Vatican officially announced the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine
39-year old Metropolitan Epiphanius Dumenko was chosen to lead the new Ukrainian Autocephalous Church at a special Council of Unification held in the historic Cathedral of St Sophia in Kiev, on Saturday, Vatican News reports.
He assumes the title of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine. He is expected to travel to Istanbul next month to receive the decree, called the “tomos”, from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which will officially sanction the autonomy, or “autocephaly”, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Autocephaly (from the Greek: “property of being self-headed”) acknowledges independence from all other local churches, including the Patriarchate of Moscow, which does not recognize the canonical nature of Saturday’s election.
Traditionally, there have been three branches of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (under the Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (under the Kiev Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Following Saturday’s Council of Unification, priests of the latter two branches join to become members of the new Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Ukraine.