"GLORY TO THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND GLORY TO UKRAINE"—PRESIDENT AT CEREMONY OF ENTHRONEMENT OF METROPOLITAN EPIFANY
RISU, 3 February 2019
After the conclusion of the ceremony of enthronement of the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifany, in Kievan Sophia, Petro Poroshenko addressed the audience with a speech, noting that there have already been more than 100 metropolitans on the Kievan throne, but Epifany is the first head of a canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) in history.
"The enthronement of Metropolitan Epifany within these thousand-year-old walls of Kievan Sophia signifies that the church and the Orthodox Ukrainian people are receiving a new leader. With you are now linked great hopes of many people. I believe that these hopes will definitely be fulfilled and that you will lead the Orthodox community along the path of good, love, faith, and charity. I pray that the Lord will be with you in this great mission that you have taken upon yourself. I congratulate you for your election to the Kievan See," the president addressed Metropolitan Epifany.
Petro Poroshenko congratulated him for his 40th birthday and expressed his happiness that the new church has received a young leader. The president wished the metropolitan strength, wisdom, support, and the Lord's blessing.
On this festive day, Petro Poroshenko recalled great Ukrainians on the Kiev see, from Ilarion and Peter Mohila to Vasily Lypkivsky, Mstislav Skrypnik, and Vladimir Romaniuk, whose prayers and tireless labor brought about this festive day.
The president expressed words of respect and gratitude to Honorary Patriarch Filaret, who did much for the emergence of the autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The head of state thanked the Ukrainian people for prayer for the Ukrainian autocephalous church.
He thanked Patriarch Bartholomew for support of the centuries-old aspiration of the Ukrainian people to have a local church and for his faith in Ukraine and its people and for his love for Ukraine.
Petro Poroshenko thanked Metropolitan of Gaul Immanuel for his enormous role in the joint work for recognizing Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
The president thanked everybody who made this day possible.
Separately Petro Poroshenko addressed words of gratitude to UGKTs Patriarch Sviatoslav and representatives of other Christian confessions of Ukraine for their presence at the ceremony.
The head of state once again emphasized that the new church is and will be independent from the state, assuring that there will not be a state church in Ukraine: "In Ukraine there will not be a state church. This constitutional principle was and remains unshakeable. I am sure that the independence and mutual respect will open the path to genuine partnership of the state and the church for our joint labor for the welfare of the country and the people. I offer an equal and responsible partnership on the path chosen by the country. We have a very broad field for cooperation!" (tr. by PDS, posted 4 February 2019)
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