December 5, 2018 / 8:22 AM / 9 days ago

Ukraine council to meet on Dec 15 to form independent church - president

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a parliament session to review his proposal to introduce martial law after Russia seized Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea, in Kiev, Ukraine November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian church council will meet on Dec. 15 in order to create an independent Orthodox church and elect its leader, President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday.

Under Poroshenko’s presidency, Ukraine has pushed to establish a national church and thereby sever centuries-old ties with the Russian clergy. The Kiev authorities say the step is essential to tackling Russian meddling on its soil.

“The synod will be held on December 15, 2018 in St. Sophia (Cathedral), which for centuries has been the centre of the Orthodox Ukrainian religious life,” Poroshenko said.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Toby Chopra

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