Analysis of the Multi-Confessional Religious Situation in Ukraine in the Period from 2000 to 2021
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This study summarizes information regarding features of religious and church-religious self-determination of citizens of Ukraine for the period 2000-2021. Ukraine’s Western region is traditionally characterized by a high level of religiosity, while the South and East of Ukraine are the least religious. In recent years, the proportion of citizens who do not identify themselves with any of the religions has increased. There is a significant difference between the level of declared religiosity and identification with a particular religious community. As a result of the military events in the East of Ukraine and the war with Russia, the number of believers and Orthodox churches of the Moscow Patriarchate has significantly decreased, while the number of Orthodox Churches of the Kyiv Patriarchate has increased. After receiving Tomos from the Patriarch of Constantinople on December 15, 2018, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine gained more authority in society. However, relations between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate are characterized by the great tension and conflict, which is expressed at the level of individual communities. Some problems arose during the creation of a unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine, but they did not become critical and did not affect the religious situation as a whole. Only 10% of citizens regularly attend religious services and meetings. The decline in attendance at religious services during the COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by an increase in parishioner participation via the Internet. Leading churches have a positive attitude towards the use of the latest technologies and instant messengers. The article presents the results of surveys of focus groups. One of these polls testifies to the desire of believers to have changes in terms of religious rituals, in particular, the reduction of time, the understandable language of services and sermons, the introduction of seating in Orthodox churches, or a more modest decoration of churches. However, it has been established that for the growth of temple attendance, it is important not so much to develop a network of places of worship, but to form the interest and motivation of people to visit temples. Unfortunately, the level of recognition of the moral authority of the Church is lower than the level of trust in it. Citizens believe that the largest Ukrainian Churches in their approach to the problems of LGBT communities and other complex issues often take a conservative position that does not meet the requirements of the time, rather than an active position that contributes to solving social problems. Social service and assistance to people, according to the majority of respondents, should occupy a leading place in the activities of the Church. The greatest demand was for psychological assistance and protection of vulnerable groups. The overwhelming majority support the assertion that the Church should be separated from the state and the school from the Church. There is a high level of tolerance among citizens to the practice of different religions. A negative attitude is present only towards the UOC-MP, but this is a consequence of the military invasion by Russia and the presence of scandals due to provocative statements by the so-called “pro-Russian priests.” The activity of the latter was banned by a number of local councils on the territory of Ukraine due to cooperation with the aggressor country, and after the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, it was outlawed. A deterrent to inter-religious, inter-confessional and inter-church conflicts in Ukraine remains the fact that religious and ecclesiastical identity is of little importance to citizens. It was found that in Ukraine during the period of independence a special religious situation has formed, characterized by multi-confessional tolerance and the almost complete absence of tension among the various churches that successfully coexist, and often even cooperate with each other.
"Analysis of the Multi-Confessional Religious Situation in Ukraine in the Period from 2000 to 2021,"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 42
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol42/iss8/3