The newly created, independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine says it has understanding that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue existing in Ukraine in future.
"We understand that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue existing in Ukraine and there will be many who want to stay with it, and we have nothing against it. Everyone must choose their religious center voluntarily," leader of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy (Epiphanius) told Deutsche Welle's Ukrainian Service in an interview.
"A bishop with his diocese or a priest with his community must decide. If they decide at a general meeting that they want to voluntarily join the new church – they turn to us accordingly and we accept them into our single church structure," Epifaniy said.
The leader of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine says that the new church's doors remain open to all Orthodox Christians.
He also says he is sure that Ukraine will see a strong, independent church in a year.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Unification Council of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Kyiv 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 receive the tomos of autocephaly from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.