Patriarch Filaret, the head of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate says Ukraine would have never got a tomos, or document of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, if he had decided to submit his candidacy for the post of the leader of a newly created, local Orthodox church in Ukraine.

"If I had not given way, we wouldn't have reached the unification and would have never got the tomos about autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. And a single local Orthodox church in Ukraine rather than my position is important to me, as this will let our state gain a foothold," Filaret told Radio Liberty's Ukrainian service.

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As UNIAN reported earlier, the Unification Council of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches on December 15 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.

On January 6 in Istanbul, he, as Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, is to be given the tomos of autocephaly from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.