Religion has played and still is playing a significant role in the Ukrainian culture. So let’s talk today about what do Ukrainians believe in.
The majority (73%) of Ukrainians declare themselves as Eastern Orthodox.
9 % are Eastern Catholics, and 7% consider themselves irreligious.
There are fewer Roman Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jewish people, and Hindus.
Eastern Orthodox – 73%
In 988 AD, Ukraine became an Eastern Christian state following the Byzantine Empire example. But pagan beliefs were so strong that Christian traditions incorporated paganism in many moments. In many instances still, Ukrainians are very superstitious even today, which shows how long the memory of pagan religion remains.
Illinska church and bell tower, Eastern Orthodox temple in Subotiv, Cherkasy region
Among the Eastern Orthodox Ukrainians, 58 % attend The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, 25% go to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and
12 % says that they are just Orthodox.
Eastern Catholicism – 9%
The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church was created with the Union of Brest in 1595/1596. Byzantine missionaries such as Saints Cyril and Methodius exercised a decisive influence in the area: they spread the Cyrillic alphabet and the Christian culture.
The Eastern Rite Catholic Church remained the heart of Ukrainian national life under Austrian and later under Polish rule on the western Ukrainian lands.
There are also Greek Catholic churches in the places where Ukrainians migrated.
St. Georges Cathedral in Lviv. Greek Catholic Church
Irreligion – 7%
The spread of agnosticism and atheism in Ukraine is a more historically recent phenomenon that started when Ukraine joined the Soviet Union as one of its republics in 1922.
Since the Soviet Union collapsed, religion has made a comeback. Still, younger people are less likely to be religious in the modernized world and Ukraine in particular.
It has been present on Ukrainian lands since the 10th century. Roman Catholicism was present during the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; it was one of the Western European culture and science leaders in Ukraine.
During the Russian Empire and in the Soviet era, Latin Church was persecuted and worked underground. However, after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the Roman Catholic church resumed its official activities.
Roman Catholic Church of Saint Joseph in Pidhirtsi, Lviv
Judaism has a very long history in Ukraine, which can be traced back to before Eastern Orthodoxy. Hasidism as a Jewish theological and cultural tradition was mainly developed in Ukraine.
Ukraine has the fifth-largest Jewish community in Europe and the twelfth-largest Jewish community in the world. There is a growing trend among some Israelis to visit Ukraine on a “roots trip” to follow the footsteps of Jewish life there.
What is your religion? What congregation do your Ukrainian friends/relatives belong to?