Ukraine transfers noted church to Constantinople patriarch

In this photo taken Nov. 6, 2018, the 18th century Saint Andrew's Church in Kiev, Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament has approved a bill to hand over St. Andrew's Church to Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarchate for service, religious rites, and ceremonies. The bill entered into force Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said that the transfer of St. Andrew's Church to Constantinople is another step towards the main goal of obtaining Tomos on autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine has turned over one of the most famous Orthodox churches in the capital for permanent use by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The law transferring the use of St. Andrew’s Church went into effect on Saturday. The move comes after the patriarchate, whose leader is regarded as “first among equals” for Orthodox Christians, moved to allow the Orthodox church in Ukraine to become independent of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The baroque St. Andrew’s Church, noted for its blue-and-white spires and cupola, is one of Kiev’s most visible landmarks. It was designed by the same architect responsible for the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and is part of a state preservation complex.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.