JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — The new year brings a change for Ukraine and Russia.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been tied to Russia since the 1600s.
Recently, the two have parted ways. Local church leaders say its has been a long time coming for this to happen.
“It’s good because it’s nice to see the unity and that we have somebody to talk to, as I mentioned to sort of find the Kievan tradition that’s our heritage that we share,” said Sacred Heart of Jesus Ukrainian Catholic Church Reverend Teodor Czabala.
“I mean it’s a great historical event,” said St. John’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church Father Ivan Synevskyy. “I mean it’s no doubt. It’s something you would never imagine to be living in during that time.”
Synevskyy says this was a good move to make.
“Many problems have simply just disappeared with having this one church in Ukraine,” said Synevskyy.
He says this new change will create positivity in the Southern Tier.
“Your sacraments are not of canonical, we would have to, re-baptize you, or remarry you, or whatever because you’re not legitimately married or baptized,” he explained. “Now that issue simply goes away.”
He says being under one church with no government power means no one is excluded.
“Now we accept all Orthodox’s from Ukraine without no extra questions,” he added. “Are you this? Are you that? You know, so many questions to be asked for.”
Synevskyy says he’s grateful to be a part of this new change.
“I am personally really happy of this happening during my lifetime and now to see like I said my friends and family talking to each other because their all in the same church, it’s a big, big joy,” he added.
Monday marks the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s first Christmas celebration without Russia.