On January 5, 2019, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autocephaly of the united Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The signing ceremony took place after a joint prayer service by Bartholomew and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius in the Church of St. George on the territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Tomos is a patriarchal charter that officially confirms the canonical autocephalous status of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as one of the 15 local Orthodox churches in the world. This document is issued once and is the basis of the church. It is valid from the moment of its signing.
The path toward an independent Ukrainian local church was difficult and long. The first attempt was made 100 years ago, during the Hetmanate and the Directorate. But the birth of the Ukrainian Church was hindered by the Bolsheviks occupation.
The process was resumed in the independent Ukraine, and the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, Filaret, played an important role in this. However, Moscow managed to block this process for many years. And only the attempt in 2018 was successful: on October 11, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that the Russian Orthodox Church lost jurisdiction over the canonical territory of Ukraine, and the mother church of Ukraine is Constantinople. In addition, the anathemas laid on head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makariy were declared invalid.
On December 15, 2018, the Unification Church Council was held in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. The clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate established a united local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, approved its charter, and elected its primate - Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
The procedure for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine ended on January 6, 2019 when the Patriarchal Church of St. George hosted the presentation of Thomas of Autocephaly and the divine liturgy jointly served by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius.