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One-Third Of Ukrainians Say They Belong To Church Independent Of Moscow

Metropolitan Epifaniy, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine
Metropolitan Epifaniy, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine

More than one-third (34 percent) of Ukrainians identify with the newly created independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), a poll found conducted by the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center think tank and published on February 3.

About 14 percent of the public called themselves faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the survey on the confessional and church affiliation of Ukrainian citizens said.

An additional 8.2 percent said they belong to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

More than a quarter of respondents, or 27.6 percent, said they were Orthodox Christians but don’t affiliate with a particular branch of church.

In January, Metropolitan Epifaniy, the head of the OCU, said some 600 parishes in Ukraine aligned with the Moscow patriarchate had in one year switched over to the newly formed church.

The UOC-MP doesn’t recognize and opposes the OCU, which was granted independence in January 2019 by the patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul.

The move heralded a historic break from and ended more than 300 years of control by Moscow.

The OCU now registers 7,000 parishes, 77 monasteries, and 47 dioceses, or ecclesiastical districts.

In addition to the patriarchate of Constantinople, the OCU has been recognized by the Greek Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

The UOC-MP boasts 12,300 registered church communities, a figure that religious experts say is inflated and which in actuality numbers between 9,000 and 10,000 parishes.

The survey was conducted on January 17-21 with a sample size of 2,000 respondents aged 18 and over who were questioned in all the regions of Ukraine except for occupied Crimea and areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that the government doesn’t control.

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