Ukrainian lawmakers have approved an appeal to the worldwide head of the Orthodox Church asking him to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's independence from Moscow.
The appeal was adopted in Kyiv on June 16 by 245 lawmakers in favor and urges Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to declare invalid a 1686 act that attached the Kyiv metropolitan to the Moscow Patriarchate "in violation of canons."
The Moscow Patriarchate reacted to the Ukrainian parliament move with harsh criticism, saying that the Ukrainian legislature has no right to administer interchurch issues.
There are three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.
The latter is unrecognized by other Eastern Orthodox churches.
The Ukrainian lawmakers' move came the day when a historic forum of the Pan-Orthodox Council on the island of Crete is opening, at which the Ukrainian lawmakers' appeal might be considered.
The Orthodox Churches of Russia, Bulgaria, Syria, and Georgia have declared they will not attend the special council.
An Orthodox Church council with all the recognized branches of the Orthodox church attending has not occurred since A.D. 787.
The Orthodox Church broke away from the Catholic Church in 1054.