Andriy Fert is a PhD candidate at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine).
As tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border grew, the difference between the two main Orthodox churches in Ukraine became clearer. While the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) spoke straightforwardly about the prospect of the Russian invasion and urged believers to protect their Homeland, the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) remained silent up until recently. Several UOC-MP public figures and media outlets repeatedly dismissed the prospect of invasion as “hysteria” and accused the OCU of spreading panic in the interest of the West.
Prayers for the Ukrainian Army
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)—a relatively new religious entity that came into being in late 2018—was among the first religious institutions to call on believers to pray for victory and the Ukrainian army. As early as December 2021, the OCU’s Zakarpatya Diocese, located near Hungary, proclaimed 2022 “a year of intense prayer for the Ukrainian army” in light of the Russian military build-up on the border.