As reported by Censor.NET citing the presidential press office, Poroshenko said at a local government forum in Kyiv on Wednesday that the Unity Council declaring the creation of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church will be held on Dec. 15, 2018 in St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv.
"I want to begin my statement with the announcement of an important news that is allegedly far from the topic of local self-government, but it is important for the whole country. And it is long awaited. We are glad to announce the date of the Unity Council proclaiming the creation of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine. This Council will approve its charter. This Council will choose the Primate. Consequently, the Council will be held on Dec. 15, 2018 in St. Sophia’s Cathedral, which has been the center of Ukrainian religious life for centuries," Poroshenko said.
The head of state said that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had already signed the letters with invitations to the hierarchs of the UOC-KP, the UAOC and the UOC-MP to take part in this extremely important historical event.
The president added that the state and the authorities did everything they could and were obliged to do in order for this day to come. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew did everything he could, despite the threats and hostile actions of Russia. "Now, colossal responsibility lies with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian churches - to hold the Council in peace, harmony, in the spirit of Christian love and patriotism, to elect the Primate who will go to Constantinople - Istanbul and receive the Tomos," he said.
The president sterssed that the Tomsos is compared with the Declaration of Independence of our state: "And this is a completely fair comparison. Getting autocephaly is an issue of state-building, which goes far beyond the church life".
On April 17, 2018, President Poroshenko said Ukraine was closer than ever before to creating an autocephalous united local church.
On Sept. 2, hierarchs held meetings (Synaxis) of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) to confirm that the Church of Constantinople is authorized, without the consent of other churches, to grant autonomy, or autocephaly, to a church that has requested it. This paves the way for autocephality of Ukraine's church. Further measures, such as the adoption of documents at the Synod, are expected to be taken in October.
Subsequently, on Sept. 7, Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed two Exarchs in Kyiv as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to Ukraine's Orthodox church. "Within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed as its Exarchs in Kyiv His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton from Canada, both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate," the Ecumenical Patriarchate said in an announcement.
On Sept. 25, the UOC-MP declared that it was demanding that the Patriarchate of Constantinople withdraw its exarchs from Ukraine. In particular, the Holy Synod of the UOC-MP at a meeting held in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra September 25, expressed its attitude regarding the appointment of the Exarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate to Kyiv.
On Oct.11, 2018, Ecumenical Patriarchate has decided to proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. In addition, the legal binding of Synod’s Letter of 1686 was abolished, thus pulling the Kyiv Metropolis from under Moscow jurisdiction. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also reinstated head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Philarchate Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makariy in their canonical status.
On Oct. 12, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) called for the episcopate, clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to begin preparations for a unifying Council.
On Oct. 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to break the eucharistic communication with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On Oct. 18, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the law on the transfer of the St. Andrew's Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for perpetual free of charge usage.
On Nov. 13, Poroshenko was to meet with the episcopate of the UOC-MP at the "Ukrainian House" downtown Kyiv. At the same time, the episcopate of the UOC-MP on this day held in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra an emergency meeting of the synod, which decided to convene a council, where all bishops' attendance is obligatory. Following the meeting, the council of bishops of the UOC-MP confirmed its readiness to meet with Poroshenko, but on the church territory.
On Nov. 13, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) announced it did not recognize a decision by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to continue the process of granting autocephaly to the church in Ukraine and is going to sever Eucharistic communion with Constantinople. The Moscow Patriarchate also said they would not take part in the creation of a new, autocephalous church in Ukraine, as their Council of bishops considers that granting the tomos of autocephaly is "artificial" and "forced from outside."