The Verkhovna Rada adopted the presidential bill, approving the transfer of St. Andrew Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for worships, religious ceremonies and processions. The building itself will remain in state ownership.
237 people's deputies supported the decision. The plenary session was broadcasted on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.
The St. Andrew's Church will be handed over to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for free permanent use, for the worshipping, religious ceremonies and processions - with the condition that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will observe the legislation on protection of cultural heritage.
At the same time, transfer of the building for use entails its exclusion from the list of immovable objects of cultural heritage of the National Sanctuary "Sophia of Kyiv."
As it was reported earlier, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko proposed to the Verkhovna Rada to give the St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv for the permanent use to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
"The president supports the aspiration to receive Tomos as soon as possible, and as the sign of solidarity with this process he makes a symbolic gesture. The bill, by which President Poroshenko proposes to transfer the St. Andrew's Church for the permanent use to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a reminder that St. Andrew once baptized Ukraine, will be a symbolic gesture of unity with the Mother-Church," Iryna Lutsenko, the representative of the president in parliament, said.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to grant the autocephaly for Ukraine's Orthodox Church. The respective document appeared on the official website of the Patriarchate. This outraged the Russian Orthodox Church, which already promised 'a tough and decisive response.'
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate have been struggling for the autocephaly since the country gained independence in 1991. For his firm stance in this regard, Patriarch Filaret, the current leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, was stripped of his orders in 1992, as the Russian Orthodox Church imposed the anathema on him. Most recently, the Ecumenical Patriarchate lifted it from him. This decision, and the subsequent decision to grant Ukraine Tomos outraged the Russian Orthodox Church, which already promised 'a tough and decisive response.'
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople can provide the Tomos on autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodox Church at Synod that will take place in the second half of November 2018.