|Ukrainian Orthodox Church|
|Supreme Governor||Patriarch Kirill|
|Polity||Russian Orthodox Church|
|Bishops||97 (53 governing)|
|Language||Church Slavonic, Ukrainian, Romanian|
|Headquarters||Kyiv Pechersk Lavra|
Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (under construction since 2007)
|Origin||1990 (self-rule within the Moscow Patriarchate)|
|Recognition||Recognized by majority of canonical Orthodox Churches as a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church (no longer recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Church of Greece, and Patriarchate of Alexandria)|
|Separations||Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate|
|Members||15.2% of the Ukrainian Orthodox population (January 2019, study by SOCIS)|
17.4% of religious population (by Razumkov Center, January 2015)
20.85% of religious population (by Ukrainian Sociology Service and Kucheriv democratic initiatives fund, December 2014 - January 2015)
|Official website||Ukrainian Orthodox Church|
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC; Ukrainian: ? , romanized: Ukrayins?ka Pravoslavna Tserkva; Russian: ? ?, romanized: Ukrainskaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov'), commonly referred to as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP, Russian: ? ? , -) is one of the "self-governing" churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, i.e. the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) (In the terminology of the current Statute of the ROC, a "self-governing Church" is distinguished from an "autonomous Church"). The ROC defines the UOC-MP as a "self-governing church with rights of wide autonomy".
Currently, the UOC-MP is one of the two major Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical bodies in modern Ukraine, alongside the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). The latter was established at the Unification Council held under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on 15 December 2019 and which council was not attended by the majority of the bishops of the UOC-MP. Since then, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople disputes the claims by the Moscow Patriarchate of its ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the territory of Ukraine.
The UOC-MP enjoys nearly full administrative independence from the ROC's Holy Synod. The Primate of the UOC-MP is the most senior permanent member of that synod and thus has a say in its decision-making in respect of the rest of the ROC throughout the world. Despite the de facto annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, the eparchies of the UOC-MP in Crimea continue to be administered by the UOC-MP.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) insists on its name being just the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, stating that it is the sole canonical body of Orthodox Christians in the country, a Ukrainian "local church" (Ukrainian: ? ).
It is also the name that it is registered under in the State Committee of Ukraine in Religious Affairs.
It is often referred to, as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) or UOC (MP) in order to distinguish between the two rival churches contesting the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Following the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, on December 20, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament voted to force the UOC-MP to rename itself in its mandatory state registration, its new name must have "the full name of the church to which it is subordinated". This was protested by UOC-MP adherents. On 11 December 2019 the Supreme Court of Ukraine allowed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to retain its name. The UOC-MP had argued that their governing center is in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, not in Russia's capital, Moscow, and therefore it should not be renamed.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers itself the sole descendant in modern Ukraine of the metropolis of Kyiv and all Rus' within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople established in Kyiv in the 10th century. Due to invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century the metropolitan seat was moved to Vladimir and later to Moscow, while in the Duchy of Halych and Volhynia was created a separate Metropolis of Halych with own Metropolitan. In the 14th century, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas who established his control over the former territories of Kyivan Rus attempted to move the metropolitan seat back to Kyiv.
In 1596, the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galich and all Rus' Michael Rohoza accepted the Union of Brest transforming dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople into the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under the Holy See's jurisdiction. In 1620, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Cyril Lucaris reestablished Orthodox dioceses for the Orthodox population of what was then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth -- under the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galicia, and all Russia Job Boretsky as the Patriarchal Exarch.
Following the transfer of the Cossack Hetmanate under the sovereignty of the Tsardom of Russia in 1654, the Kyivan metropolis in 1686 was transferred by the Patriarch Dionysius IV under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, following the election of Gedeon Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky as the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galicia, and all Russia with the help of the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Samoylovych. In late 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople indicated that information about that it transferred jurisdiction over Ukraine to Moscow Patriarchate is inaccurate as Constantinople temporarily provided Moscow with stewardship over the Ukrainian church. The Russian Orthodox Church retorted immediately by stating that the Constantinople's statement is false and further discussion and revision of historical archives needs to be conducted.
Soon, Gedeon gradually lost control of the dioceses which had been under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Kyiv. In January 1688, Gedeon's title was changed by Moscow to the ?Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galich, and Little Russia?. Gedeon's successors were effectively mere diocesan bishops under the Moscow Patriarchate and later Russia's Most Holy Synod.
Before the Battle of Poltava, when Ivan Mazepa sided with Carl XII, the new Metropolitan Ioasaf along with bishops of Chernigov and Pereyaslav was summoned by Peter the Great to Glukhov where they were ordered to declare an anathema onto Mazepa. After the battle of Poltava, in 1709 Metropolitan Ioasaf was exiled to Tver and in 1710 a church censorship was introduced to the Kyiv metropolia. In 1718 Metropolitan Ioasaf was arrested and dispatched to Saint Petersburg for interrogation where he died.
From 1718 to 1722, the Metropolitan See in Kyiv was vacant and ruled by the Kyiv Spiritual Consistory (under the authority of the Most Holy Synod); in 1722 it was occupied by Archbishop Varlaam.
