Speaking after his enthronement on Sunday, February 3, by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Ukraine’s newly installed Orthodox primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kiev and All Ukraine, pledged “openness to all” and stated: “We call for the unity of Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, monastics and laypeople -- the doors of our local church and hearts are open to you.”
His Eminence added: “In due time, we believe our efforts will translate into the granting of patriarchal status to our church. Until then, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is open to co-operation and dialogue with other churches and religious organizations.”
In an interview with Radio Liberty over the weekend, Metropolitan Epiphanios, 40, stated of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s pastoral decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: “There are many who don’t understand what’s going on -- they’re convinced it’s all happened in a non-canonical way, that the Ecumenical Patriarch acted wrongly without any right.” He emphasized the pastoral and canonical nature of the granting of autocephaly and expressed the hope of uniting “all Orthodox Ukrainians into a single Church.”
Metropolitan Epiphanios was elected by bishops from Ukraine’s three divided Orthodox Churches at a unity council on December 15, 2018. Then on January 6, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, formally establishing the world’s fifteenth autocephalous Orthodox Church.
His All-Holiness stated Friday: “We hope that this Church will take root and grow, and gather within it the scattered sheep of Christ in Ukraine, unite the disaffected, and always be a source of pride for the Mother Church of Constantinople, in which it should also take pride, as we gave our Ukrainian brethren baptism, the Christian faith and also Christian culture.”