President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with the religious communities of Ukraine, on Thursday, March 21.
During the meeting, President Poroshenko thanked the Representatives of the Churches, while stressing the need to protect the principles of religious freedom.
“As President, and a guarantor of constitutional rights, I will do anything to protect religious freedom in Ukraine. The issue of religious freedom must be subject of a joint action. Violence can never be a method of solving problems,” the President of Ukraine said.
Taking the floor, Metropolitan Onufriy thanked the President for the occasion of the meeting, stressing that “during the Great Lent, the Church asks for repentance, prayer and unity. The work of the Church is to lead people to God and to proclaim true love, forgiveness and peace. While the duty of the state is to take care of the material aspect of human life, and to observe the laws faithfully.”
He also stressed that: “I am sure everything that is happening right now around our Church, especially among the Orthodox people, is not the right way to move forward. This is certainly not the path that will lead us to unity. It is necessary to recognize the irregularity of this course, to draw conclusions from the mistakes that are made and to seek other ways of unifying the Church.”
It is noteworthy that Metropolitan Epiphanius of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine intervened at the time Metropolitan Onufriy spoke, saying that instructions to transfer churches to another jurisdiction are not sent to state administrations.
After the meeting, the President of Ukraine thanked all the Heads of the Religious Communities for a sincere dialogue that facilitates the understanding of the issues.
Finally, President Poroshenko had a private meeting with Metropolitan Onufriy, where the content of their conversation is not yet known.