Which Orthodox Church Represents Ukraine?
There are two branches of the Orthodox Church: the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Both have significant significance in Ukrainian society. However, there are some differences between the two. The Russian Orthodox Church is more popular in Ukrainian culture than the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This article will look at the differences between these two branches.
Russian Orthodox Church
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers itself the sole descendant of Kyiv. The church was established by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 10th century and later expanded to the cities of Kiev and Vladimir. Its seat later moved to Halych, but in 1405 the Grand Duke of Lithuania tried to reassert Kyiv as its metropolis.
The church issue is an ongoing landmine in Russian-Ukrainian relations and has the potential to explode at any time if the Kremlin wishes. The Russian Orthodox Church’s supporters will likely try to prevent Ukraine’s Ukrainian Orthodox churches from switching their allegiance and could interfere in other disputes. There is a high risk of clashes, especially as the atmosphere is still heated.
The Russian Orthodox Church is in a tough situation right now. Its leaders must decide how to act. A potential solution is to avoid letting Russia’s stance become a distraction. They can help the Kremlin out by providing ballast. However, it’s hardly clear if Moscow will do so.
The ROC’s support in Ukraine has fluctuated over time. Its highest level of support was recorded in 2000 and steadily climbed. Meanwhile, the lowest support was shown in 2010 and continued to drop. The ROC’s influence shifted depending on who was in charge of the state and church, and the state’s relationship with Russia.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is an autonomous Church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is one of the most significant Orthodox churches in the country, and is the only one whose canonical status is recognized by the whole Eastern Christian communion.
Ukraine’s Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the largest church in Ukraine, with nearly 12,500 parishes. A recent poll found that 45.2 percent of Orthodox in Ukraine claimed allegiance to the Kyiv Patriarchate, while another 33.9 percent were “just Orthodox” and did not belong to a specific congregation.
The ROC views the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as arbitrary and a violation of Orthodox canons. It also notes that the ROC does not have the jurisdiction to impose its will on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
As the Ukraine’s armed forces advance, many Ukrainians have demanded the independence of their church. This demand has intensified after the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014. While many Ukrainian politicians blame the Moscow church for using Ukrainian parishes to support the hybrid war, the church has denied any involvement in the conflict.
The Russian Orthodox Church has made several attempts to impose their will in Ukraine. The Russian church has refused to eulogize the fallen Ukrainian soldiers, and many Ukrainians view the Russian church as an instrument of control.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Under German occupation, persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was less severe. During this time, Bp Bogdan, of Kiev, was elected to the episcopate and elevated to metropolitan status. The sobor of Allentown also elected three candidates to the episcopacy. However, the elevating process was not recognized by Constantinople, so the candidates were not consecrated. Bohdan’s reign was relatively short, and after 1957, his activity dwindled. While he still had some parishes under his jurisdiction, his influence began to wane as the UAOC gained more influence. He died on November 1, 1965.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has received recognition from four other autocephalous Orthodox churches. The two major rival expressions of Orthodoxy in Ukraine are related to the different historical visions of Russian and Ukrainian relations. The Moscow Patriarchate believes that the Ukrainians and Russians are one people and should be united under a single church.
Since the war began, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has sought to distance itself from its rival. Before the conflict, it claimed to have about 20 per cent of support in Ukraine. Thirty-three percent of its members called themselves “just Orthodox”. In recent opinion polls, it has been reported that just four percent of Ukrainians support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church adheres to Eastern Orthodox doctrine, including the sacraments, the veneration of icons, and prayer to the “Mother of God” and saints. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church teaches a grace-plus-works road to salvation. This is a false teaching, since the Bible clearly states that salvation is all grace.