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Russian President Says Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Now Totally Independent”

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.risu.org.ua/article.php?sid=1142&l=en Russian President Says Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Now Totally Independent” 01.26.04 (RISU.org.ua) – RTR
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2004
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      http://www.risu.org.ua/article.php?sid=1142&l=en

      Russian President Says Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Now Totally Independent”

      01.26.04 (RISU.org.ua) – RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian, 24 Jan 04/ BBC
      Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Jan 24, 2004 – Russian President
      Vladimir Putin stated that “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is now totally
      independent, including from the Russian Orthodox Church.” He talked about
      this and other church matters at a meeting in Kyiv with Ukrainian President
      Leonid Kuchma and Metropolitan Volodymyr [Sabodan], head of the Ukrainian
      Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, on 24 January 2004.

      [Presenter] The second day of the Russian president's Ukrainian visit
      started today with a trip to Kiev-Pecherska Lavra [Monastery of the Caves].
      [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and [Ukrainian President] Leonid Kuchma
      visited one of the most ancient Orthodox holy places. It was founded in the
      11th century, among caves on the banks of the Dnieper. [Passage omitted]

      The Ukrainian [Orthodox] hierarch presented Putin with an icon depicting
      (?Antoniy, Feodosiy) and all Pechera saints who were the monastery's first
      priests. Putin responded with a gift of his own - an icon depicting
      (?Serafim Sarovskiy) which is almost one hundred years old.

      [Putin, presenting the icon] I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude
      for the icon and the remarkably kind words. I would like to say that we in
      Russia know what Kiev-Pecherska Lavra is. We have not forgotten and will
      never forget the fact that it was in the Dnieper that Prince Vladimir
      started baptizing Russia. It was not by accident that for a long time it
      had been referred to as Kievskaya Rus [Kiev's Rus], Holy Rus.

      Today, Kiev-Pecherska Lavra is a symbol of the spiritual unity of Russia
      and Ukraine. Thank you very much for your service. I would like to give you
      the icon of Serafim Sarovskiy. We are going to celebrate the 250th
      anniversary since his birth [several words indistinct]

      [Presenter] Vladimir Putin, Leonid Kuchma and Ukrainian church hierarchs
      later had a cup of tea together. [Passage omitted] President Putin said he
      was aware of the [Ukrainian church] split but was not going to meddle with
      church affairs. Nonetheless, he expressed his support for the Ukrainian
      Patriarchy. And I quote, the president said that we were with you in spirit.

      [Putin] Numerous problems and difficulties have emerged as a result of the
      radical historical changes that our peoples had to face at the start of the
      1990s. But I would like to say that in these circumstances the role and
      significance of Orthodox faith in the spiritual life of our people have
      increased dramatically.

      The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is now totally independent, including from
      the Russian Orthodox Church. The only link that remains between the
      churches is the canonical and spiritual link. In my view, this is a very
      important factor in the unity of our peoples.
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