Kiev, June 07, 2001
Ukraine's Orthodox believers rallied in the capital on Thursday to protest against a visit by Pope John Paul II scheduled for late June.
A service in the Kievo-Pechora Lavra Cathedral grouped priests of all the country's dioceses and was followed by a 15,000-strong religious procession that reached the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) to ask the deputies to prevent the pontiff's visit.
The procession organised by a nation-wide Union of Orthodox brotherhoods passed by the presidential administration, the Foreign Ministry, and a Ukrainian mission of the Roman Catholic Church.
According to Valentin Lukianik, chairman of the Union, rallies of protest will be held throughout June.
The pontiff's visit is planned on June 23-27.
Raisa Stetsyura (ITAR-TASS) / Pravoslavie.Ru