Ukraine Orthodox Christians mark independence from Russian branch

The Tomos was delivered to the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during a service in Istanbul in what is being described as one of the biggest rifts in Christianity in recent times.

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    The Tomos of Autocephaly, the document authorising the separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russsian Church, was handed over Ukrainian officials during a service in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

    The split has increased tensions with the Russian Church, with the Russian branch severing ties with Istanbul, considered to be the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith.

    Pressure had been building for a split between the Ukrainian and Russian branches since the collapse of the Soviet Union and gained more momentum when Russian annexed Crimea in 2014.

    Al Jazeera's Rob Matheson reports.


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