The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his speech on Sunday, February 7, 2021, at the Patriarchal Church, addressed a group of pilgrims from Lviv, Ukraine, and referred to the long and indestructible ties of the Ukrainian people with the Mother Church of Constantinople, but also to His intention to visit Ukraine next summer if health conditions allow it.
“The ties between Kyiv and Constantinople, Tsarhorod (As Constantinople was called in Ukrainian), remained close for centuries, despite the many occasional challenges. Even after granting the Patriarch of Moscow the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kyiv, who was elected by the local clergy assembly (of the Ukrainian people), the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not forget his daughter (Church), and the Ukrainian leaders tried to maintain contacts with their historic Mother Church.
Unfortunately, the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine, which was caused by the political scene in the Soviet Union and its subsequent fall, led to the sad schism that plagued your country. For decades, millions of Ukrainian Orthodox have been unjustly excluded from communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church for reasons of political expediency.
That is why, when Ukraine was fully mature and ready for a self-governing Church, the Mother Church of Constantinople acted justly by granting the autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as a way to heal this schism and unite all Ukrainians. That is why we are happy that one of the fruits of the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine is the increased number of pilgrims in the holy places, not only here in Constantinople but also in the whole Orthodox world.
Therefore, we hope that as the pandemic subsides, more and more Ukrainians will visit this sacred and historic site and that we can further strengthen our long-standing ties.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch concluded by saying that He foretastes the joy of his visit to the beautiful and hospitable Ukraine next summer to take part in the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of its independence.
Immediately after the Ecumenical Patriarch blessed the pilgrims and offered them small souvenirs and books on the history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the Ukrainian language.