To His All-Holiness BARTHOLOMEW,
Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome,
I wish with this letter to attest to you, my beloved brother and concelebrant in the Lord, of my personal support and that of the fullness of our autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine during these days of difficult challenges for the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople and for the entire Christian world.
With concern and great sadness, we see that changes in the status of the cathedral of Hagia Sophia of Constantinople continue to move forward, heedless of protestations from religious and secular leaders around the world. The fullness of the internal and external consequences of these changes are difficult to predict, but it is obvious that they inflame the pain of past wounds, divide societies and people, and exacerbate disagreements that already fill the world.
Trusting in God’s involvement in these events, we place all our hope in the Lord in sorrow, because He has the power and authority to turn even difficult circumstances to better results. In such circumstances, we are comforted by the words of Christ the Savior Himself: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9).
As a sign of prayerful solidarity with you, the First among the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, and with our Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I have given my blessing for services to be held in the churches of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on July 24 with prayers and reading of Akathist to the Blessed Theotokos.
It is symbolic that on this very day, July 24, we commemorate the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olha, the grandmother of the Holy Prince Volodymyr the Great, the Baptizer of Rus-Ukraine. According to the chronicles, during her personal visit to Constantinople as the ruler of Rus’, she was baptized with the name Elena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, Equal-to-the-Apostles. Her example is another reminder of the inseparable spiritual connection between the Mother Church of Constantinople and her Daughter-Church of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine. Therefore, your pain is our pain, and that of the Fullness of Orthodoxy.
And this pain is especially severe because we see how some of our brothers, instead of supporting the Mother Church through prayer and deeds, make use of the present circumstances to repeat accusations of contempt for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and personally against Your All-Holiness. Let their answer be the prayer: “Let them curse, but You bless; when they arise, let them be ashamed, but let Your servant rejoice.” (Psalm 108/109:28).
With prayers for you, for our Mother Church, and for the protection and help of God and the Blessed Theotokos,
Your brother and co-worker in the Lord
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine