Ukraine’s President Names Leader of New Church in Historic Split From Russia

Ukraine chose the head of a new national Orthodox church, marking an historic split from Russia.
Ukraine’s President Names Leader of New Church in Historic Split From Russia
16 December 09:31 2018 Print This Article

President Petro Poroshenko said 39-year-old Metropolitan Epifaniy of the Kiev Patriarchate church had been chosen as head of the church by a council, comparing the move to Ukraine’s referendum for independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“This day will go into history as a sacred day … the day of the final independence from Russia,” Poroshenko told thousands of supporters, who shouted “glory, glory, glory”.

“And Ukraine will no longer drink Moscow’s poison from Moscow’s cup'”,  he said, quoting the country’s national poetTaras Shevchenko

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow’s seizure of Crimea in 2014. Ukraine imposed martial law in November, citing the threat of a full-scale invasion after Russia captured three of its vessels in the Kerch Strait.

The Ukrainian Orthodox church has been beholden to Moscow for hundreds of years, and Ukraine’s leaders see church independence as vital to tackling Russian meddling.

Kiev says Moscow-backed churches on its soil are a Kremlin tool to spread propaganda and support fighters in the eastern Donbass region in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people. The churches strongly deny this.

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