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Ukrainian Orthodox church breaks away from Moscow Patriarch over war

Ukraine's Orthodox Church has broken away from the Moscow Patriarch and declared its complete independence as Russia continues the war on its neighbour.

Kiev, 28 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Ukraine’s Orthodox Church has broken away from the Moscow Patriarch and declared its complete independence as Russia continues the war on its neighbour.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate declared its “complete autonomy and independence” from Moscow on Friday, saying it disagreed with the stance taken by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on the conflict.

The Ukrainian church said it condemned the war and appealed to Ukraine and Russia to continue the negotiation process and halt the bloodshed.

Kirill, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, stands firmly behind Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.

Pressure has been growing recently within the church to break away from Moscow, as the conflict continues to rage. Hundreds of priests even called for a church tribunal against the patriarch.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the largest of the three main churches in Ukraine, in terms of the number of its parishes. Despite its earlier affiliation with Moscow, Church leader Onufriy has clearly condemned the war.

The Moscow Church traditionally regards Ukraine as within its sphere of influence.

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