Policy Memos

Russkii Mir and the Future of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

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Most Ukrainian believers (about two-thirds) are Orthodox. Another Ukrainian church of Byzantine tradition adheres to Orthodox rite but recognizes the supremacy of the Pope: the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which operated underground until perestroika and is concentrated in Western Ukraine (about one-tenth of believers). There is also a fast-growing number of Protestant and non-traditional religious communities throughout the country.

Although Ukrainian Orthodoxy faces strong competition, its main challenge is its own internal divide. Part of Ukrainian Orthodoxy supports the creation of a united Ukrainian autocephalous (fully self-governing) church. At the same time, the major part of Ukrainian Orthodoxy is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Both the Russian government and Orthodox Church are trying to limit Ukrainian Orthodoxy’s autonomy and use it as an instrument to involve Ukraine in the so-called Russkii mir (Russian World), a concept that both the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate support. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Founding Director of the Kyiv Mohyla University School of Policy Analysis
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy