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Russia Loses the War of the Churches (56) – Addendum – Speeches, Statements, Multimedia


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

About Ukraine President Poroshenko’s speech, seldom have I read one so anti-Russian, anti-Putin, and anti-Russian Orthodox Church. He made the speech very personal yet kept it Presidential. This is the most quoteworthy part of his speech. 

“And Ukraine will no longer drink, in the words of Taras Shevchenko, ‘Moscow’s poison from Moscow’s cup,'” Poroshenko said.

President Poroshenko reinforced the complete separation between Ukraine and Russia. …and it’s Russia’s fault. 

</end editorial>



Statement by the UOC-KP: “The official name according to the Charter is the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is also possible to use the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (not to be confused with the Moscow Patriarchate)”.

Excellent speech by Pres Poroshenko.

We can expect an increasing volume of defamatory propaganda from Muscovy in coming days and weeks. Navalniy’s tweet has been picked up widely across Western media – it is a public acknowledgement by a Russian nationalist that Russia failed completely in Ukraine, and that Ukraine is now lost to Russia.


Speech by the President on the results of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Unity Council — Official website of the President of Ukraine

Glory to Ukraine!

I congratulate everyone on the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which has just happened in St. Sophia!

Your Eminence!

Your Eminence – distinguished representatives of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew!

Your Holiness!

Your Beatitude!

Fellow Ukrainians!

Dear and distinguished community convened on St. Sophia’s Square, witnessing the most important lines of the chronicle of Ukraine!

Such a great event is happening today.

People say it is very cold in the streets. But each of you over several hours of tense expectation was warmed by your heart and thrill of anticipation of a great epochal event.

Dear friends, you are not witnesses. You are the creators of history, which is now happening. You are the direct participants of this great sacrament, which has just happened inside the St. Sophia’s Cathedral. The Cathedral that Yaroslav the Wise, the son of the Equal-to-apostles Prince Volodymyr the Baptist, built a thousand years ago in honor of the victory over the eastern horde. That is why your presence here, your mass support was extremely important for all the members of the Council. Frankly, I felt it, being among delegates at the invitation of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.

So, it’s done!

Today is December 15. I ask everyone who is watching us now: in Ukraine, all over the world – remember very well. This day will enter or has already entered the history of Ukraine as a sacred day, the day of the creation of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The day of the final gaining of Ukrainian independence from Russia. And Ukraine will no longer drink, as Taras Shevchenko said, “Moscow’s poison from the Moscow’s bowl”.

This is the day of the creation of the Church recognized by the world Orthodoxy as an independent structure – just as in the vast majority of countries belonging to the Orthodox Christian tradition.

All representatives, the autocephalous council of the UOC-Kyivan Patriarchate, the cathedral and all the hierarchs of the UAOC, a group of bishops of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate have just founded the united Church.

This miracle came true due to the steadfast position of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, our Constantinople Mother Church. It took advantage of the unconditional canonical right to heal the wounds inflicted on the Ukrainian Orthodoxy by several centuries of Moscow’ domination.

Our talks were long-lasting. But over this year His All-Holiness and the Synod decided step by step to provide autocephaly. This is the first. Second, they approved the draft of the Tomos, certificate of independence. Third, they lifted all the unjust Moscow penalties from Ukrainian bishops, which got out of control of the Russian Orthodox Church at the dawn of independence and began to build structures of an independent church. And fourth, they confirmed the illegality of the annexation of the Kyivan Metropolitanate by Moscow, which was carried out in the XVII century. They, like us, do not recognize any claims of the ROC to Ukraine.

Therefore, as a result of the decisions of the Mother Church, the firm political will of secular authorities, the President, the Parliament, which supported the President’s appeal, and most importantly of the Ukrainian people, due to the responsible position of the hierarchs of the three Orthodox jurisdictions today, a new united and independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church was born.

What is this church? This is a church without Putin. What is this church? This is a church without Kirill. What is this church? This is a church without prayer for the Russian authorities and Russian army. Because the Russian authorities and Russian army kill Ukrainians. But this is a church with God. This church is with Ukraine.

Yesterday, in social networks, I read a very interesting opinion: “The church does not only sing and pray. The Church raises a true Ukrainian citizen”. And then I recalled the phrase traditionally attributed to Otto von Bismarck: “Generals do not win the wars. The wars are won by school teachers and priests”. Of course, it should not be understood literally. It is about the unique role of the clergy and teachers in the formation of the nation and in the process of state building.

