A Survey of Major Religions in 21st Century Ukraine
Over 97% of the religious communities now registered in Ukraine are
Christian. About half of these communities are of the Orthodox tradition.
The other half is divided among Catholics and Protestants. According to
official terminology the three major Orthodox jurisdictions and the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church belong to the category "traditional
Churches." The Roman Catholic Church is considered an «historical Church.»
The ORTHODOX CHURCHES in Ukraine trace their history back to the beginning
of Christianity in Ukraine in 988, when St. Volodymyr the Great accepted
the Byzantine-Slavic rite of Christianity for his people. The disputes of
recent history have separated these groups, but they share a common
background and similar (Byzantine-Slavic) theological and liturgical
There are three major Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine:
* The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has 9049
communities, most of which are located in central and southeastern Ukraine.
* The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) has 2781
communities, of which about a third are in the central regions and about
10% in southeastern areas.
* The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) has 1015
communities; about 80% are located in western Ukraine.
The different CATHOLIC CHURCHES of Ukraine share full communion with the
Pope of Rome and with each other. Their historical backgrounds, however,
and theological and liturgical traditions are significantly different.
These Catholic Churches are Churches sui juris, they are in full and
visible communion with the Roman Apostolic See, but they have separate
eparchial (diocesan) structures, liturgical life, canonical order,
historical and cultural particularities and so on.
There are two major Catholic Churches represented in Ukraine:
* The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) has 3317 communities, the
vast majority of which are located in western Ukraine.
* The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) has 807 communities, of which more
than half are in the central regions.
The Armenian Catholic Church had a significant presence in Ukraine before
World War Two. It is now trying to form communities again.
The Armenian Apostolic Church has had a significant presence in Ukraine
since at least the 11th century. It is a pre-Chalcedonian Church, in
ecclesial communion neither with Eastern Orthodox of the Byzantine
Tradition nor with Catholics. It has 16 communities in various regions of
Protestant Churches and Communities
PROTESTANT CHURCHES AND COMMUNITIES have been present in Ukraine since the
times of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Their numbers and
varieties increased through the 19th and 20th centuries. And with Ukrainian
independence and freedom of conscience in 1991, they have taken a prominent
place in the Ukrainian religious scene.
* The Baptist Church was brought to Ukraine by German missionaries in
the 1860s and 1870s. It now has 2446 communities and is located throughout
* Pentecostals have been in Ukraine since before the First World War.
There are now 1622 communities located throughout Ukraine.
* Seventh-Day Adventists have been in Ukraine since the 1880s. They
now have 849 communities in various regions of Ukraine.
* The Sub-Carpathian Reformed Church began at the time of John Calvin
himself. It has 105 communities and is located in Transcarpathian
* The Lutheran Church has been in Ukraine since the 16th century. It
has 61 communities, generally located in major cities.
Other Major Faiths
OTHER MAJOR FAITHS have also been important throughout the history of
Ukraine and today still have a significant presence here.
* JEWS have been in Ukraine since the 4th century B.C. In the middle
ages large numbers of Jews came to the Slav lands, and Ukraine in
particular, and stayed and flourished. Though the Nazis murdered countless
Ukrainian Jews in the 1940s, the Jewish community has begun to revive with
the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are now 198 communities, located in
various regions of Ukraine.
* The main group of MUSLIMS in Ukraine is the Tatars. They have
inhabited the Crimean peninsula for over seven centuries. Forcibly deported
by Stalin en masse in 1944, many survivors and their descendants have
returned to independent Ukraine. There are now 391 Islamic communities and,
though the majority are in Crimea, there are now also communities in some
cities like Kyiv.
Non-traditional and New Religious Movements
NON-TRADITIONAL and NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS have also come to Ukraine. The
amount of communities and the amount of faithful of these groups are
The Jehovah's Witnesses have been in Ukraine since the first half of the
20th century. They have 655 communities, the majority of which are in the
western part of Ukraine.