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.

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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

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

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

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear" and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voice. 

St. Benedict