Bitter divisions among Ukraine's religious leaders were laid bare Wednesday when honorary Patriarch Filaret accused the young head of the newly created united church of governing single-handedly despite earlier agreements.
Filaret, who headed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate independent of Moscow, called a news conference Wednesday to claim that Metropolitan Yepifaniy had reneged on agreements to lead the newly-created church together.
"There was an agreement that I continue to govern the church in Ukraine together with Yepifaniy while he will represent the church abroad," he told reporters.
"In order to preserve the church, agreements have to be kept," he said.
He added that he had a meeting with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky who said he would not interfere in religious affairs.
Until recently the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was divided into three branches: one whose clerics pledged loyalty to Moscow, one loyal to Kiev and overseen by Patriarch Filaret and the smaller Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church.
But early this year the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople recognised Kiev's religious independence, allowing for the creation of a unified Ukrainian Church.
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