On December 15, 2018, a crowd of thousands gathered in the St. Sophia Square, eagerly awaiting the results of the Unification Sobor. At the conclusion of the Council, which took place inside the ancient, 1,000-year-old majestic Saint Sophia Cathedral, aptly named “Holy Wisdom”, the announcement of the establishment of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Ukraine was made to the patiently awaiting crowd outside. As they celebrated the good news in the gathering darkness, the Christmas lights which decorated the capital city of Ukraine began to twinkle happily, accentuating the celebratory spirit.
As the nation celebrated, key members of the Unification Sobor gathered in the Office of the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Andriy Volodymyrovych Parubiy. The Chairman expressed his gratitude to the special representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch for their commitment and hard work in establishing the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For months the Exarchs had traveled long distances, suffered sleepless nights, held meetings, led discussions, and prayed deeply for the success of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The hours and effort extended by them is immeasurable.
In gratitude, Chairman Parubiy awarded the Exarchs of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I - His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Candada, Honorary Diplomas and awards on behalf of the Verkhovna Rada, thanking them for their extraordinary dedication, diligence and self-sacrifice on behalf of the Ukrainian nation and her people.
May the Lord reward the Exarchs for their selflessness and perseverance, granting them many blessed years. Eis polla eti Despota!
Photos by the Press Office of Ukrainian Parliament