Poroshenko: Ukrainian Orthodox Believers Must Choose Either Ukraine, or Russia

© AP Photo / Evgeniy MaloletkaUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, and his wife Maryna Poroshenko, right, cross themselves during Orthodox Easter celebrating in the Volodymyrskiy Monastery in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, April 8, 2018
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, and his wife Maryna Poroshenko, right, cross themselves during Orthodox Easter celebrating in the Volodymyrskiy Monastery in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, April 8, 2018 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Tuesday that the Orthodox believers in Ukraine are choosing not between the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), but between Ukraine and Russia.

"We have no doubt that every Ukrainian will come. Because it’s a very simple choice, because it’s not a choice between patriarchy, but the choice between Ukraine and Russia. No one will put pressure on anyone, if somebody wants to stay in a church which preserves unity with the Russian Ortodox Church, it is their choice, but this choice must be conscious," Poroshenko said, as quoted by the UNIAN news agency.

READ MORE: Finnish Orthodox Church Denies Claims on Support for Ukrainian Church's Autonomy

On Saturday, a "unification council" was held in Kiev, at which the "metropolitan" of the non-canonical church structure, Epiphany Dumenko, was elected head of the "new church."

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According to Ukrainian media, only two bishops of the canonical UOC-MP participated in the council. The UOC-MP refused to participate in this event. The authorities of Ukraine expect to get tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople in early January.

The Moscow Patriarchate called the situation around the autocephaly the "legalization of schism," saying that it will have catastrophic consequences and affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries, and has already broken the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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