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    Law on Renaming Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Enters in Force in Ukraine

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    KIEV (Sputnik) - The law that requires the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to change its name was put into force on Thursday after it was published in an official outlet of the Ukrainian parliament.

    A law enters into force at the moment of its publication in the parliament's official newspaper.

    On December 20, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill requiring the UOC-MP to add the word "Russian" to its name in order to reflect its ties to the country. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the bill into law two days later.

    READ MORE: Law on Renaming Ukrainian Orthodox Church Insane — Patriarch Kirill

    With the law in force, the UOC-MP will now have four months to change its name, but the church has said it plans to challenge the legislation in the Constitutional Court.

    The Ukrainian authorities and Poroshenko have regularly interfered in church's affairs despite their pledge to not to do so.

    On December 15, a "unification council" was held in Kiev, where Epiphany Dumenko was elected head of the new "autocephalous church." According to Ukrainian media, only two bishops of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate participated in the council. The Ukrainian authorities expect to get tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople in early January.

    The Moscow Patriarchate described the situation as the "legalization of schism," stressing that it would have catastrophic consequences and affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries.

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