risu.org.ua - Former Presidents of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk and Victor Yushchenko were negotiating with the Ecumenical Patriarch on Ukrainian church issue, and the possible granting of autocephaly.

Recently, Ukrainian media have reported that the first and third presidents of Ukraine visited Constantinople and met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to discuss religious issues.

Візит.jpg

The press service of BBC Ukraine confirmed information about Leonid Kravchuk’s visit but refused to disclose its details.

This is not the first visit of the former presidents to Patriarch Bartholomew to address the church issue. For the first time the two presidents’churchmission was reported in August 2015 by the Greek religious news agency Romfea, which highlights the life of the churches subordinated to the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Then the ex-presidents and the Patriarch Bartholomew talked throughout two hours“about the political situation and ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine.”

In 2015, Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko told the Patriarch that they see "the role of the Mother Church in addressing the ecclesial schism in Ukraine.”

In late August 2016, yet another similar mission of Yushchenko andKravchuk was carried out.

“The visit took place indded, I confirm this," said Leonid Kravchuk’ assistant Oksana Sibirtseva to BBC Ukraine.

However, she noted that Leonid Kravchuk cannot give any comments on the trip, being on vacation. She stressed it was a private visit

A spokesman for the UOC-KP Bishop Yevstratii (Zorya) in an interview with BBC Ukraine called "correct" the strategy of negotiation participants not to disclose details of the talks, “not to play up to Russia and not give it too much information.”

He assured that he is familiar with the specific details of the visit of Yushchenkoand Kravchuk.

“I know that the president handed over to the Patriarch five thousand signatures of Ukrainian intelligentsia application for granting autocephalous status to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” said Archbishop Yevstratii.

He recalled that the president traveled to Turkey a year ago, but this time the circumstances have changed through the formal appeal of the Verkhovna Rada regarding autocephaly.

"This is done in order that Ecumenical Patriarch saw that this initiative does not come from the President or the Council but from all groups of the population,” the hierarch.

Religious expert and member of the parliamentary committee on culture and spirituality Victor Yelenskyy stresses that the Church in Ukraine is separated from the state, and therefore it is logical that these visits are private.

"It is normal when public figures without official status get involved. But they have significant social and political weight,” said the expert. However, henotes that one should not expect prompt solution fromPatrairch Bartholomew because he fears the split with Moscow.

“Ecumenical Patriarch in difficult situations, he cannot quickly make a decision on Ukraine. He fears a split in the Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church demarche,” said the expert.

Victor Yelenskyy reminds that in 1996 the Church in Estonia received autocephalous status through restoration of Constantinople’sTomos of 1926.

It followed by the breakup in the relations between Moscow and Constantinople for two years.

Subsequently a compromise was reachedso that in Estonia two canonical Orthodox Churches coexist -  the one subordinate to Constantinople and another one to Moscow, and the parishes may choose where they belong.

In recent years the issue of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was one of the most important in the political life of the country.


Teachings of Christ

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Adam, before the fall ... participated in ... divine illumination and resplendence, and because he was truly clothed in a garment of glory he was not naked, nor was he unseemly by reason of his nakedness. He was far more richly adorned than those who now deck themselves out with diadems of gold and brightly sparkling jewels. St. Paul calls this divine illumination and grace our celestial dwelling when he says, 'For this we sigh, yearning to be clothed in our heavenly habitation, since clothed we will not be found naked' (2 Cor. 5:2).

St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 67, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 377)