On the 500ᵉ day of war in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky prays alongside the Patriarch of Constantinople
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, visiting Istanbul, prayed this morning alongside Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew for the victims of the war with Russia. Mr. Zelensky, who met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday evening, went in the morning to the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, on the Golden Horn in Istanbul. After a short prayer for the victims of the conflict that has plagued Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, the two men spoke away from the cameras.
On Twitter, Ukrainian President wrote : “A prayer in memory of the victims of the war in Ukraine in St. George’s Cathedral, [dans le quartier du] Phanar, [à] Istanbul. I thank the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the spiritual support [qu’il apporte à] Ukraine and [aux] Ukrainians, for prayers for peace for all our land, for all our people”.
On Friday evening, President Erdogan reiterated unequivocal support for his Ukrainian counterpart, saying that Ukraine “deserves” to join NATO.
Elected in 1991, Patriarch Bartholomew exercises honorary and historical primacy over the other patriarchs of the Orthodox world. He is “first among equals” : this does not give it the right to intervene in the religious affairs of the other Orthodox Churches, but gives it spiritual and formal precedence. The Patriarch, who recognized the Independent Church of Ukraine in 2018, said last year that he had become “a target for Moscow”.
The attribution by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople of the status of Church « autocéphale »that is to say independent, to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, angered Russia to the point that it wanted to attack him, he explained.