BREAKING: Unification Council Elects Head of Independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church
15 December, 2018

Photo credit: HROMADSKE

The Unification Council has elected Bishop Epiphanius of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) to be the head of Ukraine’s new Autocephalous.

The new church will be known as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Epiphanius will receive the title of Metropolitan.

Photo credit: Diocese of Volyn, Kyiv Patriarchate

The Council meeting took place on December 15 at St. Sophia’s cathedral in Kyiv, with representatives from all three Ukrainian Orthodox Churches in attendance, as well as Ukrainian President Poroshenko and Chairman of the parliament Andriy Parubiy.

“We were able to unite the three branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in a single local Orthodox Church,” Epiphanius stated from the stage outside St. Sophia’s Cathedral following the Unification Council. He also thanked Constantinople, President Poroshenko, Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP, Metropolitan Macarius of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, all the bishops and the Ukrainian parliament for their sense of unity.

READ MORE: Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun on Ukraine’s Upcoming Unification Synod

President Poroshenko, who presented Epiphanius as the newly elected head, stated that “this day will become, or already has become, a sacred day, the day the Autocephalous local Orthodox Church was created – the day of final independence, gaining our independence from Russia.”

Photo credit: Inna Sokolovska/UNIAN

Poroshenko also reiterated to the crowds that the state will not interfere in church matters. “We have never had and will never have a state church,” he commented.

Epiphanius will travel to Istanbul, the home of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to receive the Tomos, a document formalizing the creation of a Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, from Patriarch Bartholomew on January 6.  

READ MORE: Thousands Gather in Kyiv for Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Unification Council

The new church will be known as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Epiphanius will receive the title of Metropolitan.

Photo credit: Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate 

Metropolitan Epiphanius is Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP’s “right-hand man.” By church standards, he is relatively young at 39 years old. He was born Serhiy Dumenko in Ukraine’s Odesa region to working-class parents. He went on to study at Kyiv Theological Academy. He also studied philosophy at Athens university.

/By Sofia Fedeczko