President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday met with Constantinopolitan Patriarch Bartholomew during his visit to Istanbul.

During the meeting, religious issue of formation of the Orthodox Church, independent from Moscow Patriarchate, which President Yushchenko supports, was discussed.

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate has already expressed its anxiety on this meeting in Istanbul and has named the President’s actions as “interference in Church’s activity”.

As a reminder, the possibility of formation of the Orthodox Church, independent from Moscow Patriarchate, and which would be ruled by Constantinopolitan patriarchate, was discussed in the Ukrainian mass media more that once. It is known that this idea is supported by some “orange” politicians, who hold negotiations with Patriarch Bartholomew.

“A delegation with Ukrainian officials went to Patriarch Bartholomew with a request to solve this situation in Ukraine or to influence on its solution,” archbishop Mitrophan, the governing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s activity, told.

A question of present political situation was also discussed. Bartholomew said he prayed for Ukraine’s unity and expressed hopes early elections would stabilize the country. He asked Yushchenko to give his blessings to the Ukrainian people.

The President said the country “is on the right path, which is supported by more and more people.”

Yushchenko and Bartholomew then exchanged gifts.


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