Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv presided over the Polyarchieratic Divine Liturgy yesterday morning at the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Kyiv Unification council.
Archpriests of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine celebrated the Divine Liturgy with the Metropolitan of Kyiv. Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, ministers of government and the ambassador of Greece to Kyiv attended the Divine Liturgy.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv delivered a speech while Metropolitan Emmanuel of France delivered a greeting on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Metropolitan Emmanuel underlined the historical importance of the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine while speaking of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s continued interest in this issue.
“The Ecumenical Patriarch has, with the responsibility he has, raised the cross and still remains at Golgotha today,” said the Metropolitan of France. Addressing the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Metropolitan Emmanuel said, “we will always be by your side, supporting you on the path on which the history has taken us.”
In his speech, the Metropolitan of France made several sideswipes at the Churches that are against the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. “Today we are all here together, those who have believed in the miracle of the Church of Christ. The invitation was for everyone but some, as the Holy Gospel says, are already here while we wait for the others to come,” said Metropolitan Emmanuel.
Referring to the unity of the Church of Ukraine, the Metropolitan of France stated that “the people of Ukraine are the guarantor of unity of its Church, the one who will defend the Church which was created driven by love and compassion for its suffering.”
Finally, addressing Metropolitan Epifaniy, Metropolitan Emmanuel, citing the words of Saint Paul, said that “such a high priest truly meets our need” and wished “to rejoice in the Church of Ukraine.” We all support you and the Ecumenical Patriarch offers his blessing.”