President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday met with Patriarch Fyodor II of Alexandria and Metropolitan Volodymyr of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, president's press office reported.

Yushchenko said the church played an important role in the lives of Ukrainians. “Ukrainian Orthodoxy plays an important social role in addition to its spiritual meaning,” he said. He added that churches in Ukraine helped those in need and praised “harmonious” relations between the country’s religious and secular institutions.

12,000 churches have been built in Ukraine over the years of its independence, he said, thanking the leaders for their political neutrality. “This makes the people’s trust in the church stronger,” he said.


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