REUTERS

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has underscored U.S. support for religious freedom and Ukrainian sovereignty.

Read alsoU.S. congratulates Ukraine's Metropolitan Epifaniy on election as head of local Orthodox Church

"Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke on the phone with newly elected head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Metropolitan Epifaniy today to underscore U.S. support for religious freedom and Ukrainian sovereignty," the U.S. Department of State said after Secretary Pompeo's call with Metropolitan Epifaniy.

"The Secretary encouraged respect for all Ukrainians' ability to worship as they choose," it 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.