We are now creating an independent Ukraine. And this event is as important as the referendum on our independence adopted more than 27 years ago.

And what kind of citizen will be raised by the church center, if it is located in a foreign state, moreover, in the aggressor country? Exactly not a citizen of Ukraine. The Kremlin does not hide the fact that it considers the Russian Orthodox Church as one of the main instruments of influence on Ukraine. The situation in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy is discussed at the Russian Security Council under the chairmanship of its president. Instead, the Ukrainian state is required not to interfere in its own Ukrainian affairs!

And when Moscow speaks about Ukraine as allegedly its canonical territory, isn’t it an encroachment on our territorial integrity? And aren’t we obliged to protect Ukrainian soil and Ukrainian spirit in such conditions?

And we know well: in the areas where the Russian censer is being waved today, Russian missiles will strike tomorrow. At first, Patriarch Kirill toured Ukraine with the propaganda of the “Russian peace” and a single font, and then their tanks came! Obviously, the issue of autocephaly goes far beyond the church’s fence. This is an issue of our national security. This is an issue of our statehood. This is an issue of the world politics. It is not a surprise that all the state leaders with whom I met over the past 6 months asked me: “What about your church?”. We enjoy a huge and important support in this issue all over the world.

And when the Russian president said that the collapse of the USSR became for Russia the main geopolitical disaster of the XX century. “For Putin,” as Myroslav Marynovych wrote very well, “The provision of autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodoxy is the second geopolitical disaster”. But let me correct it, this time – the scale is not of the century, but of the millennium. Let them know that.

Fellow Ukrainians!

We have once again proved that nothing is impossible for us. A few years ago, many people said that it is impossible even if Poroshenko is involved, even if we do everything. Possible. There is nothing impossible for us. The main thing is to believe in the big purpose and not to retreat from it. Following this principle we have got the Association Agreement. Following this principle we have got the visa-free regime. Following this principle we are moving further towards the EU. And it is extremely important for us that all the victories will be with Ukraine. I want to emphasize separately that today we have a great day. We will not retreat from the path we are following starting from 2014.

Today is a common holiday of the Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims. In short, for all who value the freedom of Ukraine. Who value our independence. No patriot doubts the importance of having an independent Orthodox church in an independent Ukrainian state. Such a church is a spiritual guarantor of our sovereignty. In December 1991, at the referendum, we approved the Declaration of Independence. In December 2018, an independent Orthodox Ukrainian Church was founded, to which the Ecumenical Patriarch will hand over the Tomos.

Autocephaly is part of our state pro-European and pro-Ukrainian strategy, which we have been consistently implementing for almost five years. All this is the basis of our own way of development, development of the state of Ukraine and development of our Ukrainian nation.

“Russian comrade, don’t mess with Ukraine!” – I quoted Mayakovsky in August 2016 at the parade on the 25th anniversary of Independence. And our Armed Forces are getting stronger every day. And it’s not a joke!

“Farewell, unwashed Russia” – I said on the European Square when we gained the visa-free regime, I quoted Lermontov. Farewell indeed!

“Farewell to you, our tender Misha, go back home to your wood of fairy tales” – these words were addressed to Moscow in autumn this year. Farewell indeed!

“Away from Moscow! Europe now!”. Now these winged phrases of the Ukrainian writer of the beginning of the last century Mykola Khvylovy became part of our political dictionary. And they precisely convey the essence of our state strategy, our confident course towards the European Union and NATO.

Fellow community!

Allow me from all of our community, from the entire Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to express gratitude to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his incredible care for Ukraine.

I want to thank all Ukrainians who believed in the autocephaly from the outset, who supported the President, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament, supported our hierarchs and fought for the autocephaly even when the very idea seemed illusory.

First of all, I also want to thank our hierarchs and leaders of our Orthodox churches. His Holiness Filaret. Your Holiness, do you hear this reaction of people on the square? … Your Holiness, the extent, which can measure the contribution of Patriarch Filaret to the struggle for our own Autocephalous Church has not been invented yet. You were, are and remain the spiritual leader of the Ukrainian church, the spiritual leader of the Ukrainian people.

I want to thank Primate of the UAOC Metropolitan Macarius and the whole episcopate for a firm position and an extraordinary role in this historical process.

I want to thank the hierarchs of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate, who, despite the pressure, threats and curses of Moscow and its fifth column, made a courageous decision and came to the Council today. Everything is very simple – they chose Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia. And we commend this choice.

