The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) voted on Friday to declare independence and autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate, citing disagreements with Patriarch Kirill’s position on the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The UOC also proposed to renew talks with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), a breakaway entity whose establishment by the Kiev authorities caused a schism in 2018.
At a council in Kiev, the majority of UOC bishops voted to amend its Charter “testifying to the complete independence and autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” according to a statement published on Friday.
Previously part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the UOC continued to consider the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia as its spiritual head following Ukraine’s declaration of independence. In 2018, however, then president Petro Poroshenko backed the creation of the rival OCU. Even though only two bishops out of the UOC’s 90 had joined the OCU, it was recognized by the pro-Western Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Istanbul.