Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople Bartholomew I / Photo from

Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Andriy Parubiy has officially invited Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople Bartholomew I to Ukraine.

The speaker passed the invitation to the patriarchal exarchs who came to meet Parubiy in Kyiv, the Ukrainian TV news service TSN has said.

The two exarchs came to the Ukrainian parliament as the lawmakers' appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to seek independence for the Ukrainian Orthodox church had laid the grounds for its autocephaly.

Now this process is going into the home stretch.

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The exarchs said they had already had many meetings with the clergy and politicians.

It is too early to talk about specific dates now, however, it is likely that Ukraine will have a local church as soon as this year, TSN said.

"The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has already made its decisions. It is for this reason that we have come to continue work on the decision that has already been made. There is a certain period of time ahead of us to take final steps," Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States has said.