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Ukrainian Orthodox Church
(Moscow Patriarchate)
Kiev Pechersk Lavra (General).jpg

The 11th century Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev.
Founder Apostle Andrew; St. Vladimir
Independence 1990
Recognition 1990
Primate Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan)
Headquarters Kiev, Ukraine
Territory Ukraine
Language Church Slavonic, Ukrainian
Adherents more than 50 % [1].
Website Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква; Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь) is an autonomous Church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine, under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is often referred to as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква (Московського Патріархату); Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь (Московского Патриархата) and is one of the major Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and it is the only one whose canonical status is recognized by the whole Eastern Orthodox communion.



Before taking the formal title of Ukrainian Orthodox Church it was the Ukrainian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and it received autonomy on October 27, 1990. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers itself the descendant of the Orthodox Church of Kiev and all Rus' in Ukraine, claiming a direct lineage to the original Baptism of Rus' by St. Vladimir (Volodymyr) in 988. The Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan) was enthroned in 1992 as the head of the UOC under the title Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, the 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 thousand. The UOC also claims to have up to 75% of the Ukrainian population [2]. Independent surveys show significant variance. According to Stratfor more than 50 % of Ukrainian population belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarch. [3]. Razumkov Centre survey results, however, tend to show greater adherence to the rival Kiev Patriarchy [4]. Many Orthodox Ukrainians do not clearly self-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 impossibility to use the 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.

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% 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%. 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 Ukraine and claims to have up to 35 million adherents. The UOC (MP) officially regards other Orthodox churches of Ukraine to be "schismatic nationalist organizations" whose claims to represent Orthodoxy are canonically invalid.

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.[5]


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) insists on its name being just the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,[6] stating that it is the sole canonic body of Orthodox Christians in the country,[6] 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.[7]

In mass media and in academic literature it is often referred to, as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) or UOC (MP)[8][9][10] in order to distinguish between the two rival churches contesting the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitans of Kiev and All Ukraine

The first Metropolitan of Kiev was the Holy Hierarch Michael from 988 to 992. Since that time and before 1917 when the Church became persecuted, there were 80 different leaders of the Church. Here is the list of the latest Metropolitans since the persecution of the Church and then the independence of Ukraine.

  • Hieromartyr Volodymyr (Bohoyavlenskyi) 1915 - 1918
  • Metropolitan Antonius (Khrapovytskyi) 1918 - 1919
  • Archbishop Nazariy (Blinov) 1919-1921
  • Metropolitan Michael (Yermakov) 1921 - 1925
  • Bishop Sergei (Kumynskyi) 1925 - 1930
  • Archbishop Demetrius (Verbytskyi) 1930 - 1932
  • Archbishop Sergei (Hrishyn) 1932 - 1934
  • Metropolitan Kostiantyn (Dyakov) 1934 - 1937
  • Archbishop Alexander (Petrovskyi) 1937 - 1938
  • Metropolitan Nikolaus (Yarushevych) 1941 - 1944
  • Metropolitan Johann (Sokolov) 1944 - 1964
  • Metropolitan Joasoph (Leliukhin) 1964 - 1966
  • Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko) 1966 - 1992
  • His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) 1992 - present

See also


External links



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