By Kostas Onisenko
Preparations for the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Kyiv have entered the final stretch.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is expected to be in Ukraine on the occasion of the 30th-anniversary celebrations for the country’s Independence Day, which will not only be celebrated with a series of major events but will also be an important political event for the country.
It is noteworthy that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky personally invited the Ecumenical Patriarch to Ukraine during his visit to the Phanar last October, while heads of state and important figures from around the world have been invited.
Last Friday, according to the Press Office of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine met the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine and former Consul in Constantinople, Vasyl Bodnar, to discuss the details of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s visit to Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian media, the main emphasis in the discussion was on the visit program and the organizational and protocol issues.
Most Ukrainians look forward to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s visit to their country, which they consider to be the final symbolic ratification of the autocephaly the Orthodox Church of Ukraine had received two years ago.
On the contrary, since the announcement of the visit, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine have made numerous statements and protests against it.
According to their statements, the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church believe that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to Ukraine will give a new impetus to the process of transition of parishes from the Russian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The process has not stopped all the time, but it is slow, given the legal and other problems created by representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.
However, representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine also agree that the visit will trigger a new mass wave of parish transfers.
For example, this view was expressed in an interview with OrthodoxTimes by the Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, Evstratiy (Zoria).
It is reminded that, according to the Ukrainian legislation, each parish is a separate legal entity with its own statute, which after a meeting has the right to decide to which Church will belong administratively.
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