Ukraine’s president has promised Orthodox parishioners that they will be free to choose their affiliation after the creation of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

A view of the 1000-year old Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The Ukrainian intelligence agency is searching the home of the father superior of Kiev's biggest and oldest monastery which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A view of the 1000-year old Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The Ukrainian intelligence agency is searching the home of the father superior of Kiev’s biggest and oldest monastery which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Amid deteriorating ties with Moscow, Kiev has been pushing for the creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church, free of control from the Moscow Patriarchate. That would be a momentous step, splitting the world’s largest Eastern Orthodox denomination and severely eroding the power and prestige of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery under the Moscow Patriarchate speaks during a briefing in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Ukraine’s intelligence agency announced it was investigating a senior cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and its agents on Friday searched the home of Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev. The agency said he was suspected of
Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery under the Moscow Patriarchate speaks during a briefing in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Ukraine’s intelligence agency announced it was investigating a senior cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and its agents on Friday searched the home of Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev. The agency said he was suspected of “inciting hatred,” accusations that he vehemently denied. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery under the Moscow Patriarchate speaks during a briefing in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Ukraine’s intelligence agency announced it was investigating a senior cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and its agents on Friday searched the home of Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev. The agency said he was suspected of
Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery under the Moscow Patriarchate speaks during a briefing in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Ukraine’s intelligence agency announced it was investigating a senior cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and its agents on Friday searched the home of Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev. The agency said he was suspected of “inciting hatred,” accusations that he vehemently denied. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saturday night “the state guarantees the constitutional right to freedom of religion, including for those who want to remain united with the Russian Orthodox Church.”

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 file photo, an aerial photo of the thousand-year-old Monastery of Caves, also known as Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the holiest site of Eastern Orthodox Christians is taken through morning fog during sunrise in Kiev, Ukraine. The Ukrainian intelligence agency is searching the home of the father superior of Kiev's biggest and oldest monastery which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)
FILE – In this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 file photo, an aerial photo of the thousand-year-old Monastery of Caves, also known as Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the holiest site of Eastern Orthodox Christians is taken through morning fog during sunrise in Kiev, Ukraine. The Ukrainian intelligence agency is searching the home of the father superior of Kiev’s biggest and oldest monastery which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

The Russian Orthodox Church said Sunday, however, that more than 20 priests in Ukraine have been summoned for questioning by the country’s SBU security service.

Source: The Associated Press

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