Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has signed a decree granting
autocephaly, or independence, to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, ending more
than 330 years of Russian religious control in Ukraine.

The
ceremony on the 5th of January in Istanbul, which is considered the
spiritual headquarters of Orthodox Christianity, was attended by Ukrainian
President Petro Poroshenko. The decree, or “tomos,” was expected to
be handed over to the head of the new Ukrainian church, Metropolitan Epifaniy, as
of yesterday the 6th of January, completing the two-day spiritual
ceremony.