Moscow, October 9, Interfax - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has thanked Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II for supporting the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).
"I would like to point out with special gratitude your efforts to support canonical Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine, the true life of which you know better than any of the primates or hierarchs of other local —hurches," Patriarch Kirill said in a message on the anniversary of the enthronement of Theodore II on Tuesday.
Patriarch Kirill referred to the Patriarch of Alexandria's "zeal" for strengthening pan-Orthodox unity.
At the end of September, Theodore II, the second most important leader among the heads of Orthodox Churches, expressed solidarity with the canonical UOC during a visit to Odessa and promised to support it in the international arena.
Theodore II studied at Odessa State University and later, in 1985-1990, led the metochion of Alexandria in Odessa.
Over the past few weeks, controversy has grown over the intention of the Constantinople Patriarchate to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church a tomos of autocephaly and thus create a local church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate. This has met with resistance from a considerable number of believers in Ukraine who are followers of the canonical UOC and fear hostile actions from advocates of autocephaly.