Metropolitan Hilarion discussed with Pope Francis the situation in Ukraine

© Photo : photo provided Otsmatrivali Hilarion granted an audience with Pope Francis. Archive photoMetropolitan Hilarion discussed with Pope Francis the situation in Ukraine© Photo : photo courtesy of the DECR

Chairman of the Synodal Department for external Church relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk met at the Vatican with Pope Francis and drew the attention of the Pontiff to the attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to adopt three draft laws, directed against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

«Metropolitan Hilarion drew the attention of the interlocutor on the situation in Ukraine, where the Verkhovna Rada proposed three bills, each of which is aimed at the discrimination of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church… the efforts of the authors of two of these bills are intended to declare the Ukrainian Orthodox Church the national Church of Ukraine, which it is, uniting the majority of Orthodox believers of the country, and foreign religious organizations whose activities require special coordination with the authorities», — reports the website of the DECR.

Metropolitan told the Pontiff that the third bill aims to legalize the practice of hostile takeovers of churches of the canonical Church, which resulted in the seizure of more than 40 temples.

The DECR Chairman also discussed with the Pope the situation in the middle East. Metropolitan Hilarion underscored that after the end of the antiterrorist operation in Syria a lot of work on restoration of the destroyed churches and monasteries, as well as to create conditions for the return of refugees to their homes.

«In providing humanitarian aid to the Christians of the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church can combine efforts. The DECR Chairman noted that joint work in this direction is already underway. In particular, the Orthodox and Catholics are working on compiling a complete list of destroyed or damaged during the war, the churches and monasteries of Syria,» — said the press service of the DECR.