ORTHODOXIA.INFO | Andreas Loudaros Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called for unity following the election of Metropolitan Yepifaniy as the first primate of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Speaking from the Saint Sophia square in Kyiv, Mr Poroshenko sent a clear message to all Ukrainian faithful that there is no longer anything connecting their country with Russia, clarifying at the same time that the rights of those who wish to remain members of the Russian-backed church would be protected.
As for Metropolitan Yepifaniy, the 39-year old hierarch described his election as a historic moment in Ukraine’s history and thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as Metropolitan Filaret (his spiritual father) and Metropolitan Makariy for their support.
The new Ukrainian primate, who will receive the Tomos of autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew early next month, also called on his fellow citizens to remain united and to support the new church.
According to sources, other than Metropolitan Yepifaniy, the initial ballot included the names of Metropolitan Mikhail (Kyiv Patriarchate) and Metropolitan Simeon (Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate).
Metropolitan Mikhail withdrew his candidature before the second ballot, however, and his supporters were consequently transferred to the Yepifaniy camp, which saw its leader elected Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine.
Translation by Evangelos Nicolaidis