Emmanuel emphasized that the Constantinople delegation’s visit was aimed at acquainting itself with the life and problems of the Ukrainian church. He said that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is closely watching developments in the Ukrainian church and aspires, as the Mother Church, to assist in resolving these problems. The delegates also gave a positive assessment to the steps that the Kyiv Patriarchate has taken to initiate a dialogue with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate is sounding the alarm: it is indignant that the representatives of these two ancient Orthodox churches — Constantinople and Ukraine — are discussing their affairs. What the Moscow hierarchy especially resents is the likely participation — at the invitation of President Yushchenko — of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in marking the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of Rus.’ (There is doubt surrounding his visit.)
Russia’s clerical and lay officials believe that “according to church rules, the invitation to Constantinople Patriarch to attend the celebrations of the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of Rus’ in Ukraine should come from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.”