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Vatican Corrects Kiev's Claims of Holy See Support for Autocephaly

© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniPope Francis leads the Easter mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 16, 2017
Pope Francis leads the Easter mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 16, 2017 - Sputnik International
KIEV (Sputnik) - The Vatican corrected the claim of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry that the Holy See respected Kiev's decision to establish an independent Orthodox Church, the Apostolic Nunciature in Ukraine said, stressing that it was an internal matter of the Orthodox Church.

"In order to partially correct the news given by official Government sources with regard to the meeting that took place yesterday… the Apostolic Nunciature in Ukraine wishes to once again state the position of the Holy See in the question of the creation of one Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, namely that this is an internal question of the Orthodox Church, on which the Holy See never did and has no intention whatsoever of expressing any evaluation, in any venue," the statement of Vatican issued on Wednesday read.

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The statement was made amid Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's efforts aimed at establishing a single local autocephalous church in the country based on the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox churches.

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On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the secretary for relations with states of the Holy See. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said afterward that the Vatican was respectful of the Ukrainian people's decision to establish an independent Church.

In mid-September, two exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople started working in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), which came as part of Constantinople's preparations to grant autocephaly to the UOC-KP. The initiative has been strongly criticized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

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