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

Domes of the Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery are seen in front of the Mother Homeland monument in Kiev, Ukraine November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian church council will meet on December 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