Christmas with Tomos: Epifaniy presides over Liturgy at St Sophia in Kyiv
On January 7, the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Head of the local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Epifaniy (Dumenko) celebrated the Liturgy in the Church of St. Sophia in Kyiv.
This year's Christmas service was special. On the eve of the Constantinople, the Ukrainian Church was presented with the Tomos of autocephaly.
This sacred document, a visible sign of church independence, was brought yesterday from Istanbul to Kyiv, and this morning the Primate of the OCU along with the President of Ukraine solemnly brought it into the temple.
Along with Metropolitan Epifaniy, the hierarchs and priests of the local Orthodox Church of Ukraine took part in the festive Liturgy.
The Divine Service was also attended by the President of Ukraine, deputies, government representatives, military chaplains, and volunteers.
A screen was set up outside the church so that people who did not manage to get inside could see what was happening during the Liturgy.
It should be noted that during the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Epifaniy remembered all the Primates of the Local Churches, including Patriarch Kirill. Earlier, the Ukrainian Primate had avoided commemorating the name of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who, as it is known, sharply opposed the autocephaly of the OCU and broke the Eucharistic communion with Constantinople because of Ukraine.
“Today, glorifying the Infant-God Christ, we rejoice over the birth of the One Local Church recognized by the Ecumenical Mother Church. The days of January 5 and 6, 2019, when the Tomos was signed and autocephaly was announced, will forever enter into the history of our Church and the State. Truly, it is a manifestation of particular mercy of God to our people,” Metropolitan Epifaniy said.
The head of the OCU congratulated all Ukrainians, the military, who defend our independence and those celebrating the birth of Jesus, as a part of Ukraine remains occupied.
The First Hierarch also thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch and Petro Poroshenko for the fact that the Ukrainian Church entered the community of Local Churches and once again stressed that the doors of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine are open to all the Orthodox.
After the Liturgy, the Tomos was transferred to the 'Warm' St Sofia, where everyone would be able to see it every day from 8:00 to 18:00. Access to the document will be free of charge.
As RISU has reported, it was specially made for the Ukrainian Church by an icon painter and a calligrapher hieromonk Luke from the Monastery of Xenophon on Mount Athos.
On January 5, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of autocephaly of the united Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This document on autocephaly came into force immediately after the Patriarch sealed it with his signature. The historic event took place within the walls of the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Phanar.
On January 6, Patriarch Bartholomew solemnly handed over to Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Primate of the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Tomos on Autocephaly and the Archbishop's crosier.