News from Europe

President Zelensky banned activities related to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church


On 1 December Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had signed the decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC). This instructed the government to submit a bill "on the impossibility of religious organizations affiliated with the centres of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine" to the Verkhovna Rada.


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which represents the traditional branch of Christian Orthodoxy in Ukraine, was until May 2022 an autonomous church under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The situation changed when the UOC Holy Synod declared absolute independence and autonomy from the Moscow Patriarchate as it rejected Patriarch Kirill’s support of the war. Nonetheless, since the Moscow Patriarchate is a party to the UOC statutes, it is impossible to alter them unilaterally.

It is also important to note that in 2018 the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) split from the UOC as an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople but not by the Moscow Patriarchate, which de facto represented a schism inside the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Nowadays there is a growing number of parishes of the UOC switching to the OCU, and although the percentage of the population that each church represents is not clear, it seems that the UOC is still the largest, also taking into account the occupied parts of Ukraine.


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