Patriarch Bartholomew admits receiving ‘candies, chocolates’ from Ukraine

Patriarch Bartholomew admits receiving ‘candies, chocolates’ from Ukraine

ISTANBUL

Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko meets with Patriarch Bartholomew at the Fener Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul on Nov. 3.

The leader of the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, Dimitri Bartholomew, has responded to claims that he received money for autocephaly of Ukrainian Orthodox church in a sarcastic way, saying that he only received sweets from the Ukrainian leader.

“Although the Russian church accuses me of receiving money to make this autocephaly, in reality, I did not receive money but many candies and chocolates from the factory of [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko,” Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Bartholomew as saying during a Christmas event in the Fener neighborhood of Istanbul.

Bartholomew said that like the U.S. President Donald Trump, Poroshenko is also a businessman who has a chocolate factory.

In a video shared on Facebook on Dec. 24, Bartholomew can be seen holding bags of candies and chocolates and distributing them to children.

Marking a historic milestone on Oct. 11, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church agreed to be independent of the Russian Orthodox Church during a meeting held at the Fener Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul.

Russia and the Orthodox Church in Moscow strongly opposed the move during months-long negotiations among the worldwide Orthodox communities.

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