Ukraine: new Orthodox church gains independence from Moscow

Mikhail Tereshchenko  TASS

Mikhail Tereshchenko TASS

Joining Poroshenko was 39-year-old Metropolitan Epiphanius, who was elected last month as head of the new Ukranian Orthodox Church.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, center left, and Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, center right, attend a religion service at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Sunday.

The move is forcing Ukrainian clerics to pick sides between the Moscow-backed Ukrainian churches and the new church as fighting persists in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed rebels.

The leader of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, is a close ally of Putin, whom he has described as "a miracle of God".

"The pious Ukrainian people have awaited this blessed day for seven entire centuries", Bartholomew said in his address on Saturday.

Qatar Open: Roberto Bautista Agut beats Tomas Berdych in final
With the quality of tennis displayed against Novak Djokovic , Roberto will be the favorite going into the finals. Djokovic was in cruise control in the first set, winning 6-3, and took an early break in the second.

Bartholomew, who is "first among equals" of Orthodox patriarchs, criticised Moscow's intention to break off relations as "a form of pressure and coercion in order to make others agree with one's opinions is unacceptable" in a homily last month.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko were on hand to witness the ceremony.

Previously, the Ukrainian church that was tied to the Moscow Patriarchate was considered canonical, or legitimate. On January 7, Christmas Day, a celebration and rally will take place in Kiev.

The decision may also lead to a lasting schism in the global Orthodox movement, says the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Kiev, Ukraine.

"The creation of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine is the pledge of our independence".

Man charged with murder in Houston girl's death
It took police in Texas a week to locate and arrest the prime suspect in the merciless killing of 7-year old Jazmine Barnes . The statement from Harris County Sheriff's Office said Eric Black had been arrested as the result of a tip-off.

Ukraine has accused Kremlin-backed churches of spreading pro-Russia propaganda, which Russian religious leaders have denied.

It had been "signed in violation of the canons and therefore not possessing any canonical force", Legoida added in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople overruled its decision dating back to 1686 to transfer its jurisdiction over Kievan Orthodox churches (known as the Kievan Metropolis) to Moscow.

Kiev has been pushing for a church free from Moscow's influence, which intensified after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and amid the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

What Kiev is doing is "very unsafe because if, let's just say, a number of autocephalous churches do not accept the Ukrainian new church, then we will have a schism, a break", Fr Mark Tyson, an American Orthodox priest and rector of a West Virginia-based church, explained to RT.

Government shutdown could mean delayed tax returns
Looking back at a year ago , by February 2, 2018, the IRS had paid $12.6 billion in refunds to more than six million households. But if a deal isn't reached anytime soon, those who need the refund the most are the most likely to be affected.

Latest News