Ukrainian Orthodox Church Breaks Away From Russian Influence - NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Ukrainian Orthodox Church Breaks Away From Russian Influence

Last month, Ukrainian Orthodox leaders approved the creation of a new, unified church split from the Moscow Patriarchate

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Ukrainian Orthodox Church Breaks Away From Russian Influence
    AP
    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, and Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, third right, pose for a photo during their meeting to sign "Tomos" decree of autocephaly for Ukrainian church at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has signed a decree of independence for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    An independent Ukrainian Orthodox church was created at a signing ceremony in Turkey on Saturday, formalizing a split with the Russian church it had been tied to since 1686.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, signed the "Tomos" in Istanbul in front of clerics and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, forming the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    It forces Ukrainian clerics to pick sides between the Moscow-backed Ukrainian churches and the new church as fighting persists in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed rebels.

    "The pious Ukrainian people have awaited this blessed day for seven entire centuries," Bartholomew I said in his address.

    Trapped Hong Kong Protesters Rappel Down Hoses to Escape

    [NATL] Trapped Hong Kong Protesters Rappel Down Hoses to Escape

    Harrowing footage shows protesters trapped inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University rappelling down hoses to escape a police siege. About 100 anti-government protesters remain inside the university on a third day of clashes between protesters and police. 

    (Published 4 hours ago)

    The patriarch, considered "first among equals" in Orthodox Christianity, said Ukrainians could now enjoy "the sacred gift of emancipation, independence and self-governance, becoming free from every external reliance and intervention."

    Poroshenko thanked Bartholomew I "for the courage to make this historic decision" and said that "among the 15 stars of the Orthodox churches of the world a Ukrainian star has appeared," referring to the updated number of churches that don't answer to an external authority.

    Last month, Ukrainian Orthodox leaders approved the creation of a new, unified church split from the Moscow Patriarchate and elected 39-year-old Metropolitan Epiphanius I to lead it.

    Bartholomew I's decision in October to grant the Ukrainian church "autocephaly," or independence, infuriated Moscow and the Russian church severed ties with Istanbul, the center of the Orthodox world.

    Criticism continued Saturday when a spokesman for the Russia-affiliated church in Ukraine, Vasily Anisimov, said, "We consider these actions to be anti-canonical ... This action will not bring anything to Ukraine except trouble, separation and sin," according to Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti.

    Kiev has been pushing for a church free from Moscow's influence, which intensified after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and amid the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    Melting Sea Ice Spurs Spread of Marine Diseases

    [NATL] Melting Sea Ice Spurs Spread of Marine Diseases

    Melting sea ice on its own presents plenty of challenges for Arctic marine mammals, from loss of habitat, to changing predator prey dynamics. Now there's a new challenge present in a link between sea ice loss and the spread of disease between previously isolated marine life.

    (Published 2 hours ago)

    Poroshenko, president since 2014, has pushed for the creation of the church as he campaigns for a March 31 election. Though the church is not formally part of the state, it is closely tied. Recent opinion polls suggest he is in second or third place in the race.

    Poroshenko met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the ceremony.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Yuras Karmanau in Minsk, Belarus, and Jim Heintz in Moscow, contributed to this report.