On September 25, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France arrived in Kyiv for a fraternal visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Epifaniy with the blessing of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
According to the press service of the OCU, the guest was met at the airport by the Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Archbishop Yevstratiy.
During the meeting, which took place on the same day, the Primate briefed the guest on the latest events in the life of the Local Church and Ukraine. Then a fruitful discussion of a wide range of issues followed, in particular, relations with other Local Orthodox Churches were discussed.
Metropolitan Emmanuel of France conveyed to the Primate of the Church of Ukraine the fraternal wishes of his Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and thanked him for the recent fraternal visit of Archbishop Yevstratiy to Paris.
The Hierarch expressed his confidence that the problematic issues would soon be resolved, as it was the case with other Churches, which had received autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In particular, Metropolitan Emmanuel noted: “Every Church that has received autocephaly from the Mother Church of Constantinople has its own history and faces its own challenges. However, they all have a memory and a proper ecclesiastical mind, and they do not forget that they were part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This spiritual relationship with the Mother Church remains indissoluble and truly is love in Christ Jesus, not dependence or oppression. In Christ’s Church, there is no place for injustice and blasphemy, and when God allows temptation, we must all sincerely pray that it will pass.”
“Now the Church of Ukraine is experiencing difficulties, which will be recorded in the Church history, and which will highlight the main heroes, but the problems will soon be overcome, and they will become the thing of the past. I assure you that all Sister Churches pray for peace in Ukraine and do the will of Christ, not the interests of the powerful,” Metropolitan Emmanuel added.
Metropolitan Epifaniy thanked Metropolitan Emmanuel of France for the efforts and assistance that the Ecumenical Patriarchate carries out and provides, wishing the good of the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a Mother to her spiritual Daughter.
“We see, like everyone else, how much his All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Mother Church have done to establish our Local Church as the Autocephalous Church that is equal in the Diptych to the Sister Churches. And we see how much resistance the opponents of the unity of the Church of Christ have maintained to prevent this,” said the Primate of the OCU.
“They cross the sea and land, write and tell lies, seek help from the mighty of this world and to a certain extent receive it – and all this not for the sake of truth and the good of Orthodoxy, but, using the words of the 8th Canon of the third Ecumenical Council, hide the vanity of secular power under the guise of divine service. Even those who until recently were opponents among themselves – now speak the same words and act as allies in an effort to harm the development of the Local OCU,” Metropolitan Epifaniy added.
“However, we firmly believe and are confident that just as with God’s help our Local Church is now capable to overcome the challenges that have burdened us in the past – although few people believed that this is possible at all – so all current challenges will be either overcome,” he said.