Zelensky: Authorities should not interfere in church affairs

The meeting of Vladimir Zelensky and Patriarch Bartholomew I in Phanar, August 8, 2019. Photo: the press service of the President of Ukraine

The President of Ukraine emphasized that he would defend the independence of the Church.

At a meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, which took place today in Istanbul, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that the authorities should not interfere in church affairs, reports the press service of the President of Ukraine.

“Our common value is human life. And this is important for me, especially now, when I became the President of Ukraine. The authorities should not interfere in church affairs, I will defend the independence of the Church,” the Head of State emphasized, thanking Patriarch Bartholomew I for his support of Ukraine.

According to the deputy head of the UOC Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, this is a good signal for the Church.

“I would like to hope that the era of impudent use of the church factor and gross state’s interference in church affairs is behind,” the UOC spokesperson wrote on his Facebook page.

He also recalled that in his inaugural speech Zelensky promised not to divide Ukrainians into the right and wrong ones.

“There is a certain cautious optimism. In the future, the seizures of our churches may cease, and then they will be returned to believers,” the archpriest expressed hope.

As reported earlier, on August 7-8, 2019, President Vladimir Zelensky is making a working visit to Turkey, during which he met with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. At the end of the meeting, Zelensky said that they talked with the patriarch "about everything that worries everyone”.

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