Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church
2005-08-15 Pechersk Lavra seen from river Dnepr Kiev 311.JPG
The 11th century Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev
Founded 10th century; 1685 (exarchate); 1918 (autonomy); 1921 (exarchate); 1990 (self-rule)
Founder Saint Andrew, Vladimir the Great; Russian Orthodox Church
Recognition 1990
Primate Metropolitan Onuphrius
Polity Russian Orthodox Church
Headquarters Refectory Church of the Kiev Cave Monastery
Territory Ukraine
Language Church Slavonic, Ukrainian, Romanian
Members 17.4% of religious population (by Razumkov Center, January 2015)[1]
20.85 of religious population (by Ukrainian Sociology Service and Kucheriv democratic initiatives fund, December 2014 - January 2015)[2]
Bishops 85 (53 governing)
Priests 10,963
Parishes 11,393
Monastics 1,320
Monasteries 219
Nuns 2,312
Website Ukrainian Orthodox Church
St Volodymyr's Cathedral, a former mother cathedral of the church
Annunciation Cathedral in Kharkiv, a former mother cathedral of the church in 1929-1934
The only Lviv Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate - St. George Church

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква; Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь) is a self-governing church of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The current Statute of the ROC defines it as a ″self-governing church with the rights of wide autonomy″.[3] Officially such status has no recognition outside of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russia′s annexation of Crimea in 2014 notwithstanding, the UOC eparchies in Crimea continue under the administration of the UOC.[4] While being a part of the Moscow Patriarchate, the current status of the UOC means its virtually full administrative independence from the ROC Holy Synod, whereas the UOC Primate is the seniormost[5] permanent member thereof and thus has a say in the decision-making in respect of the rest of the ROC, including its business in the Russian Federation.


Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople[edit]

Moscow, Lithuania, Halych metropolia[edit]

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers itself the sole descendant in modern Ukraine of the Ruthenian (Kyivan) metropolis within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople established in Kiev in the 10th century. Due to invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century the metropolitan seat was moved to Vladimir and later to Moscow, while in the Duchy of Halych and Volhynia was created a separate Metropolis of Halych with own Metropolitan. In the 14th century the Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas who established his control over the former territories of Kievan Rus attempted to move the metropolitan seat back to Kiev.


In 1596 the Metropolitan of Kiev, Halych and all Russia Michael Rohoza accepted the Union of Brest transforming dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople into the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under the Holy See's jurisdiction. In 1620 Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople reestablished its dioceses in Ukraine under the Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Russia as the exarch of Ukraine Job Boretsky.

Moscow Patriarchate[edit]

Under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church became in 1685 when Gedeon Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky was elected the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galicia and all Little Russia with the help of the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Samoylovych. At that time all dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine were transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church. On 2 April 1767 the Empress of Russia Catherine the Great issued an edict stripping the Metropolitan of Kiev off words "and all Little Russia".[6]

Before taking the current name and status, it had been the Ukrainian exarchate (1921-1990) of the Russian Orthodox Church. On 28 October 1990,[7] it was granted a status of a self–governing church under the jurisdiction of the ROC (but not the full autonomy as is understood in the ROC legal terminology).

Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), who succeeded the [ Filaret (Denysenko), was enthroned in 1992 as the Primate of the UOC under the title Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, with the official residency in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, which also houses all of the Church's administration.

The church is currently the only Ukrainian church to have full canonical standing in Eastern Orthodoxy, and operates in full communion with the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. The UOC (MP) claims to be the largest religious body in Ukraine with the greatest number of parishes churches and communities counting up to half of the total in Ukraine and totaling over 10,000. The UOC also claims to have up to 75 percent of the Ukrainian population.[8] Independent surveys show significant variance. According to Stratfor, in 2008, more than 50 percent of Ukrainian population belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarch.[9] Razumkov Centre survey results, however, tend to show greater adherence to the rival Kiev Patriarchate.[10] Many Orthodox Ukrainians do not clearly identify with a particular denomination and, sometimes, are even unaware of the affiliation of the church they attend as well as of the controversy itself, which indicates the difficulty of using survey numbers as an indicator of a relative strength of the church. Also, the geographical factor plays a major role in the number of adherents, as the Ukrainian population tends to be more churchgoing in the western part of the country rather than in the UOC (MP)'s heartland in southern and eastern Ukraine. Many in Ukraine see the UOC-MP as merely a tool of the Putin Government.

The number of parishes statistics seems to be more reliable and consistent even though it may not necessarily directly translate into the numbers of adherents. By number of parishes and quantity of church buildings, the UOC (MP)'s strong base is central and northernwestern Ukraine. However, percentage wise (with respect to rival Orthodox Churches) its share of parishes there varies from 60 to 70 percent. At the same time, by percentage alone (with respect to rival Orthodox Churches) the urban russophone southern and eastern Ukrainian provinces peak with up to 90 percent of church buildings. The same can be said about Transcarpathia, although there the UOC's main rival is the Greek Catholic Church and thus in all its share is only 40 percent. The capital Kiev is where the greatest Orthodox rivalry takes place, there the UOC (MP) has only half of the Orthodox communities. The only place where the UOC (MP) is a true minority, in both quantity, percentage and support are the former Galician provinces of Western Ukraine. There the total share of parishes does not exceed more than five percent. The UOC (MP) does not have any parishes abroad, as its followers identify themselves under the same umbrella as those of the Russian Orthodox Church.

