Churches: Christianity in Ukraine is noted for its strength and resolution

Religion in war-torn Ukraine is highly diverse, but close on three-quarters of the 43 million population belong to a Christian faith, with Eastern Orthodox churches predominating.

By Billy Kennedy
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 8:15 am
Updated Sunday, 6th March 2022, 10:08 am

A 2018 survey found 71.7 per cent of the population declared themselves as believers, with 67 per cent adhering to one or other strand of Orthodox Christianity.

Orthodox Christians in Ukraine break down in Kyiv Patriarchate, Moscow Patriarchate and Auocephalous sectors, with some having links to Roman Catholicism. Politically, the Orthodox Christians split, some espousing separatist Ukrianian nationalism and looking to the west, and others looking east to Russia.

Other Christian denominations include Ukranian Byzantine Rite Catholics, Latin Rite Catholics, Reformed Protestants (about three per cent), while both Judaism and Islam are a very tiny minority. Current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelwnskyy is Jewish who lost family in the German Holocaust of the Second World War.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The history of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of Christandom to the Apostolic age, with mission trips from the Middle East along the Black Sea and a legend of St Andrew even ascending the capital Kyiv. The first Christian community on territory of modern Ukraine is documented as early as the ninth century with establishment of the Metropolitanate of Gothia, centred on the Crimean peninsula.

Irish Presbyterian moderator the Rev Dr David Bruce has written to all ministers and congregations in his church asking them to pray for the Christian denominations in Ukraine, for their endurance, protection and faithful witness in face of this time of trial. “Pray especially that a way might be found to bring a peaceful end to this needless war,” said Dr Bruce.

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