Accessibility links

Breaking News

Head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church Dies

FILE - In this file photo taken Jan. 5, 2014, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Volodymyr, foreground, leads services during the Christmas Eve mass in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church in Kyiv.

The head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church under the Moscow patriarchate died on Saturday, the patriarchate said on its website on Saturday.

The Moscow patriarchate has echoed Russian President
Vladimir Putin's rhetoric on the Ukraine crisis, a move that may
alienate the church in Ukraine, analysts have said.

"On July 5, 2014, the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox
Church, his beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv Volodymyr, went to the Lord," a statement on the website said.

Putin, who has chartered a more socially conservative course
in his third term as president, has strengthened ties with the
Russian Orthodox Church and boosted its profile across Russia.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church currently under the Moscow
Patriarch Kirill is Ukraine's largest religious body and does
not recognize the smaller Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under the
Kyiv patriarch, which established itself in a schism after the
fall of the Soviet Union.

Volodymyr, 78, ascended to the leadership of the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church following the schism, during which its previous
head was defrocked.

Volodymyr suffered from internal bleeding and had been treated at a clinic in Kyiv, Interfax reported.