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Ukraine: Epiphanius is Primate of new “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. Ukrainian President Poroshenko, “without Putin, without Kirill”, but “with God and with Ukraine”

Epiphanius (Doumenko), Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky (Patriarchate of Kyiv), was elected Primate of the new “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” by the participants in the “Unification Council” which was held in Kiev on Saturday, 15 December. After his election, according to the Orthodox information website (orotodoxie.com) in French, Bishop Epiphanius addressed the faithful gathered in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral, thanking President Poroshenko for his efforts that contributed to the creation of the United Orthodox Church in Ukraine. He also thanked Bishop Filaret, “the spiritual father of all Ukrainians”, as well as all the members of the Unification Council who elected him. In his first speech as Primate, the Metropolitan invited the faithful to pray for the end of war and for a “just peace in Ukraine” and promised: “The doors of our Church are open to everyone”.
As St. Sophia’s bells were pealing, the newly elected Primate emerged from Kyiv cathedral together with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian Parliament Chairman Andriy Parubiy, and Metropolitan Emmanuel of France representing the Constantinople Patriarchate. It was President Poroshenko who announced the creation of the “Ukrainian Local Autocephalous Orthodox Church” to the faithful. In his speech, he said that the new Church will be “without Putin, without Kirill”, but “with God and with Ukraine”. The head of the new Church, 39, studied at the Kyiv Ecclesiastical Academy and at the Athens Faculty of Philosophy. He was ordained a deacon and a priest in 2008 by Patriarch Filaret Denissenko of Kyiv. He was made a bishop in 2009 and was considered Filaret’s “right hand”.

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