The Autocephaly (independence) of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will be made official in special ceremonies which will take place in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on January 6, on the Feast of the Epiphany.
The ceremonies will be held in Istanbul, the historic seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, where the Bishop of Kiev and new leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Epiphanios, will receive the ”Tome of Autocephaly”.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made mention of the upcoming ceremonies during his New Year’s Day speech following the liturgy for the new year, stating that his only aim was to bring “normality” back to Ukraine.
This was seen as an indirect message to the Patriarchate of Moscow, which does not recognize Constantinople’s decision, since until now, the Church of Ukraine has always been a part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Moscow has already begun to appoint new Russian Orthodox bishops throughout Europe, in an effort to minimize the reach of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which the Russian Church has excoriated for its decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church.
The ongoing tensions between the two Churches have taken on a political aspect as well, with Russian president Vladimir Putin accusing Bartholomew of deriving some kind of financial profit out of the independence of the Church of Ukraine.