MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is certain the new head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Onufry will assist in the restoration of peace in the country, a statement published on the Kremlin website Thursday said.
“I am convinced that in the [current] difficult times for Ukraine, your activity as the pastor will help the people reach reconciliation and understanding and help society return to consent and stability,” Putin’s statement said.
The election of the new Metropolitan was held in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine’s chief monastery and cleric’s residence, during the bishops’ council. Seventy-eight Archiereuses, including 52 ruling and 22 vicars, took part in the election, which took place over two rounds of secret balloting.
“Take [my] precatory words of good health, well-being and divine help. May success attend you in the difficult and responsible ministration of the good of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the plentitude of the Russian Orthodox Church,” the president added.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a self-governing church affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate. Metropolitan Onufry has been the locum of the Kiev metropolitan cathedra since February 2014. Metropolitan Volodymyr, who had held the cathedra since 1992, died of illness on July 5.