Metropolitan Epifaniy / Photo from UNIAN

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has greeted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) on the second anniversary of receiving the tomos of autocephaly.

"Congratulations to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on the second anniversary of receiving the Tomos of Autocephaly! We support Ukrainians' ability to worship as they choose, without external influence," the U.S. diplomats wrote on Facebook.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Background

The Unification Council of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Kyiv on December 15, 2018, elected Metropolitan of Pereyaslavsky and Bila Tserkva from the then Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate Epifaniy (also known as Epiphanius I) as head of the new local Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Read alsoRussian security agencies using religion as tool to meddle in Ukraine – intelligence chiefOn January 6, 2019, Epifaniy, as Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, received from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul the tomos of autocephaly (independence) of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy was inaugurated as Primate of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine at Kyiv's Saint Sophia Cathedral on February 3.

In 2019, the OCU was recognized by the Greek Orthodox Church and the Alexandrian Patriarchate. In 2020, it was recognized by the Cypriot Orthodox Church.

On February 3, 2020, Metropolitan Epiphanius said the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was being recognized by more local Orthodox churches despite pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church.