On August 8th, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to sign a a joint statement with the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, which was drafted by representatives of Fanar together with the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
This took place during Zelensky’s 7-8th august visit to Turkey.
The statement that Zelensky refused to sign was mainly related to environmental issues, since, according to the channel, Bartholomew “is known for his activities in this area” and did not contain political aspects, it had a declarative nature.
According to a statement, cited by BBC News Ukraine, initially, it was planned that the patriarch and the president will sign a joint statement. The sources in Kyiv and Istanbul confirmed the signing of the document.
“However, at the last minute, the sides did not understand each other and, according to parties, the team of the president refused to sign the document, which was prepared in Fener in the cooperation with the Foreign Ministry,” the message said.
After the meeting, Zelensky did not communicate with journalists who gathered in the patriarchy.
He did say that the church and Ukraine both respected human life and he would “Defend the independence” of the church.
“Our common value is human life. And this is important for me, especially now, after I became the president of Ukraine. The authorities should not interfere in church affairs, I will defend the independence of the church,” Zelensky emphasized.
Regardless, Zelensky appeared pleased after the meeting with Bartholomew.
“We talked about everything: the situation in Ukraine, the unification of Ukraine, the war in the Donbass, the return of the Crimea – everything. All that worries everyone. I am glad that we have very strong support here not only at the political level. “, Zelensky said.
An anonymous Daily Storm source in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) said that the document was important and obliged Zelensky to continue the policy of ex-president Petro Poroshenko in church matters, but the new leader of Ukraine refused to do so.
“The document, like the meeting, was prepared by [the deputy head of the president’s office, Vadim] Priestayko, who is lobbying the interests of the old team of Poroshenko and the current minister [foreign affairs] Klimkin to Zelensky. The document said that the new president will continue the policy of Poroshenko. But Zelensky refused to sign, as he does not want to be “the second Poroshenko.” And after that, in order to maintain a good image, the Priestayko team launched information that the document was insignificant and declarative,” a source in the UOC-MP told Daily Storm.
This is in line with a recent statement, released by the UOC – Kiev Patriarchate, that said Poroshenko is using the OCU as a tool against Zelensky and his team.
According to it, Poroshenko was going against the country’s constitution by meddling into religious affairs. Separately, it accused the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) of not being independent and actually being subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
And Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew earlier said that “Mother Chuch” was ready to “adopt back” its wayward children.
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