Petro Poroshenko
© Reuters / Valentyn OgirenkoParticipants, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, attend a ceremony to enthrone Metropolitan Epifaniy
The Polish Orthodox Church has said that it does not recognize the newly-created Orthodox structure in Ukraine supported by Constantinople and Kiev. A religious body cannot be led by a group of "renegades," it said.

What the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has done by declaring the newly formed 'Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)' autocephalous or independent from the Moscow Patriarchate, which the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church belongs to, goes against the church norms and violates the Orthodox Churches' unity, the Holy Council of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church said in a statement, clarifying its stance on the issue.

Although, the council noted that it generally supports the idea of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, it still said that such a move should be based on the canonical norms and accepted by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and not just a group of schismatic priests.

"Church apostates, who were deprived of priestly ordination, cannot represent a healthy church organism," the statement said, referring to the fact that the OCU was formed from two schismatic churches at a "unification council" late in 2018, which was attended predominantly by assorted schismatic priests and ignored by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Polish Orthodox Church has joined the Orthodox Churches of America, Serbia and Antioch in refusing to recognize the newly-formed clerical structure, which was actively supported by the Kiev authorities and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko personally, after he spearheaded the creation of a new, homegrown "independent" church.

The Moscow Patriarchate also renounced the new entity, with Patriarch Kirill describing the situation as an "unprecedented meddling of state" in church affairs. With most other autocephalous Orthodox Churches distancing themselves from the conflict, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), a self-governed part of the Russian Orthodox Church, remains the only universally-recognized church in the country.