Three ex-presidents of Ukraine join outreach on SLC
Former presidents of Ukraine Kravchuk, Kuchma and Yushchenko signed a joint appeal on granting autocephaly to the European Center for Human Rights.
Presidents of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko signed a joint "Appeal to the Ukrainian people, believers of Ukraine regarding the autocephaly to be granted to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. It was reported by them during the press-conference at Ukrinform on May 8.
Former heads of the state said they support the initiative to appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew on granting autocephaly to the SLC.
"After the discussions in our circle we signed a joint appeal," L. Kravchuk said.
The appeal goes on to say, "We believe that the granting autocephaly by the Mother-Church of Constantinople will play an important role in strengthening Ukraine's independence, spiritual and national unity of our people, the development of religious freedom in Ukraine, and will contribute to fruitful interfaith dialogue in our country."
They said that, given the constitutional right of citizens to freedom of religion, "no one has the right to limit the rights of believers" and "believers themselves determine the nature of their faith."
"We are convinced that the unity of the Ukrainian people, enhanced by the Autocephalous Orthodox Local Church, will become an insurmountable spiritual fortress in the fight against Russian aggression against Ukraine. That is why we support the efforts of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in this extremely important issue for Ukraine and we appeal to all citizens, to all responsible politicians and public figures to get integrated around this great goal and step up their efforts to create the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine," the document says.
Earlier, Chancellor of the UOC Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary said that the Primates of the Churches, including those that belong to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, feel negative about the idea of granting autocephaly to schismatics.