Breaking news 2019-01-06 18:36

Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially gains independence from Russian Church

Bartholomew I signs the Tomos of Autocephaly, marking the formal independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially gained independence on Saturday, with the signing of a decree that marked its separation from the Russian church that it has been tied to for centuries. 

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I signed the decree of independence, or tomos, in Istanbul, formalizing a split that has angered Moscow amid a broader political conflict between Ukraine and Russia. 

"The pious Ukrainian people have awaited this blessed day for seven entire centuries," Bartholomew I said in his address at the Patriarchal Church of St. George. 

The Russian Orthodox Church has repeatedly denounced the creation of an independent Ukrainian church and severed ties with Istanbul, the historical seat of the Orthodox faith, after Bartholomew I approved the Ukrainian church's request for autocephaly, or independence, last October.