As reported by Censor.NET citing president's press office, His Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus’-Ukraine Filaret officially handed over to the president the Appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian church signed by all the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.
"I think millions of Ukrainians have dreamed about the Autocephalous Orthodox Church for many years. Someone has lost hope and someone has continued to believe. God’s help allows me to say that we are closer than ever before to receiving the Tomos of Autocephaly," the president said.
In turn, Patriarch Filaret supported the president's statement: "This is a spiritual basis of any state. A state cannot exist without this spiritual basis. Just as it cannot exist without an army or a church. This will be a great impetus for the unity of the entire Ukrainian society - recognition of the Ukrainian church." He added that the church had strived for that for 26 years.
Patriarch Filaret noted that the Appeal had been signed by all the hierarchs and expressed hope that the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew would become the beginning of the recognized Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church: "The Ukrainian state was tested by war and war proved that Ukraine will exist. And for Ukraine to be a state, there should be a church in Ukraine - a spiritual foundation. Therefore, we are struggling for the Ukrainian state to have this spiritual foundation. And we thank you for being a president who has set the goal to achieve this. And you will. We pray for it. And we believe that this will happen".
The head of state also met with Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Makariy, Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and officially accepted the Appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed by all the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
The primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church thanked the president for the meeting. "If a person works hard and strives for that, merciful God helps us. I am very grateful to you," the Metropolitan said and thanked for the efforts of the president on the establishment of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
"I am grateful for the signatures, but I would like to ask you to pray for God to help us receive this Tomos and protect Ukraine," Poroshenko said.
The head of state also held a meeting with Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onufriy.
The president informed the Metropolitan on his visit to Istanbul, where he met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the members of the Synod to discuss the prospects of granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"We had a long discussion about the fate of Ukraine, the fate of the Ukrainian Church. His All-Holiness expressed support to all Ukrainians, to our country in repelling the aggression in difficult times, when Ukraine loses its best sons and daughters," the president said.
Poroshenko and the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate exchanged views on the intensification of interfaith dialogue in Ukraine.
On April 17, Poroshenko said Ukraine was closer than ever before to creating an autocephalous united local church.