Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the tomos of autocephaly of the newly-created Orthodox Church of Ukraine
At the ceremony held in Istanbul on Saturday, January 5, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the tomos of autocephaly, that is, canonical independence, of the newly-created Orthodox Church of Ukraine. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian guests attended the ceremony. Before signing, the priests held a prayer in the Patriarchal Church of St. George. After that, OCU Metropolitan Epifaniy and Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch. It was after this meeting that the signing ceremony took place. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine became the 15th local Orthodox church.
Church crisis in Ukraine
Since the February 2014 coup, Kiev has sought to create an independent church in Ukraine that would sever ties with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In April 2018, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko wrote a personal letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople asking for autocephaly for the Ukrainian church.
On December 15, Kiev hosted the so-called ‘unification’ council held under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and brokered by the Ukrainian authorities. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to take part in the event, stressing that both the ‘unification council’ and Poroshenko’s newly-founded ecclesiastical establishment were illegitimate. Nevertheless, after the council, the Ukrainian president announced the establishment of this new church in the country.
The Ukrainian church has been under the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate since 1686, and its independence is a heavy blow to Moscow. The Russian church, which currently has about 150 million Orthodox Christians under its authority, could lose a fifth of its members. Last month, Poroshenko and scores of bishops chose Metropolitan Epiphanius as the head of the new Ukrainian Orthodox church in a ceremony at St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev.
Source: the Guardian
By Intell News Romania on January 5, 2019