The Ukraine Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Valerii Aleksandruk, has described the January 6 independence of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church from Russia as historic.

Aleksandruk told newsmen in Abuja that the independence ceremony which took place in Istanbul marked historic split from the Russian Church.

He said that Russia had been in control of Ukraine Orthodox Church even after independence.

According to him, the independence of the church will strengthen the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially those who were outside the communion with the Ecumenical Orthodoxy.

“On January 6, 2019 ceremonies took place in Istanbul to recognise the independence of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church from Russia.

“The recently formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been granted independence, marking a historic split from the Russian Church.

“Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – the head of the global Orthodox Church – has signed a document in Istanbul, Turkey, to that effect.

“It formalises an October announcement,” the Envoy said.

He said that the Patriarch had signed what was known as a “Tomos”, a decree officially recognising an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the presence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who travelled to Istanbul for the occasion.

He said that the Tomos was presented to His Beatitude Epiphany, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, for the establishment of the new Autocephalous Church.

He said that this concluded the process of creating a single native autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

“The Tomos for Ukraine is actually another act of proclaiming Ukraine’s independence.

“It will complete the assertion of the independence of the Ukrainian State and strengthen religious freedom and inter-confessional peace.

“It will strengthen the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially those who were outside the communion with the Ecumenical Orthodoxy,” he said.

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