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Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church
(Moscow Patriarchate)

The 11th century Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev.
Founder Apostle Andrew; St. Vladimir
Independence 1990
Recognition 1990
Primate Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan)
Headquarters Kiev, Ukraine
Territory Ukraine
Language Church Slavonic, Ukrainian
Adherents 16.4 % out of 41.2 % that clearly defined their church allegiance[1]
Website Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква; Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь) is an autonomous Church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine, under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is often referred to as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква (Московського Патріархату); Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь (Московского Патриархата) and is one of the major Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and it is the only one whose canonical status is recognized by the whole Eastern Orthodox communion.


Before taking the formal title of Ukrainian Orthodox Church it was formerly the Ukrainian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and only it received autonomy (a status one step short of full autocephaly) on October 27, 1990. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers the descendant of the Orthodox Church of Kiev and all Rus' in Ukraine, claiming a direct lineage to the original Baptism of Rus' by St. Vladimir (Volodymyr) in 988. The Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan) is enthroned since 1992 as the head of the UOC under the title Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, the with the official residency in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, which also houses all of the Church's administration.

The church is currently the only Ukrainian church to have full canonical standing in Eastern Orthodoxy, and operates in full communion with the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. It also owns a larger percentage of Orthodox church buildings in Ukraine and is the predominant orthodox sect in eastern, central and southern Ukraine.

As of 2006 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had the allegiance of 10,875 registered religious communities in Ukraine (approximately 68 percent of all Orthodox Christian communities in the country), located mostly in central, eastern and southern regions and claims to be the largest religious body in Ukraine. However, recent study by the Razumkov Centre refuted these statements and gave a significantly larger number of adherents to the Kiev Patriarchy. Officially UOC (MP) claims to have up to 35 million followers, the study puts the number closer to 7 million (see infobox). The UOC (MP) officially regards other Orthodox churches of Ukraine to be "schismatic nationalist organizations" whose claims to represent Orthodoxy are canonically invalid, although these statements neglect the fact that the Moscow Patriarchy was in the same situation in the 15th century.

The Church currently has 42 dioceses, with 58 bishops (diocesan - 42; vicar - 12; retired - 4; with them being classified as: metropolitans - 10; archbishops - 21; or bishops - 26). There is also 8516 priests, and 443 deacons.[2]


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) insists on its name being just the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,[3] stating that it is the sole canonic body of Orthodox Christians in the country,[3] a Ukrainian "local church" (Ukrainian: Помісна Церква), a claim fiercely contested by her non-canonic rivals. It is also the name that it is registered under in the State Committee of Ukraine in Religious Affairs.[4]

In mass media and in academic literature it is often referred to, as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) or UOC (MP)[5][6][7] in order to distinguish between the two rival churches contesting the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitans of Kiev and All Ukraine

The first Metropolitan of Kiev was the Holy Hierarch Michael from 988 to 992. Since that time and before 1917 when the Church became persecuted, there were 80 different leaders of the Church. Here is the list of the latest Metropolitans since the persecution of the Church and then the independence of Ukraine.

  • Hieromartyr Volodymyr (Bohoyavlenskyi) 1915 - 1918
  • Metropolitan Antonius (Khrapovytskyi) 1918 - 1919
  • Archbishop Nazariy (Blinov) 1919-1921
  • Metropolitan Michael (Yermakov) 1921 - 1925
  • Bishop Sergei (Kumynskyi) 1925 - 1930
  • Archbishop Demetrius (Verbytskyi) 1930 - 1932
  • Archbishop Sergei (Hrishyn) 1932 - 1934
  • Metropolitan Kostiantyn (Dyakov) 1934 - 1937
  • Archbishop Alexander (Petrovskyi) 1937 - 1938
  • Metropolitan Nikolaus (Yarushevych) 1941 - 1944
  • Metropolitan Johann (Sokolov) 1944 - 1964
  • Metropolitan Joasoph (Leliukhin) 1964 - 1966
  • Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko) 1966 - 1992
  • His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) 1992 - present

See also


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