UOC Delegation visits Orthodox Centre of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy (Switzerland)

October 12, 2017, within the framework of their stay in Geneva, Head of the UOC Representation to International European Organisations (UOC IEO) His Grace Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka and Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC Archpriest Mykolay Danylevych visited the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy. The Ukrainian Church delegation was being received by: Director of the Centre of the Orthodox His Eminence Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches (WCC) His Eminence Archbishop Job of Telmessos, and Swiss Metropolis Vicar Bishop Makarios of Lampsakos.

HE Metropolitan Jeremiah welcomed the guests and went on to discuss the activities of the Orthodox Centre, which has now been operating for more than half a century. Within the Centre there is a Theological Institute, which accepts students from all Orthodox churches for post-graduate studies. The guests were told about the aims and objectives of the Institute, as well as its scientific and pedagogical activity.

His Grace Bishop Victor in turn spoke about the reasons for the visit of the UOC delegation to Geneva, about the problems of  protecting the rights of believers in Ukraine, which is a very important and current issue for the UOC. He also spoke about the seizure and arson of Orthodox churches, about cases of beatings of believers and other crimes. Bishop Victor also stressed the importance of the support for the UOC by the Local Orthodox Churches and asked the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who were in attendance to pray for Ukraine and its people.

HE Metropolitan Jeremiah mentioned that problems similar to those which the UOC is facing today, he personally experienced together with our Church in the early 1990’s, when he was part of the delegation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) which came to Ukraine to familiarise itself with the difficult inter-confessional situation. Metropolitan Jeremiah, who was in Ukraine at the time, was struck by the scene of the seized and closed Orthodox Church, outside which under the winter skies the Orthodox community was praying. His Eminence expressed his regret that today such events are being repeated, but assured Bishop Victor of his prayers for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian people.

Metropolitan Jeremiah shared memories of his personal acquaintance and meetings with His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of blessed memory, who at one time was the representative of the ROC at the WCC, and later Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe.

The meeting participants expressed their conviction of the need for closer communication and cooperation between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The meeting was held in a cordial and fraternal atmosphere.

HE Archbishop Job of Telmessos also conducted a tour of the premises of the Orthodox Centre, during which the guests visited the church of St. Paul, and also talked with students and famous Greek ecclesiastical historian Vlasios Fìdas, who is currently giving lectures to the students of the Institute.

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