神彩争霸8苹果下载Ukraine establishes independent Orthodox church amid tension with Russia
KIEV, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A unification council of Ukrainian priests here on Saturday established a united Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is independent from the Russian Orthodox Church.
The council was held in Saint Sophia Cathedral, bringing together about 60 representatives of Ukraine's religious community.
They approved a charter of the church and elected 39-year-old Metropolitan Epiphanius as the leader of the united Orthodox Church.
President Petro Poroshenko called the establishment of the church as an "epochal event" that cemented Ukraine's independence from Russia.
In October, a synod in Istanbul, Turkey, presided over by Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, decided to grant autonomy to the Orthodox church in Ukraine.
Russian Orthodox Church has long been opposed to the establishment of an independent Orthodox church in Ukraine.
Earlier this week, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia sent letters to religious leaders and heads of international organizations, saying that the Ukrainian authorities put pressure on Orthodox priests and believers loyal to Russian Orthodox Church.
Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been deteriorating since early 2014 over Crimea and armed conflicts in eastern Ukraine.
On Nov. 25, Russian forces seized three Ukrainian naval ships as well as 24 sailors on board attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, which further worsened the relations.