Expert: UOC can claim the "national Church" title

Religious procession in Kyiv. Photo: UOJ

Scholar Sergei Bortnik found out that the number of UOC parishes is several times higher than the number of OCU parishes in most regions of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the most numerous confession in Ukraine, said the professor of the Kyiv Theological Academy Sergei Bortnik, having analyzed the summary data on the confessions of the "Kiev Tradition" as of 01.01.2020.

The scholar noted that the data of the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience contradict the opinion about the superior popularity of the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine".

He noted that in most regions (this also includes two regions of Western Ukraine – Transcarpathian and Chernivtsi), the number of parishes of the UOC is several times higher than the number of parishes of the OCU.

“The record holder here is precisely the Transcarpathian region, where the number of religious organizations of the UOC is 17.6 times higher than the number of religious organizations of the OCU,” he wrote, adding that relative parity exists only in Volyn.

“It is also interesting that according to the official data of state statistics, the number of OCU communities is only 75% of those declared by the leadership of this church, whereas in the UOC this figure is 90%,” Bortnik emphasized.

According to the theologian, statistical data illustrate that it is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that can claim the status of a “national Church”.

Bortnik also noted that the data of opinion polls indicate a significant difference in the confessional self-identification of citizens with the existing network of religious organizations in Ukraine.

“On the one hand, these differences explain the reasons for the aspirations of legislative restrictions on the UOC, and on the other hand, they create the prerequisites for resistance to this process by the UOC, which generally determines the conflict nature of this sphere today,” the scholar concluded.

Earlier, the spokesman of the OCU Eustratiy Zoria responded to the remark that there are "usually more priests than parishioners in his cathedral."

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