Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Epifaniy (Epiphanius) has said the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is recognized by a few more local Orthodox churches despite pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).
Speaking at a press conference after a prayer service on the occasion of the first anniversary of his intronization as head of the OCU, he said that last year, after the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the OCU was also recognized by two more local Orthodox churches – the Greek Orthodox Church and the Alexandrian Patriarchate.
"We are convinced that next year we will also receive recognition from several other local Orthodox churches. But what are we seeing? We're seeing that the Russian Federation, represented by the Russian Orthodox Church, is doing everything to prevent other churches from recognizing our autocephalous status," he said, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
According to Epifaniy, the Russian church put a lot of pressure on the Greek Orthodox Church.
"Despite this pressure, next year several churches will join in, recognizing our autocephalous status," he said, but stopped short of specifying the churches.
As UNIAN reported earlier, 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.
On 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.