Religion In Ukraine

Religion in Ukraine is diverse. Ukrainian laws guarantee freedom of worship and provide legal ways for the registration of religious groups.

According to the survey conducted on request of the International Center for Advanced Studies in 2014-2015, the distribution of religious beliefs in the regions of Ukraine ( in exception of the Lugansk region and Crimea) looks like as follows:

  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) – 44.2%;
  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – 20.8%;
  • Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church – 11%;
  • Protestants – 2.5%;
  • Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – 2.4%;
  • Roman Catholic Church – 1%;
  • Buddhism – 0.2%;
  • Paganism – 0.2%;
  • Islam – 0.1%;
  • Judaism – 0.1%;
  • Others – 8%.

Orthodoxy is practised by the majority of believers in Ukraine, especially in the central, eastern and southern regions of the country.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of an independent Ukrainian state, there have been several jurisdictions that call themselves Orthodox Churches.

Only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has the canonical status, but with the participation of the Ukrainian authorities, active negotiations are going on to establish a unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine based on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate).

The main Orthodox Churches of Ukraine:

  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – part of the Russian Orthodox Church, which views Ukraine as part of its canonical territory;
  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate);
  • Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church;

The Catholic Church in Ukraine is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

The majority of Catholics in Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, while significant numbers of others belong to the Latin Church (known as Roman Catholic) The number of Catholics in Ukraine is estimated at 4-5 million people, about 9% of the population.

Catholicism is more common in the west of Ukraine, although the network of Catholic parishes covers the whole territory of the country. Ukrainian Greek Catholics make up the majority of the population in Galicia (Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano- Frankivsk regions) and Transcarpathia.

There are a lot of Protestant churches in Ukraine. By 2013 there were about 10613 churches and their number continues to grow with time.

Nearly all traditional Protestant denominations are represented in the country. According to Christianity Today magazine, Ukraine has become not just the “Bible Belt” of Eastern Europe, but a “hub of evangelical church life, education, and missions”.  At present, the country is a key supplier of missionaries and a centre of evangelical training and press printing for all the countries of the former Soviet Union, where the legal environment is not so favourable.

The total number of Protestants in Ukraine is about 1,125,000 people. About 820,000 people attend Protestant services every week. There are about 145,000 believers who identify themselves as Jehovah’s
Witnesses.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims is found in the south-eastern part of Ukraine and more than 70% of the communities are located in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (the Crimean Tatars).

Judaism is represented by about 300 religious organizations in Ukraine. Buddhists make up about 0.1% of the total population of Ukraine, 56 communities. In addition to Tibetan Buddhism, there are also followers of Zen Buddhism.