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U.S. State Department issues statement in support of Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly

The following press statement concerning the Ecumenical Patriarch’s decision to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Heather Nauert, Department Spokesperson:

The United States strongly supports religious freedom, including the freedom of members of groups to govern their religion according to their beliefs and practice their faiths freely without government interference. The United States respects the ability of Ukraine’s Orthodox religious leaders and followers to pursue autocephaly according to their beliefs. We respect the Ecumenical Patriarch as a voice of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

The United States maintains unwavering support for Ukraine and its territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Crimea. We also support Ukraine as it charts its own path and makes its own decisions and associations, free of external interference.

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