The head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, commented on the statements voiced by the UGCC about the possible visit of Pope Francis to Ukraine.
“We only hear from the media that the visit may take place. There are no objections on our Church’s part, we are ready to accept him, we are ready to communicate,” Metropolitan Epifaniy said in an interview with DW.
At the same time, he noted that the Church has a special procedure in case of visits of the head of the Roman Catholic Church to countries where the majority of the population is Orthodox.
“There is tradition. If the Pope visits a certain territory where there is an Orthodox majority, the visit is coordinated with the local canonical church. Ukraine is now the canonical territory of the OCU. So far, we have received no signals about the visit,” said the first hierarch of the OCU.
Earlier, Metropolitan Epifaniy also commented on the possible visit of Pope Francis to Ukraine. “There is a tradition: if the pope visits an Orthodox country, he will definitely coordinate it with the church that is dominant in that nation. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine is dominant in the Ukrainian state, which is its canonical territory, so we expect that if the Pope really decides… Although we’d been talking for three years about the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch, so it didn’t happen immediately. There was a statement at first, the patriarch said he would come, that he was ready, but it took time. This time has come and, I think, the time will come when the Pope will also visit Ukraine,” said Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine at the time.
Earlier, Archbishop and head of the UGCC Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) spoke about the Pope’s possible visit to Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine confirmed that the organization of the possible visit was “on the agenda”.
The Ambassador of Ukraine to the Vatican has said that Russia is doing everything to prevent the Pope’s visit.