Geopolitical Vector of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in the Context of National Security

  • Yevhen Kharkovshchenko
  • Olena Bortnikova


Ukraine is one of the largest European countries. The country is officially secular but the religiosity level of citizens in the Ukraine is one of the highest in Europe. Ukraine is also multi-Christian (several different Orthodox Churches, Protestant denominations). Within its borders there are also Muslims, Jews and new religious movements. Long-term monitoring by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) suggests that Ukrainian Orthodox Church has the highest level of trust of any church within the population.

Orthodoxy, the major religious tradition in the Ukraine, is split into several competing Orthodox Churches since the 1990s whilst there is no local autocephalous Orthodox Church, that is, one which has canonical communication with and is recognised by other “autonomous” Orthodox churches within the international Orthodox Ecumenical Council. We will use the term “Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church” or ULOC to refer to this idea of an autocephalous Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. But the term “local church” does not automatically imply “national church”. A local church is an autonomous (autocephalous) church within the independent state. This church is an administrative unit that is completely independent from other Orthodox Churches but united with them only in canonical communion. Moreover, the Ukrainian society does not say that there is a need for a national Orthodox Church.


Ukraine Russia Orthodox Church Autonomy and conflict 


  1. Dingley, J. 2011. Sacred Communities: Religion and National Identity. Nations and Nationalism 13 (4): 389–402.Google Scholar
  2. Elenskiy, V. 2002. Religion After Communism. Religious and Social Changes in the Transformation of Central and Eastern European Societies Focus on Ukraine, 419. Kyiv.Google Scholar
  3. History of Religion in Ukraine: (in 10 books). Book 3: Orthodoxy in Ukraine [Text]/A. Kolodnyy, V. Klymov; NAS of Ukraine. – Kyiv, 1999. – p. 559.Google Scholar
  4. Kharkovshchenko, Y. 2013. Religious Studies. Textbook, 380. Kyiv.Google Scholar
  5. Kolodnyy, A. 2005. Ukraine in Its Religious Aspects. Monograph, 336. L’viv.Google Scholar
  6. Practical Religious Studies. Collective Monography. Under the edition of A. Kolodnyy and L. Fylypovych. Kyiv, 2012. p. 315.Google Scholar
  7. Sahan, O. 2001. National Manifestations of Orthodoxy: Ukrainian Dimension, 255. Kyiv.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2016. Yedyna Pomisna Pravoslavna Tserkva v Ukraini: suspilnyi zapyt ta neobkhidnist konstytuiuvannia, 40 ss. O. Sahan. – K.: KPBA.Google Scholar
  9. Yelens’kyy, V. 2013. Great Comeback of Religion to Global Politics and International Relations in the Late XX-Beginning of XXI Century, 504. L’viv.Google Scholar


  1. Autocephalia: “PRO” & “CONTRA”.
  2. Battlefield – Ukraine, or “Canonical” Against “Canonical”.
  3. Great Pan-Orthodox Cathedral: Decomposed for Ukraine.
  4. If Ukraine Had a Common Orthodox Church, Perhaps There Would Be No of War on Donbass – Filaret.
  5. In Ukraine 71% of the Population Identified Themselves as Religious, and 3% – as Atheists.
  6. Kalenichenko, T. Definition of the Role of the Church on the Background of Double Standards – Flashback Data Centre Razumkov.
  7. Kiev International Institute of Sociology. Press Releases and Reports.
  8. Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary (Pakanich): “The Mutual Hate Can Put the Future of Ukraine on the Brink of the Abyss”.
  9. More Than 70% of Ukrainians Consider Themselves Believers – Poll.
  10. Moscow Patriarchate Massively Losing Parishioners in Ukraine – Media.
  11. Opportunities for Integrating the Orthodox Churches.
  12. Razumkov Center: Majority of Ukrainians Believe in God.
  13. Statistics: Ukrainian Orthodox Church – The Largest Orthodox Denomination in Ukraine.
  14. The Cabinet Opposed Kirill’s Visit to Ukraine.
  15. The History of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine: The Collection of Scientific Works [Tekst] – Kyiv: “Chetverta khvylya”, 1997. 292 p.Google Scholar
  16. The Issue of Faith. Ukrainians and Religion – Sociological Survey.
  17. The Issue of Orthodox Church in Estonia at the End of XX Century.
  18. The Unification Process Continues with the Mediation of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
  19. Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity: The Dynamics of Euromaidan.
  20. Ukrainian Centre of Economic and Political Searches Named After A. Razumkov (UCEPS A. Razumkov).
  21. Ukrayins’ka Pravoslavna Tserkva: s’ohodennya i perspektyvy.
  22. Unity Cathedral of UAOC and UOC KP May Not Take Place – Metropolitan Macarius (Maletic).
  23. Yakunin G. Historical way of Orthodox Taliban.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yevhen Kharkovshchenko
    • 1
  • Olena Bortnikova
    • 1
  1. 1.Taras Shevchenko National University of KyivKyivUkraine

Personalised recommendations