Ukraine LIVE: Putin warns ‘power divide is growing’ as he scrambles to regain control | World | News

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Undoubtedly, hundreds of worshipers packed Kyiv’s 1,000-year-old Lavra Cathedral for Orthodox Christmas, hearing a service in that church in the Ukrainian language for the first time in decades, a show of independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Richly decorated with gilded statues and panels, the cathedral – part of the complex known as the Monastery of the Caves and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – put up a video screen outside for the worshipers to watch, despite the frigid temperature of -10 Celsius ( 14 F).

Overlooking the right bank of the Dnieper River, the cathedral and monastery complex has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. And for the first time in 31 years of Ukraine’s independence, the service there was held in the Ukrainian language.

Uniformed Ukrainian army soldiers were among those who sang famous Ukrainian anthems.

The Ukrainian government on Thursday took the administration of the venerable Lavra from the Moscow patriarchate and allowed the Ukrainian church to use it for the Orthodox Christmas service. The move highlights the long-standing tension between the two churches exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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