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Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) says Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will hand a tomos of autocephaly over to the head of a new local Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 6, 2019.

"A tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarch must be handed over to the primate on January 6," he said, as reported by the BBC's Ukrainian service on December 13.

The primate is to be elected during a unification council in Kyiv on December 15.

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According to the Archbishop, a divine liturgy, a joint service of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the primate [of the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine], is to be held in Istanbul on January 6. Following that, the latter will be given the tomos.

Read alsoKyiv Patriarchate has proposals as for procedure of Orthodox churches' unification council

As UNIAN reported earlier, a decision was announced after a meeting of the Holy Synod on October 11 that the Ecumenical Patriarchate would proceed to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

In addition, the legal binding of the Synod's letter of 1686 was abolished, thus taking the Kyiv Metropolis from under Moscow's canonical jurisdiction. Also, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) Makariy were reinstated in their canonical status.

On November 3, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I signed an agreement on cooperation and interaction between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

On November 29, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate drafted the Ukrainian Church's constitutional charter in anticipation of the issuance of the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos.

The unification council will be held at Kyiv's St. Sophia Cathedral on December 15 to announce the creation of the new local Orthodox Church, approve its charter, and elect its leader.

The UOC-KP on December 13 held its bishops' council to prepare for the unification council.