Metropolitan Epiphanius I was enthroned in Kyiv Sunday as head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, two months after its declaration of independence was recognized by Istanbul-based Patriarch Batholomew I.

The inauguration, broadcast on Ukrainian television, was described by President Petro Poroshenko, who supports the Metropolitan, as the “completion” of the new church formation he has spearheaded in recent months.

Sunday’s rituals in Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral Sunday was performed by two Ukrainian bishops and Paris’ Metropolitan Emmanuel. Absent were delegations from “almost all” other Orthodox churches, reported Germany’s Catholic news agency KNA.

The move leaves clergy and believers in Ukraine to choose between the new Ukrainian church (which unites two formerly schismatic entities) and the Moscow-backed church which historically maintained the faith in Ukraine.

In mid-January, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a bill on procedures for parishes to decide on how to handle transfers of church property, including rentals to estranged Russian-affiliated parishioners. On passage, Poroshenko said it would prevent “bloodshed.”

Poroshenko faces a tough re-election battle against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is ahead in the polls. Both candidates favor Ukrainian bids – opposed by Russia – to join the European Union and NATO. Tymoshenko, however, accuses Poroshenko of ignoring corruption during warfare between Kyiv and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Epiphanius, 40, who was elected by fellow bishops in December had previously helped organize humanitarian aid for Kyiv’s army in its struggle against the pro-Russian separatists.