Ukrainian Autocephaly, One Year On

Elizabeth A. Clark is Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Regional Advisor for Europe at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

In a moment that would have repercussions throughout the Orthodox world, on January 5, 2019, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officially recognized a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). An act that may seem like an obscure internal jurisdictional shift to outsiders, Patriarch Bartholomew’s grant of a Tomos of autocephaly (an ecclesiastical grant of independence) reflects and contributes to the highly politicized role that religion has played in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and contains the potential to dramatically change the role of religion in Ukrainian public life for years to come. Continue reading “Ukrainian Autocephaly, One Year On”

Religious Policies under President Zelensky

Dmytro Vovk is Director of the Centre for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and co-editor of Talk About: Law and Religion.

When Volodymyr Zelensky won the April 2019 presidential election, he became the sixth president of Ukraine, prevailing over his predecessor Petro Poroshenko by almost 50 percent.  To all Ukrainian presidents so far, religion has mattered greatly. After coming to power, these leaders develop their own model of church-state relations by favoring one or the other branch of the split Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For instance, President Poroshenko’s crucial support allowed for the creation and recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Due in large part to this support in context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, church-state relations have culminated in religion becoming an inalienable part of state policies and public discourse on national security. Continue reading “Religious Policies under President Zelensky”

A Year after the Tomos: The Moscow Patriarchate’s Narratives About the New Church and Itself

Andriy Fert is a Doctoral Student at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine)

For the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), it seems that the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) in 2018 was an unexpected gift, one that strengthened and united its ecclesiastical structure around one narrative—the narrative of persecution.

Two Bishops

On December 15, 2018, two active members of the so-called “pro-Ukrainian wing” of the UOC-MP, Metropolitans Olexandr and Symeon, officially left the Moscow Patriarchate and joined the OCU. Their departure, however, appears to be a relief for UOC-MP leadership. Continue reading “A Year after the Tomos: The Moscow Patriarchate’s Narratives About the New Church and Itself”