Religion and politics: key things to know as Kyiv and Moscow clash in a new church disagreement
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (left) and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
This week the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko addressed the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, requesting autonomy for Ukraine’s Orthodox Church. Earlier leaders of two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches addressed the Patriarch with the same request. On April 19, the Ukrainian Parliament voted in support of the President’s respective initiative. Should the Patriarch agree, the so-called Ukrainian “pomisna” Orthodox Church (Ukraine’s own independent Orthodox Church or the national Orthodox Church) can be established, the issue has been subject to public discussion for the past quarter-century since Ukraine became independent. UCMC explains what this step would mean for Ukraine, why the issue is also a political one and, what one may expect in the future.