Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Cyprus, and the Patriarchate of Alexandria participated in the celebrations.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate was represented by the Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, who conveyed the message of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Patriarch in his message referred to his upcoming visit to Kyiv “to see up close how the pious Orthodox Ukrainian people are blessed and sanctified, uniting the Body of the Lord, without divisions or painful situations of the recent past.”
He pointed out that “whether they know it, whether they want it or not, all believers in Christ in Ukraine are the fruit of the vineyard of the Mother Church of Constantinople.”
Find below the message of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew:
“The voice of the Mother Church of Constantinople is known to the blessed people of Kyiv and throughout Ukraine, as this voice is the result of the combination of the breath and the exaltation of the Holy Spirit during the baptism and conversion to Christianity of your blessed ancestors by our unforgettable Forerunners and Fathers, so I feel it is my unbreakable duty to address you on this historic, blessed day.
This year, the celebration of the anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, however, is full of anticipation of personal communication and encounter, but also true unity in Christ through the Glass of Life, as we plan a visit to Kyiv in response to a sincere Church and state invitation to let us see up close how the pious orthodox Ukrainian people are blessed and sanctified, uniting the Body of the Lord, without divisions or painful situations of the recent past”.
In this regard, in view of our forthcoming visit in August, I send the message of love and unity to all, because whether they know it or not, all believers in Christ in Ukraine are the fruit of the precious vineyard of the Mother Church of Constantinople. Many may misinterpret this vital and profound spiritual connection as our intention to control and manipulate the inner life of the Church of Ukraine. Not at all! We have given part of the long-suffering Body of the Mother Church to enable children, born from her womb, 1033 years ago, to maturely and responsibly and prudently deal with the issues of daily ecclesiastical life, according to tradition, the customs and habits, in their language within the state borders of Ukraine.
Such administrative independence does not in any way mean that we do not care or abandon the heavy spiritual responsibility we assumed when we brought faith and enlightenment to your ancestors. We feel this strong spiritual connection and are very interested in progressing through God’s grace for all our children throughout the universe. The love of the Mother Church for her children everywhere is sacrificial and exhausting, but she never pretended, ostentatiously. We have given you real inner ecclesiastical independence in the form of autocephaly and this is not just a name, since we have seen the tears of many heroes and saints of the pious Ukrainian people who, along the currents of the Dnieper River came to us in an attempt to gain a Local Church, without external interventions, which gradually changed its language and traditions, even after the creation of a new independent and sovereign state.
Dear Brother Epifaniy in Christ, we come with great love into our hearts throughout Ukraine without exception. A true Mother never weakens her love, because no one and nothing can stop the Mother from loving them whether her children love her or not. If instead of rejoicing, they are upset that their brothers and sisters who were dead, and are revived, who were lost and are found (Luke 15:32), it does not in any way discourage the Church from continuing to heal with bitter medicines, but always guided not by secular criteria and the sovereignty of one nation over another, but for the sake of sovereignty by the will of God, Love, and Peace on Earth.
With these thoughts, we congratulate the much-loved Prelate Epifaniy, the dear holy brethren hierarchs and all those who have entered the Church and those who didn’t, and in the hope of a personal meeting and communication with you soon we embrace you, through our messenger, Metropolitan Emmanuel, who was sent to join you and pray for the generous mercy of the Triune God, glorified by our fathers, throughout Ukraine and its noble people.”
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