2019-04-23 13:38:00

Patriarch Kirill: Zelensky given historic chance to unite people of Ukraine (updated)

Moscow, April 23, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has congratulated Vladimir Zelensky on his election as president of Ukraine and hopes that under his rule, the canonical Church will stop being persecuted.

"The people of Ukraine that supported your candidacy are pinning big hopes on you for positive changes in their lives. You are being given a historic chance to unite the nation and make a personal contribution to resolving economic and social problems in the country, and to finding ways to overcome the existing conflicts and splits," the patriarch said in his address to Zelensky published by the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Kirill said he believes that the only possible way to ensure that the state system works effectively toward making life better for the people will be "cooperation of all well-intentioned powers in society, with their full involvement in a nationwide dialogue."

In his address to Zelensky, Patriarch Kirill expressed sincere hope for an end to "the sad period" of harassment and discrimination against Ukrainian citizens belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

"May the merciful God help you in your good affairs and undertakings, and give you wisdom and make you firm in your future endeavors for the good of the Ukrainian people," Patriarch Kirill said in his letter to the Ukrainian president-elect.

Zelensky won the presidential election in the second round on April 21 with 73% of the vote, while his rival, incumbent head of state Pyotr Poroshenko gained slightly over 24%.