#23 - JRL 2009-144 - JRL Home
Patriarch Kirill stopped from visiting West Ukrainian city

Sevastopol, August 2, Interfax - The Ukrainian President's office on Sunday prevented Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who is visiting Ukraine, from going to Rovno, a city in the West of the country, pleading security considerations.

"The authorities said the reason was security. The leadership of the office of [Ukrainian President] Viktor Yuschenko told us that for reasons of security we would have to change the route of the Patriarch's pastoral trip," Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations told Interfax-Religion.

"We don't know who is plotting any provocations in Rovno or whether there are any provocations being plotted by dissenters or any political groups anyway," Archbishop Hilarion said.

Earlier on, the Ukrainian government advised to Patriarch Kirill to avoid visiting Rovno but the Patriarch insisted that he wished to go and asked for arrangements to be made for such a trip, the Archbishop said. "However, today we were told that it was impossible to fly to Rovno and that the plane would land in Kiev," he said.

Archbishop Hilarion deplored the fact that Kirill's planned meeting with Rovno Orthodox community had not materialized. "His Holiness wanted to visit Rovno very much, and he hopes that his desire to meet with the flock of that city will come true," the Archbishop said.

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