Religion in Ukraine

/ / Religion in Ukraine

Ukraine as an independent country. For today Ukraine is a democratic country with religious freedom. However, the main religion in Ukraine and the most popular one is Orthodox Christianity. Because of it’s geographical location Ukraine has been influenced by many other countries. A lot of aspects of life have been affected, religion in Ukraine is not an exception. There are representatives of all popular religions in Ukraine. However, there are also people, who deny all beliefs and support atheism. 33 million people call themselves believers, among them 5 million citizens visit church regularly. However, the rest Ukrainians count themselves atheists.

History of Christianity in Ukraine

Being originally a pagan country, the official religion in Ukraine was introduced only in the 10th century, which is considered to be the beginning of the history of Christianity in Ukraine. It happened in 988 AD when Prince Vladimir the Great, who was in charge of Kievan Rus, the state located in the territory of modern Ukraine, accepted Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox acceptation contributed to the Byzantine Empire cultural influence on the state. Prior to this fact Princess Olga, the grandmother of Prince Vladimir had visited Constantinople and made the first steps in the direction of the Eastern Orthodox religion. As a result, these events have greatly influenced both Ukraine and Russia and spread Christianity around their territories.

Christianity in Ukraine

Nowadays Ukrainian Orthodox Christianity is the main religion in Ukraine and about 70% of the population admit their faith in it. Modern Orthodox churches in Ukraine are divided into ones under Moscow Patriarchate jurisdiction and ones under Kiev Patriarchate. This division took place in 1991 when Ukraine became independent and there was a split in the faith with Churches of Kiev Patriarchate to declare themselves independent too. Despite the original great influence of the pro-Russian church in the country because of the latest events happening in the country Moscow Patriarchate loses its popularity and more than a half of believers claim to belong to Kiev one. In general, Christianity in Ukraine is developing and thousands of newcomers are a good evidence of this fact.

Major religions in Ukraine

The answer to the question: “what is the major religion in Ukraine?” was given above and it is Orthodox Christianity. At the same time, other Orthodox beliefs, as well as world religions, are also incredibly popular. For today, there are more than 30 thousand registered religious organizations and communities in the country and more than 1,500 ones that are unregistered. There are 72% of people, who refer themselves to the representatives of Ukrainian Orthodox religion and visit Orthodox Ukrainian churches, despite the patriarchate according to the recently conducted survey. About 16% of people call themselves Catholics and about 2.5% are Protestants. There are over 9% of people with other different religions that are not connected with Ukrainian Orthodox beliefs.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic church takes the second place according to the number of believers. Formed in 1596 now it has 18 eparchies and about 3,500 communities, which are mainly located in the western parts and use the Ukrainian language during services. Ukrainian Greek Catholic church counts about 4 million believers and can be explained by the fact that western Ukraine has been occupied by such Catholic countries as Poland and Lithuania. The head of the modern UGCC is Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

Another part of Ukrainian Catholic church is Roman Catholic Church that serves about 1 million of the country population and has about 900 communities.

Islam in Ukraine is mainly popular with the Crimean Tatars and the Nogays, Turkish emigrants, who live on the territory of Ukraine now. In general, there are about 500,000 of Muslim representatives all around the country, but their major part is in the Crimea making up 12% of its population. There are also approximately 150 mosques to represent this religion in Ukraine.

There is a long history of Judaism in Ukraine too. Many of Jews left the territory of the country during world wars because of mass killing, the others were killed. But still, there is their community in Ukraine with over 100,000 representatives according to the State Committee and 300,000 according to Jewish leaders.

Hinduism in Ukraine is not widely represented and belongs to a minority faith, though you can see the representatives of Hindu missionary activities in big cities of the country.

These are the most widely spread religions in Ukraine. At the same time, there is also a big number of religious communities visited by people, though they constitute only a couple of percents in accordance with the country population.