Newly elected head of the new Ukrainian national Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epifaniy has said Ukraine should win back the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.
"We have Crimea occupied [by Russia], we have to have it back; we have Donbas occupied partially [by Russia], and we believe that God will send us a long-awaited fair peace through our prayers," he said in an interview to Radio Liberty.
He said the new church would be the spiritual foundation and pillar of the Ukrainian state in the difficult times.
Epifaniy also explained how the new church would continue to work with the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate who did not join the united local church.
"When a tomos is granted, this will be evidence that we are in fact an independent autocephalous church. Then we will begin to work, communicate, invite, show love and mutual respect. On this basis, I think, they will gradually understand that there is no other way out than to be part of this united Ukrainian church and jointly build our future," Epifaniy said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the unification council of representatives of Ukrainian Orthodox churches on December 15 elected Epifaniy (Serhiy Dumenko) head of the united local Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
It will be Epifaniy who will on January 6, 2019, receive from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople (Istanbul) a tomos (a decree), granting autocephaly (independence) to the newly created church.