Orthodox Church to move forward with Ukrainian independence

Schism of Orthodoxy in Ukraine deepens as Constantinople greenlights independent church

Festivities at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra

"Establishment of a single local Orthodox church in Ukraine does not mean that there can be no other churches on our Ukrainian territory, meaning the Russian Church", he said at a briefing in Kyiv on October 11.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has granted self-rule, also known as autocephaly, to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine's president on Thursday hailed the announcement by Orthodoxy's Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that it will move forward with granting Ukrainian clerics independence from the Russian Orthodox Church, while the Russian church denounced the decision.

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As UNIAN reported earlier, the exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who were in Kyiv in September as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, arrived in Istanbul, where on October 10 they were addressing the Synod.

Ukraine's Orthodox church split from Moscow in the 1990s, with the charismatic Filaret a foremost proponent of a new independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The move could benefit Poroshenko in next year's elections.

The leader of the larger of the two schismatic churches, Patriarch Filaret, said he would call a council with the leadership of the other schismatic church to choose a leader of the autocephalous church.

The decision was reached during a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and published on the Patriarchate's website.

The Moscow Patriarchate has already downgraded its ties with Bartholomew I over the affair, which it considers an unjust encroachment on its spiritual territory.

"Of course, people will take to streets and protect their sacred sites", Hilarion, a bishop in charge of diplomacy at the patriarchate, was quoted by Russian agencies as saying at a religious congress in Kazakhstan.

"Moscow wants that there would be resistance; we, Ukrainians, don't want resistance", he told a briefing.

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