President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko announced the creation of a local autocephalous Orthodox church in the country. The head of the “new church” became the “metropolitan” of the unrecognized Kyiv Patriarchate, Epiphanius Dumenko, reports TASS .
The choice of primate was held behind closed doors at the so-called “unifying cathedral.” Upon its completion, Epiphanius Dumenko stepped onto the stage on Sophia Square, where he was presented by Poroshenko as head of the “new church”.
The authorities in Kiev are hoping to get a tomos about autocephaly by the end of the year, which is issued only to the head of the “united” church.
On December 15th, a “unifying council” was held in Ukraine, which was initiated by Poroshenko and the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. The canonical UOC claimed that they were not going to participate in such an event. Of the representatives of the church attended only Metropolitans Simeon and Alexander.
At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities put pressure on the priests of the UOC. Earlier it was reported that Kiev forced more than 15 clerics to sign credentials, which give Simeon the right to vote at the “unifying council” on their behalf.
Even before the “unifying council,” Bartholomew sent a letter to Onufry, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, in which he “immediately and in the spirit of consent” demanded that he take part in the event with his flock.
In addition, Metropolitan Mogilev-Podolsky and Shargorodsky Agapit told how the officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) deceived him in Kiev and offered to meet with the leadership of the department. The incident occurred on December 13th.
In response to the decision of Constantinople to begin granting autocephaly to the non-canonical church in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church broke off the Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox structure and recognized Bartholomew as a schismatic.