Yurash: Shmyhal's visit to Phanar is confirmation of previous agreements

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhal and Patriarch Bartholomew in Phanar. Photo: Press Service of the Cabinet of Ministers

The head of the Department for Religion under the Cabinet of Ministers Secretariat Andrey Yurash explained the main essence of PM Denis Shmyhal's visit to Phanar.

The visit of the head of the Ukrainian government to Phanar was a confirmation of the achieved "very significant and convincing level of mutual understanding between Ukraine and the Mother Church". The head of the Department for religion, ensuring the right of citizens to freedom of world outlook and religion under the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Andrey Yurash spoke about this on the air of “Ukrainian Radio”.

“The essence of this visit was a confirmation of the already achieved very significant and convincing level of mutual understanding between Ukraine and the Mother Church,” said Yurash. “Saying Ukraine, I mean both church organizations and government structures, which are obliged, according to Ukrainian legislation, to assist religious organizations in realizing their religious priorities, visions and tasks.”

He explained that the OCU "is, of course, grateful to the Mother Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the bestowal of the Tomos, therefore, the current leaders of the state, in particular, and the President met with Patriarch Bartholomew in October and the head of Government in November".

Speaking about Shmyhal's visit, which was being prepared by the structure headed by Yurash, he stressed that “the most important thing that happened during this visit was confirmation of the invitation to the Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Ukraine. And, in fact, then, on November 30, the Patriarch for the first time officially and publicly articulated his intention to accept the invitation that he received from the President, and he promised that he would be in Ukraine as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the independence of our state.

As reported, on November 30, 2020, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhal took part in a joint prayer with the head of the Phanar and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, which took place at the residence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul. On the same day, Patriarch Bartholomew announced that he would come to Ukraine in August 2021.

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