We did not have, do not have and will not have a state church. The state will not interfere in church affairs. And nobody will “invite” anyone by force to the Orthodox Church consecrated by the Tomos. Once again, I emphasize that this is an issue of free choice for each believer. I guarantee that the authorities will respect the choice of those who, under certain circumstances, decide to remain in the church structure, which will maintain unity with the ROC. But I also guarantee that the state will protect the rights of the priests and believers of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate, who voluntarily decide to leave Moscow in order to create, together with other Orthodox, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Such a church has been founded today. It needs some time for its development, peaceful expansion and strengthening. Let me now introduce you the newly elected Primate, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy. It will be his honorable mission to go to Constantinople with the Ukrainian President in early January and get the long-awaited Tomos. Bishop Epifaniy, the representative of the younger generation of bishops, was nominated by the UOC-Kyivan Patriarchate and supported by the representatives of other churches. But now there is no such division. That division does not matter anymore, because a united church is being created.

The power of our people is in unity. God, give us the unity! There is such a prayer and it is very relevant to today’s events.

Unity is what will give us victory.

Fellow Ukrainians!

I sincerely congratulate you on the autocephaly and the achievement of our spiritual independence.

We have stopped the aggressor. We have saved the state. We have built a capable army. We affirm the Ukrainian language as a component of the strength and success of our people.

Over this year, we have become even more convinced that the Autocephalous Church is the key to independence. The state language is the key to unity. A strong army is the key to peace.

We will certainly win!

Glory to God and Glory to Ukraine!

And now, with pleasure, I give the floor to the Primate of the united Church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy. Please, Bishop!


Петро Порошенко on Twitter: “The united Church was founded. The miracle became possible due to the steadfast position of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Constantinople Mother Church. She took advantage of the unconditional canonical right to heal the wounds inflicted on Ukrainian Orthodoxy by several centuries of Moscow domination..… https://t.co/XzfXKjM3AH”

 

Ukraine Forms New Unified Orthodox Church

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressing several thousand people outside the ancient St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv announced on December 15 in Kyiv that a historic church council has agreed on the creation of an independent Orthodox church for Ukraine. Metropolitan Epifaniy — a 39-year-old bishop from the Kyiv Patriarchate — was elected by the council to head the new church. The meeting in the Ukrainian capital was a crucial step in years of efforts to create a church in Ukraine that is independent of Moscow.

Ukraine Forms New Unified Orthodox Church – YouTube

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Published on Dec 15, 2018 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressing several thousand people outside the ancient St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv announced on December 15 in Kyiv that a historic church council has agreed on the creation of an independent Orthodox church for Ukraine. Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-forms

PHOTOESSAY: Participation in the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Unity Council — Official website of the President of Ukraine

Photos

Head of State: Metropolitan Epifaniy has the honor of receiving the long-awaited Tomos from the Ecumenical Patriarch in early January — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko presented the newly elected Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy and said that in early January 2019 in Istanbul, the newly elected Primate would receive the Tomos from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

President: December 15 in the history of Ukraine is the day of the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko congratulated Ukrainians on the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church during a speech on St. Sophia’s Square, following the results of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Unity Council. The President noted: “So, it’s done! Today is December 15. I ask everyone who is watching us now: in Ukraine, all over the world – remember very well. This day will enter or has already entered the history of Ukraine as a sacred day, the day of the creation of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The day of the final gaining of Ukrainian independence from Russia. And Ukraine will no longer drink, as Taras Shevchenko said, “Moscow’s poison from the Moscow’s bowl”. “Dear friends, you are not witnesses. You are the creators of history, which is now happening. You are the direct participants of this great sacrament, which has just happened inside the St. Sophia’s Cathedral. The Cathedral that Yaroslav the Wise, the son of the Equal-to-apostles Prince Volodymyr the Baptist, built a thousand years ago in honor of the victory over the eastern horde. That is why your presence here, your mass support was extremely important for all the members of the Council,” the Head of State noted. “This is the day of the creation of the Church recognized by the world Orthodoxy as an independent structure – just as in the vast majority of countries belonging to the Orthodox Christian tradition,” the President stressed. “This miracle came true due to the steadfast position of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, our Constantinople Mother Church. It took advantage of the unconditional canonical right to heal the wounds inflicted on the Ukrainian Orthodoxy by several centuries of Moscow’ domination,” the Head of State emphasized. According to him, the talks were long-lasting. But over this year His All-Holiness and the Synod decided step by step to provide autocephaly. “Second, they approved the draft of the Tomos, certificate of independence. Third, they lifted all the unjust Moscow penalties from Ukrainian bishops, which got out of control of the Russian Orthodox Church at the dawn of independence and began to build structures of an independent church. And fourth, they confirmed the illegality of the annexation of the Kyivan Metropolitanate by Moscow, which was carried out in the XVII century. They, like us, do not recognize any claims of the ROC to Ukraine,” the President noted.

