"The work on the Tomos started with my first meeting with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch. My advisers and my assistants from the very first weeks, in spite of a very difficult situation in Ukraine, a very difficult situation on the frontline (started this work - ed.). I believed, I started working on the strategy of obtaining the independence of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. On the creation of an independent Church," he said noting that in general, he had been working on that issue for three years.
"Why is it so important? Ukrainian statehood, Ukrainian state cannot be independent if it has a church guided from abroad as one of its components, one of the pillars of the existence of the statehood," the head of state stressed.
According to the president, it was agreed at that meeting that several conditions must be met, particularly the support of the parliament regarding the president’s appeal. "This is the position of secular authorities, and I thank all the MPs, everyone who voted in support of the president's appeal," he said.
Poroshenko recalled that some of the lawmakers voted against the appeal. "As you know, only one political force prevented this - they did not just refuse to vote, but tried to arrange a fight inside the parliament ... And I thank the parliamentarians, because I was at that time in the hall, that we did not take the bait," he said.
"But I emphasize that after receiving the Tomos, we will not allow any provocations ... We will have freedom of belief. Everyone will walk his own way to God. And we will not allow shedding a single drop of blood, because only faith and prayer will create the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church," the president noted.
He also reminded that there was an appeal to the Ukrainian hierarchs. "And in 27 years of our independence, there has never been a case when the signatures of all hierarchs were present under the same document, except for the part of the Moscow Patriarchate. And it was a miracle. It could not happen without God's help. And they have not just signed the document, but since April, they have carried out absolutely pro-Ukrainian, absolutely pure work to help in the creation of the Ukrainian Church," the head of state emphasized.
Poroshenko also noted that the Ecumenical Patriarch had appointed the Exarchs of the Patriarchate "who have already started working on the final line of giving Ukraine the Tomos".
"But I never tell or told the date or that the Tomos is already in our pocket. I continue to insist that the Tomos requires prayer from each of you. Sincere prayer to God. Because it will not happen without God's help. And it requires our struggle for the creation of the Church," the president noted.
"And once again I want to emphasize that the Ukrainian church should be separated from the state. I stand firm on this. Let alone the foreign state. And the Ukrainian church will not be guided by Moscow - the capital of the aggressor-country. We will not allow this," he said, noting that "this is why the decision to appoint the Exarchs by His All-Holiness caused such panic".
Hierarchs on Sept. 2 held meetings (Synaxis) of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) to confirm that the Church of Constantinople is authorized, without the consent of other churches, to grant autonomy, or autocephaly, to a church that has requested it. This paves the way for autocephality of Ukraine's church. Further measures, such as the adoption of documents at the Synod, are expected to be taken in October.
On April 17, 2018, President Poroshenko said Ukraine was closer than ever before to creating an autocephalous united local church.
Pursuant to the instruction of Poroshenko, on April 20, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Rostyslav Pavlenko visited Istanbul and handed over to His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the Appeal of the President of Ukraine on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
He also handed over the Verkhovna Rada’s resolution on the support for the President’s Appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also received the appeals of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.