Bartholomew Signs 'Tomos' Granting Independence To New Orthodox Church In Ukraine

Patriarch Filaret head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

After the service, Patriarch Bartholomew received at his residence the Ukrainian president and Metropolitan Epiphany.

The Ukrainian president thanked Erdoğan for not interfering in the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate's decision to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox church in a press conference ahead of the meeting.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople granted independence to the Orthodox church in Ukraine on Saturday, formally separating it from Moscow for the first time since the 17th century.

A "unification council" was held in Kiev last month on the initiative of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew.

The row over independence for the Ukrainian church is seen as a proxy for political tensions between Moscow and Kiev.

Ukraine marked a historic split from Russian Federation in December when it chose the head of a new national Orthodox church. Orthodox churches in other countries are aligning with Moscow or Constantinople in the rift.

Unai Emery doesn’t look at contract situations — Sky Sports reporter
Youngster Emile Smith Rowe who has impressed in the Europa League and Carabao Cup remains sidelined by a hip problem. He only signed a new deal in January and I don't think he will change his mind or reconsider his options.

The independence decree will force Ukrainian clerics to pick sides between the Moscow-backed Ukrainian churches and the new church as fighting persists in eastern Ukraine between government forces and rebels backed by Russian Federation. Many Russians oppose the split, an opinion that hardened after fighting in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

The new church may boost pro-Western leader Poroshenko, who lobbied hard for its creation and faces a tight election race in March. The churches strongly deny this.

The decree, or "tomos", will now be handed over to the head of the new Ukrainian church, Metropolitan Epifaniy, on January 6, completing the two-day spiritual ceremony. "I want to thank the generations of Ukrainians who dreamed.and finally God sent us the Orthodox Church of Ukraine".

"It is a great honor for me to visit Istanbul, where a long-awaited event will take place tomorrow", Poroshenko wrote on Facebook, referring to the official handover of the decree.

Orthodox Christians, including in Russian Federation and Ukraine, celebrate Christmas in accordance with the older Julian calendar on January 7.

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