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The Metropolitan of Kyiv visits Chambésy, Geneva

To promote the interests of his Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan Eustratios of Bila Tserkva, visited Geneva, Switzerland.

On Wednesday morning, 10 April 2024, the Metropolitan of Kyiv went to the headquarters of the World Council of Churches, where he met with the Council’s General Secretary, Pastor Jerry Pillay, department heads, and the organization’s senior officials. In the afternoon they departed for the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, where Council officials hosted a meal in honour of Metropolitan Epifaniy. Fruitful discussions continued in the early afternoon on the premises of the Institute, after which they returned to Geneva.

Immediately upon returning to Geneva, Metropolitan Epifaniy proceeded to the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy. The distinguished visitor and his entourage were greeted at the entrance of the offices by Metropolitan Maximos of Switzerland, Chairman of the Board and Head of the Orthodox Centre, accompanied by his collaborators, Archimandrite Fanourios Tholiotis and Protopresbyter Basilios Kotrotsios, Protosyncellus and General Archpastoral Commissioner of the Holy Metropolis of Switzerland respectively.

Also present were Protopresbyter Alexandre Sadkowsky, Archpastoral Commissioner of the French-speaking parishes and responsible for the liturgical life and pastoral care of Ukrainian refugees; Archdeacon and Secretary of the Centre, Gabriel Baratashvili; Deacon Andrei Iatsenia of Ukrainian descent; Mr. Georgios Laimopoulos, Master of Ceremonies, Secretary of the Advisory Council of the Centre and former Assistant Secretary General of the Pan-Orthodox Synod of Europe; Mr. Konstantinos Delikostantis, former Secretary General of the Pan-Orthodox Council of Europe, Konstantinos Delikostantis, Honorary Professor at the Theological School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Professor at the Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology of the Orthodox Centre; Dr. Gary Vatsikouras, Director of the Press Office and Member of the Commission for Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Relations of the Holy Metropolis of Switzerland, as well as students of the aforementioned Institute.

Following the discussions in the main hall of the Centre, called the Primates’ Hall, where the Metropolitan of Switzerland gave the appropriate welcome address, he recalled the official visits of many Primates of Autocephalous Churches to the Orthodox Centre, referred to the 58-year history of the Orthodox Centre, praised its service in inter-Orthodox meetings throughout the long journey of the Orthodox Church towards the Holy and Great Council, underlined its contribution to inter-Christian dialogue and inter-religious academic meetings, emphasised its significant contribution to academic theological education over the last 27 years through the operation of the Institute for Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology, and concluded by wishing success to the purposes of the esteemed visitor’s visit to Switzerland.

Regarding the Institute of the Orthodox Centre, the Metropolitan of Kyiv warmly accepted a proposal by the Metropolitan of Switzerland to designate candidates from the Church of Ukraine. According to the Metropolitan of Kyiv, this will be possible after the end of the war and the restoration of peace in his troubled country. The discussion also touched on the pastoral care of the Holy Metropolis of Switzerland for Ukrainian refugees and its offer of the possibility of holding divine services in the Ukrainian language in three parishes of the Metropolis. After the discussions, commemorative gifts were exchanged between the Metropolitan of Kyiv and the Metropolitan of Switzerland.

The next stop was the Holy Church of St Paul the Apostle. The descent to the Church from the external staircase allowed Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv to have a complete view of the architectural complex of the Centre and to admire the view towards Lake Leman and the opposite shore, and in the background on the horizon, the White Mountain, the highest peak of the Alps.

Continuing, Metropolitan Epifaniy visited the Holy Church of Saint Catherine (Crypt), where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated twice a month in the Ukrainian language. A short prayer was then offered at the tomb of Metropolitan Damaskinos of Adrianople.

The appropriate honours were rendered upon the arrival and departure of Metropolitan Epifaniy.