Head of State: The United Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a church without Putin and prayers for the Russian army — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko stresses that the united independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a church without Russian president Putin, primate of the Russian Orthodox Church patriarch Kirill and prayers for Russian authorities and Russian army. According to the Head of State, as a result of the decisions of the Mother Church, the firm political will of secular authorities and the Ukrainian people, the responsible position of the hierarchs of the three Orthodox jurisdictions, a new united and independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church was born on December 15. “What is this church? This is a church without Putin. What is this church? This is a church without Kirill. What is this church? This is a church without prayer for the Russian authorities and Russian army. Because the Russian authorities and Russian army kill Ukrainians. But this is a church with God. This church is with Ukraine,” the President emphasized during the speech on St. Sophia’s Square following the results of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Unity Council. The President noted: “Yesterday, in social networks, I read a very interesting opinion: “The church does not only sing and pray. The Church raises a true Ukrainian citizen”. He underlined the unique role of the clergy and teachers in the formation of the nation and in the process of state building. “We are now creating an independent Ukraine. And this event is as important as the referendum on our independence adopted more than 27 years ago,” Petro Poroshenko stressed. He added: “And what kind of citizen will be raised by the church center, if it is located in a foreign state, moreover, in the aggressor country? Exactly not a citizen of Ukraine. The Kremlin does not hide the fact that it considers the Russian Orthodox Church as one of the main instruments of influence on Ukraine”. “The situation in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy is discussed at the Russian Security Council under the chairmanship of its president. Instead, the Ukrainian state is required not to interfere in its own Ukrainian affairs! And when Moscow speaks about Ukraine as allegedly its canonical territory, isn’t it an encroachment on our territorial integrity? And aren’t we obliged to protect Ukrainian soil and Ukrainian spirit in such conditions?” the Head of State emphasized. The President added: “And we know well: in the areas where the Russian censer is being waved today, Russian missiles will strike tomorrow. At first, Patriarch Kirill toured Ukraine with the propaganda of the “Russian peace” and a single font, and then their tanks came!”. “Obviously, the issue of autocephaly goes far beyond the church’s fence. This is an issue of our national security. This is an issue of our statehood. This is an issue of the world politics. It is not a surprise that all the state leaders with whom I met over the past 6 months asked me: “What about your church?”. We enjoy a huge and important support in this issue all over the world,” the President said. “And when the Russian president said that the collapse of the USSR became for Russia the main geopolitical disaster of the XX century. “For Putin,” as Myroslav Marynovych wrote very well, “The provision of autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodoxy is the second geopolitical disaster”. But let me correct it, this time – the scale is not of the century, but of the millennium. Let them know that,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. “We have once again proved that nothing is impossible for us. A few years ago, many people said that it is impossible even if Poroshenko is involved, even if we do everything. Possible. There is nothing impossible for us. The main thing is to believe in the big purpose and not to retreat from it. Following this principle we have got the Association Agreement. Following this principle we have got the visa-free regime. Following this principle we are moving further towards the EU,” the President noted. “Autocephaly is part of our state pro-European and pro-Ukrainian strategy, which we have been consistently implementing for almost five years. All this is the basis of our own way of development, development of the state of Ukraine and development of our Ukrainian nation,” the Head of State emphasized.

Ukraine was not, is not and will not be a canonical territory of the Russian Church – President — Official website of the President of Ukraine

“The Constantinople Mother Church implements its mission according to the canons – introduces the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine as equal among equal to the family of Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. The Ecumenical Patriarch finally declared the Moscow annexation of the Kyivan Metropolitanate, committed in the late XVII century, illegal,” President Petro Poroshenko emphasized during the All-Ukrainian Unity Council. “His All-Holiness declares that the Russian Orthodox Church has no canonical rights to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. And that our Orthodox Church is not subject to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church. I emphasize that Ukraine was not, is not and will not be a canonical territory of the Russian Church,” Petro Poroshenko stressed. “In April, immediately after returning from Constantinople, after creating the roadmap agreed upon with His All-Holiness, I addressed the Ukrainian Parliament to support my appeal to His All-Holiness about giving us autocephaly,” the President said. The Head of State thanked Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, who was also present at the Council, “for a more than convincing parliamentary support for the President’s appeal”. “This is extremely important on our way,” the President added. “In November this year, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate approved the text of the Tomos granting independence to the Ukrainian church and made a decision to convene the Unity Orthodox Council. Our Council, historic Council,” the President noted.

