Millions of Ukrainians still worship in Orthodox churches deeply influenced by Russian clergy who support Moscow's invasion, sparking a clash of faith and national loyalty.
At church, Ukrainians pray for an end to war. But a rift is forming: The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has defended Moscow's invasion. Some in Ukraine want to break away from his leadership.
The move comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and has already drawn condemnation from Moscow.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos jointly announced the agreement, which is aimed at separating religion and state. But it is drawing resistance from other Church leaders.
Hundreds blocked Patriarch Theophilos III's convoy as he drove to a Christmas Mass in Bethlehem on Saturday. The group of Palestinians was protesting the church's controversial sales of holy land.
Greek Orthodox Church leaders have quietly sold off several properties and leases to Israeli, Jewish and anonymous investors fronted by companies registered in far-flung tax havens.
The visit by the leaders of the Eastern and Western churches — announced by Greek church and government officials, but not confirmed by the Vatican — would signal support for migrants and refugees.
Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met Friday in Havana. It's the first time leaders of the two churches have met since a schism 1,000 years ago divided Christianity.
The split dates from when Christianity first spread through the Roman Empire. Friday's meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is the culmination of longstanding efforts to promote dialogue.