President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who arrived in Ukraine at the invitation of the Head of State on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of independence.
"First of all, I want to thank you for this visit. For me personally, for Ukraine, for all of us, it is a great honor that you joined us on such important days as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our independence. This is very important for us," the President stressed at the beginning of the meeting.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded that he had paid a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch twice during his term, and His All-Holiness is visiting our country for the third time.
"And it is on the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. And this is a significant event, as it takes place in the year of the 30th anniversary of your election as Ecumenical Patriarch," the Head of State said.
For his part, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew thanked the President of Ukraine for the invitation and stressed that he was happy to be on the beautiful hospitable Ukrainian land, especially when Ukraine celebrates the 30th anniversary of independence.
"It is a great honor for us to celebrate this important date for Ukraine together with you," His All-Holiness stressed.
During the conversation with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that our country is a unique example of peaceful coexistence of many denominations.
The Head of State thanked His All-Holiness for his unconditional personal support of Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. He also thanked for the constant prayers for peace in our country.
The interlocutors discussed the issue of a peaceful settlement in Donbas, the situation with the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, in particular freedom of religion, in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that one of the factors that the aggressor uses against Ukraine as a hybrid weapon is religious.
The President thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for the attention and support for the children of Ukrainian soldiers who lost their parents as a result of Russian aggression.
"I know how warmly you met them at your residence in Fener in 2018. I appreciate your willingness to meet them during your visit," he said.
The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that he prayed for peace in Ukraine and had blessed the Ukrainian people on behalf of the Mother Church.
During the meeting, further steps for closer cooperation between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate were also discussed.