Donetsk, Jul 23 – DAN. An autocephaly in Ukraine will cause a religious war in the country, said DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko.

"Kiev authorities are trying to establish a new congregation and are seeking the permit from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. I highly oppose this situation as an autocephaly in Ukraine will cause a religious war," he said.

"I would like to ask the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I to avoid bloodshed and stirring up religious wars, not to allow Ukraine and American diplomats to meddle in religious affairs."

In late April, the Ukrainian parliament voiced support to the president Petr Poroshenko's appeal for church autocephaly to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Currently Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a self-governing constituent part of the Russian Orthodox Church (the Moscow Patriarchate). The other two churches – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – are unrecognized by canonical Eastern Orthodox churches.*ot