The Kremlin has long used the Russian Orthodox Church as an instrument of influence in Ukraine. To combat this, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) has been seeking to establish autocephaly, or official independence, from the Patriarch of Constantinople. Recent statements both from Kyiv and Constantinople suggest that the prospects for granting autocephaly are growing. If independence is granted, it will greatly strengthen the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and the Church will emerge as one of the two largest churches in the Orthodox world alongside the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Given the current power of the Russian Orthodox Church, autocephaly would be an event of both geopolitical and religious importance.
The conversation with Patriarch Filaret, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, discusses the prospects for autocephaly and its significance.