As of 2006 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had the allegiance of 10,875 registered religious communities in Ukraine (approximately 68 percent of all Orthodox Christian communities in the country), located mostly in central, eastern and southern regions and claims to be the largest religious body in terms of church property in Ukraine.

The Church currently has 42 dioceses, with 58 bishops (diocesan - 42; vicar - 12; retired - 4; with them being classified as: metropolitans - 10; archbishops - 21; or bishops - 26). There are also 8516 priests, and 443 deacons.[11]

Since 2014 the church has come under attack for perceived anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian actions by its clergymen.[12] On 14 September 2015 it urged the pro-Russian separatists of the War in Donbass to lay down their arms and take advantage of the amnesty promised to them in the Minsk II agreement.[13]


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) insists on its name being just the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,[14] stating that it is the sole canonic body of Orthodox Christians in the country,[14] a Ukrainian "local church" (Ukrainian: Помісна Церква), a claim fiercely contested by her non-canonic rivals. It is also the name that it is registered under in the State Committee of Ukraine in Religious Affairs.[15]

In mass media and in academic literature it is often referred to, as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) or UOC (MP)[16][17][18] in order to distinguish between the two rival churches contesting the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

List of Primates[edit]

Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Little Russia[edit]

  • Metropolitan Gedeon 1685 – 1690, the first Metropolitan of Kiev of the Russian Orthodox Church originally was called as Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia
  • Metropolitan Varlaam 1690 – 1707
  • Metropolitan Ioasaph 1707 – 1718
  • none 1718 – 1722
  • Archbishop Varlaam 1722 – 1730
  • Metropolitan Raphael 1731 – 1747
  • Metropolitan Timothy 1748 – 1757
  • Metropolitan Arseniy 1757 – 1770

Note: in 1770 the office's jurisdiction was reduced to a diocese's administration as Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia.

Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church[edit]

  • Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) 1918 – 1919, autonomy revived
  • none 1919 – 1921, Antony sided with the Armed Forces of South Russia (Denikin), heading the Higher Church Administration of South Russia

Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, Exarch of Ukraine[edit]

  • Metropolitan Michael (Yermakov) 1921 – 1929 (Bishop of Grodno and Brest, 1905-1921; Archbishop of Tobolsk, 1925; and Metropolitan of Kiev, 1927-1929)
  • Metropolitan Constantine (Dyakov) 1929 – 1937 (Metropolitan of Kharkiv and Okhtyrka, 1927-1934 and Metropolitan of Kiev 1934-1937)
  • none 1937 – 1941, exarchate was liquidated
  • Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich) 1941 – 1944
  • Metropolitan John (Sokolov) 1944 – 1964
  • Metropolitan Ioasaph (Leliukhin) 1964 – 1966
  • Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko) 1966 - 1990

Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Most of population of Ukraine considers itself predominantly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate).
  3. ^ п. 18 Гл. XI Устава РПЦ: «Украинская Православная Церковь является самоуправляемой с правами широкой автономии.»
  4. ^ Статус епархий в Крыму остался неизменным, заявили в УПЦ Московского патриархата NEWSru, 10 March 2015.
  5. ^ ЖУРНАЛЫ заседания Священного Синода от 19 марта 2014 года // ЖУРНАЛ № 1: «2. Включить в состав Священного Синода на правах постоянного члена митрополита Черновицкого и Буковинского Онуфрия, <…> с определением по протокольному старшинству места, занимаемого Блаженнейшим митрополитом Киевским и всея Украины — первым среди архиереев Русской Православной Церкви.»
  6. ^ Arseniy at the Orthodox Encyclopedia
  7. ^ К 20-летию Благословенной Грамоты Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Алексия II о даровании Украинской Православной Церкви самостоятельности в управлении: ″Определение фактически вступило в силу уже 28 октября 1990 года (когда Святейший Патриарх Алексий вручил занимавшему тогда Киевскую кафедру митрополиту Филарету соответствующую Грамоту)″
  8. ^ Pravoslvieye v Ukraine Retrieved on 10 February 2007
  9. ^ Countries in Crisis: Ukraine Part 3
  10. ^ "What religious group do you belong to?". Sociology poll by Razumkov Centre about the religious situation in Ukraine (2006)
  11. ^ "Statistical data". Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  12. ^ Ukrainians shun Moscow Patriarchate as Russia’s war intensifies in Donbas, Kyiv Post (23 Januari 2015)
    The War and the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, The Jamestown Foundation (18 February 2014)
  13. ^ (Ukrainian) UOC MP called on militants to lay down arms, Ukrayinska Pravda (14 September 2015)
  14. ^ a b The interview given by Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan) to Associated Press
  15. ^ "On the state and tendencies of expansion of the religious situation in government-church relations in Ukraine". State Committee of Ukraine in Religious Affairs (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 2004-12-04. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  16. ^ "Politics and Society in Ukraine". Paul J. D'Anieri, Robert S. Kravchuk, Taras Kuzio. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  17. ^ "Post-Soviet Political Order". Barnett R. Rubin, Jack L. Snyder. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  18. ^ "The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia". Dimitry Pospielovsky. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  19. ^ a b Metropolitan Onufriy of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna elected head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Interfax-Ukraine (13 August 2014)

External links[edit]