US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly
The United States expressed its support on Wednesday for a recent decision by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that the US supports the freedom of groups “to govern their religion according to their beliefs and practice their faiths freely without government interference.”
“The United States respects the ability of Ukraine’s Orthodox religious leaders and followers to pursue autocephaly according to their beliefs. We respect the Ecumenical Patriarch as a voice of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue,” she added.
Nauert reiterated her country’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine and its territorial integrity “in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Crimea.”