December 5, 2018 / 8:17 AM / in 5 days

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

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/Files

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 center of the Orthodox Ukrainian religious life,” Poroshenko said.

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

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