The state will not interfere in the affairs of the church – President — Official website of the President of Ukraine

During the speech on the results of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Unity Council President Petro Poroshenko stressed that the state would not interfere in the affairs of the church and no one would “invite” anyone by force to the newly created church. The Head of State especially emphasized that the state would protect the rights of priests and believers of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate who voluntarily decided to leave the ROC. “We did not have, do not have and will not have a state church. The state will not interfere in church affairs. And nobody will “invite” anyone by force to the Orthodox Church consecrated by the Tomos. Once again, I emphasize that this is an issue of free choice for each believer,” the Head of State emphasized. “I guarantee that the authorities will respect the choice of those who, under certain circumstances, decide to remain in the church structure, which will maintain unity with the ROC. But I also guarantee that the state will protect the rights of the priests and believers of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate, who voluntarily decide to leave Moscow in order to create, together with other Orthodox, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” the President added. On behalf of the entire Ukrainian nation, the Head of State expressed gratitude to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his incredible care for Ukraine. The President also thanked Ukrainians for their support, Primate of the UOC-KP Patriarch Filaret, Primate of the UAOC Metropolitan Macarius for their contribution to the struggle for the Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Separately, the Head of State noted the hierarchs of the UOC-MP, “who, despite the pressure, threats and curses of Moscow and its fifth column, made a courageous decision and came to the Council today”. “Everything is very simple – they chose Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia. And we commend this choice,” the Head of State added.

Poroshenko: “Sacred day, day of final independence from Russia” | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said this day will go into history as a sacred day, the day of the final independence from Russia. Poroshenko says it is a church without a prayer for Russian power and the Russian army that kills Ukrainians.

Ukraine’s President names leader of new church in split from Russia | Reuters

Ukraine chose the head of a new national Orthodox church on Saturday, marking an historic split from Russia which its leaders see as vital to the country’s security and independence.

Kyiv Patriarchate announces official name of new Ukrainian Orthodox Church | UNIAN

Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) has said a local Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. “The official name according to the Charter is the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is also possible to use the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (not to be confused with the Moscow Patriarchate),” he wrote on Facebook. Zorya also announced the official title of primate of the new Ukrainian church. “The title of the Primate: His Beatitude Epifaniy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine,” he said. According to Zorya, the first divine service will be held at Kyiv’s St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral at 10:00 on December 16. As UNIAN reported earlier, Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Pereiaslav and Bila Tserkva Epifaniy (Serhiy Dumenko) was elected head of the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Ukraine creates new Orthodox church independent from Russia | News | Al Jazeera

Orthodox bishops in Kiev choose leader of a new national church, marking an historic split from Russia.

Ukraine Orthodox leaders approve break with Russian church | Fox News

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head the new church, officials said.

Ukraine splits from Russian Orthodox Church after three centuries | Euronews

The Russian Orthodox Church has portrayed it as the biggest split in Christianity for 1,000 years.

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders seal divorce from Russian church | News | DW | 15.12.2018

The Ukrainian Orthodox council has elected a leader of the country’s newly-established independent Orthodox church. The decision to cut ties with Moscow has caused a split within the Ukrainian church hierarchy.

Ukraine Creates ‘a Church Without Putin’ – WSJ

Ukraine declared the founding of a national Orthodox church independent of Russia, stripping the Kremlin of an instrument it has used for centuries in efforts to dominate its neighbor.

Ukraine Orthodox leaders approve break with Russian church

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head that new church — a move that could exponentially raise tensions with neighboring Russia.

Ukraine’s Orthodox bishops establish new church

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders say they have approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head the new church.

Ukraine Orthodox priests establish independent Church – BBC News

The move has angered the Russian Orthodox Church, which fears its property in Ukraine could be seized.

The Latest: Ukraine Orthodox OKs Break with Russian Church | Newsmax.com

The Latest: Ukraine Orthodox OKs Break with Russian Church

Ukraine Orthodox leaders to approve break with Russia church

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head that new church — a move that could exponentially raise tensions with neighboring Russia.

