Representative of the Ukrainian president in the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Lutsenko says over 200 parishes of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have become part of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) since the unification council and the creation of the local OCU independent of Russia's influence.
"As of today, that is, literally within a six-week period, at least 204 parishes have joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," she said during the Conciliation Council of the chairs of factions and parliamentary committees on January 4.
"According to statistics, and due to the communities' willingness, thousands more parishioners and religious communities will have joined it by the end of this year," she added.
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, 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.