Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
President Yushchenko meets Patriarch Cyril IPresident Victor Yushchenko met with Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus Cyril I.
Opening the meeting President Yushchenko greeted Patriarch Cyril I with his spiritual pastoral visit to Ukraine. He expressed hope for continued dialogue regarding the development of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, which the Ukrainian side appreciates.
According to Victor Yushchenko the Orthodoxy in Ukraine has favorable conditions for development and restoration of cathedrals, churches and other religious buildings, which has recently been going on actively proves that. The President expressed belief that government policy on the church is correct, although the Ukrainian Orthodoxy faces some problems, particularly the existence of four Orthodox confessions.
In Victor Yushchenko's opinion the problem is immanent not only to Ukraine and Ukrainian Orthodoxy and Ukraine just had inherited it. The President announced that this issue, which lowers the potential of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, will be discussed during his meeting with Patriarch Cyril I.
From his part the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus thanked for the invitation to visit Ukraine, which he received from the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Vladimir. Pointing to the historical role of Kyiv in the development of Orthodoxy, he said that the capital of Ukraine is "our Jerusalem and Constantinople simultaneously". Therefore his pastoral visit to Ukraine, he said, he also considers the mission of pilgrimage.
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus also stressed that has been conducting dialogue on the religious situation in Ukraine with the President of Ukraine for a long time now and plans to discuss a number of issues with him during today's meeting.
Following their bilateral meeting the President of Ukraine and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus exchanged gifts. President Yushchenko presented to Patriarch Cyril I the Poltava style vyshyvanka, the embroidered rushnyk by famous Ukrainian artist Olexandra Telizhenko and the set of collectible coins from the "Monuments of the ancient cultures of Ukraine" series.
In response, Patriarch Cyril I gave to President Yushchenko the icon "The akeropita image of Jesus Christ" and the certificate for full collection of works and letters of Nikolai Gogol in 17 volumes, which will be published with the blessing of The Patriarch of Moscow. The set of books will be published within the framework of Ukrainian-Russian project in late 2009 by the publishing house of Moscow Patriarchate.
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