Unification Council elects head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church | KyivPost

The Unification Council in Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral elected the head of the unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Dec. 15, the latest step on the path to Ukraine gaining its own national church. Epiphanius, Metropolitan of Pereyaslav and Bila Tserkva, born Serhii Dumenko, will head the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the council announced. Ukraine’s Minister of Culture Yevhen Nyshchuk announced the name of the new church leader on the evening of Dec. 15 from the stage on Sofiivska Square, where people had gathered to celebrate the event.

Metropolitan Epifaniy elected primate of Ukrainian Orthodox Church – 15.12.2018 17:51 — Ukrinform News

Metropolitan of Pereiaslav and Bila Tserkva Epifaniy (Serhiy Dumenko) has been elected primate of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv on Twitter: “(1/2) We congratulate Ukraine on today’s historic Council to establish a local, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and we warmly congratulate Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the new church.”

U.S. congratulates Ukraine on establishing local Ukrainian Orthodox Church | UNIAN

The Embassy of the United States of America in Kyiv has congratulated Ukraine on establishing a local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The embassy warmly congratulates Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the new church.

Carl Bildt on Twitter: “Important step is taken in Kiev today as an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church is formally established. https://t.co/hfbNTGqX5t”

Poroshenko Announces Creation of ‘Local Ukrainian Autocephalous Church’ – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Metropolitan of non-canonical Pereyaslav and Bila Tserkva Epiphany Dumenko has been elected the head of a new church structure in Ukraine and introduced in this capacity by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The Moscow Patriarchate has called the situation around the autocephaly the “legalisation of schism”.

Kiev proclaims its own Orthodox church, hails ‘unification’ after holding ‘schismatic’ council — RT World News

Ukraine has created an Orthodox church of its own, proclaiming “independence from Moscow.” While the majority of its hierarchs represented schismatic “churches,” Kiev authorities have hailed a supposed “unity” they have achieved.

Constantinople Patriarch to Give Tomos on Ukraine’s ‘New Church’ Autocephaly – Sputnik International

ATHENS (Sputnik) – Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople invited the elected head of Ukraine’s “new church” to visit Istanbul to receive tomos of autocephaly on the feast day of the Epiphany Day on January 6, the patriarchate’s press service told Sputnik on Saturday.

Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchs refuse to take part in Poroshenko’s ‘unification council’ — RT World News

Hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church have refused en masse to take part in the so-called ‘unification council’ championed by the country’s president, sending “invitations” to the event back without reply.

The hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who participated today in the Unification Assembly of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kyiv, no longer have any relation to this church – 112.international

The hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who participated today in the Unification Assembly of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kyiv, no longer have any relation to the Moscow Patriarchate church. This was stated in the commentary to BBC News Ukraine by the chairman of the Synodal Information and Education Department of the UOC-MP, Archbishop Clement (Vecherya). According to him, they “create a new church and go there.” On the question of whether any sanctions would be taken on these hierarchs, Clement replied that “they no longer have any relation to the UOC”. “If they were in the UOC, then some actions could be applied against them … We only state that they have moved to the schism, and we will inform the local churches that they no longer appear in the diptych of canonical bishops of Ukraine,” he said. At the same time, Clement added that the positions that these hierarchs occupied in the UOC-MP will become vacant. “In this case, the people themselves wanted to separate themselves from their church. We can only say this with sadness,” he concluded. Earlier it was reported that at least two hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate arrived at the Unification Assembly in Kyiv. They are Metropolitan Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnevsky UOC (MP) Alexander (Drabinko), as well as Metropolitan of Vinnytsia Simeon. We note that until today it was not known how many hierarchs of the UOC-MP would arrive at the cathedral, since their church officially refused to participate in the event. It was expected that there would be about a dozen representatives of the UOC-MP. That is, taking into account the priests and laity in the format of the local council, it was assumed that the UOC-MP will have up to 30 votes.

World View: Russian Orthodox Church Asks World Leaders to Protect It from Ukrainian Persecution | Breitbart

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has sent a letter to the pope and a number of other world leaders urging them to protect bishops in Ukraine.

SBU documents intentions to stage provocations on eve of and during Unification Assembly of Orthodox Church in Ukraine

The SBU State Security Service of Ukraine has said pro-Russian forces have been arranging provocations to be staged on the eve of and during the Unification Assembly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine that is scheduled for December 15 in Kyiv.