Met. Jonathan: Poroshenko missed chance to build relations with UOC bishops
The visit of President to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra could have mitigated the authorities' discriminatory statements against UOC, said Met. Jonathan (Yeletskikh).
By refusing to go to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to meet with the hierarchs of the UOC, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko passed up on the chance to establish relations with the canonical Church, Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskikh) of Tulchin and Bratslav said in an interview with the “1Kozak” tv channel.
“So many slanderous words were said about us that this visit of the President could have mitigated the impression that we are the ‘tentacles of an aggressor state,’ which should be cut off, that the Russian Orthodox Church should be driven out of Ukraine (they don’t even want to call us the Ukrainian Orthodox Church),” explained Met. Jonathan. “In my opinion, President Poroshenko passed up a good chance to apologize and establish normal relations with the episcopacy. He has visited Bartholomew, and more than once, and here the Council of Bishops invited him, his own citizens of Ukraine.”
The hierarch also took a guess of the reasons for Poroshenko’s refusal to visit the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
“Maybe, because it has been repeatedly declared at a high state level that it is necessary to take away the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the Pochaev Lavra. Petro Poroshenko did not come to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra so that his presence would not prematurely legitimize the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra under the authority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” suggested Metropolitan Jonathan.
On November 13, 2018, the episcopate of the UOC was to meet with President Petro Poroshenko. However, at the last minute, Poroshenko decided to go instead to the Ukrainian House, where he had initially proposed holding the meeting. At the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, a session of the Holy Synod of the UOC was held, followed by the Bishops' Council. According to media reports, Poroshenko later met with three hierarchs of the UOC.