In 1730, Archbishop Varlaam with all members of the Kyiv Spiritual Consistory were put on trial by the Privy Chancellery. After being convicted, Varlaam as a simple monk was exiled to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Vologda region where he served a sentence of imprisonment of 10 years. After the death of the Russian Empress Anna in 1740, Varlaam was allowed to return and recovered all his Archiereus titles. He however refused to accept back those titles and, after asked to be left in peace, moved to the Tikhvin Assumption Monastery. In 1750 Varlaam accepted the Great Schema under the name of Vasili and soon died in 1751.
In 1743, the title of Metropolitan was re-instated for Archbishop Raphael Zaborovsky.
Metropolitan Vladimir Bogoyavlensky chaired the All-Ukrainian Church Council that took a break between its sessions on 18 January 1918 and was to be resumed in May 1918. On 23-24 January 1918, the Red Guards of Reingold Berzin occupied Kyiv (see Ukrainian-Soviet War). In the evening of 25 January 1918, Metropolitan Vladimir was found dead between walls of the Old Pechersk Fortress beyond the Gates of All Saints, having been killed by unknown people.
In May 1918, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and Galich Antony Khrapovitsky was appointed to the Kyiv eparchy, a former candidate to become the Patriarch of Moscow at the Russian Local Council of 1917 and losing it to the Patriarch Tikhon. In July 1918 Metropolitan Antony became the head of the All-Ukrainian Church Council. Eventually he sided with the Russian White movement supporting the Denikin's forces of South Russia, while keeping the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych. After the defeat of the Whites and the exile of Antony, in 1919-21 the metropolitan seat was temporarily held by the bishop of Cherkasy Nazariy (also the native of Kazan). After the arrest of Nazariy by the Soviet authorities in 1921, the seat was provisionally held by the bishop of Grodno and newly elected Exarch of Ukraine Mikhail, a member of the Russian Black Hundreds nationalistic movement. After his arrest in 1923, the Kyiv eparchy was provisionally headed by various bishops of neighboring eparchies until 1927. After his return in 1927 Mikhail became the Metropolitan of Kyiv and Exarch of Ukraine until his death in 1929.
In 1945, after the integration of Zakarpattia Oblast into the USSR, eastern parts of the Eparchy of Muka?evo and Pre?ov were transferred from the supreme jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the jurisdiction of the Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and a new Eparchy of Mukachevo and Uzhgorod was formed.
Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), who succeeded Filaret (Denysenko), was enthroned in 1992 as the Primate of the UOC under the title Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, with the official residency in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, which also houses all of the Church's administration.
The UOC-MP, prior to 2019, was believed to be the largest religious body in Ukraine with the greatest number of parish churches and communities counting up to half of the total in Ukraine and totaling over 10,000. The UOC also claimed to have up to 75 percent of the Ukrainian population. Independent surveys showed significant variance. According to Stratfor, in 2008, more than 50 percent of Ukrainian population belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarch. Razumkov Centre survey results, however, tended to show greater adherence to the rival Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate. Many Orthodox Ukrainians do not clearly identify with a particular Orthodox jurisdiction and, sometimes, are even unaware of the affiliation of the parish they attend as well as of the controversy itself, which indicates the difficulty of using survey numbers as an indicator of a relative strength of the church. Additionally, the geographical factor plays a major role in the number of adherents, as the Ukrainian population tends to be more churchgoing in the western part of the country rather than in the UOC-MP's heartland in southern and eastern Ukraine. Politically, many in Ukraine see the UOC-MP as merely a puppet of the ROC and consequently a geopolitical tool of Russia, which have stridently opposed the consolidation and recognition of the independent OCU.
Since 2014 the church has come under attack for perceived anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian actions by its clergymen. On 14 September 2015 it urged the pro-Russian separatists of the War in Donbass to lay down their arms and take advantage of the amnesty promised to them in the Minsk II agreement. Ukraine passed laws which the Moscow Patriarchate interpreted as discriminatory in 2017. From 2014 until 2018 around 60 Moscow Patriarchate parishes switched to the Kyivan Patriarchate in transfers the leadership of the Moscow patriarchate says were illegal. According to the Razumkov Center, among the 27.8 million Ukrainian members of Orthodox churches, allegiance to the Kyiv Patriarchate grown from 12 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2016 and much of the growth came from believers who previously did not associate with either patriarchate. In April 2018 Moscow patriarchate had 12,300 parishes and the Kyivan Patriarchate 5,100 parishes.
By decision of the Russian Orthodox Church Bishops' Council (November 29-December 2, 2017), a separate chapter of the ROC Statute was singled out to confirm the status of UOC with the following provisions:
- 1) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is granted independence and self-governance according to the Resolution of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church which took place on October 25-27, 1990.
- 2) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is an independent and self-governed Church with broad autonomy rights.
- 3) In her life and work the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is guided by the Resolution of the 1990 Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the 1990 Deed of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Statute on the governance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In December 2017, the Security Service of Ukraine published classified documents revealing that the NKGB of the USSR and its units in the Union and autonomous republics, territories and regions were engaged in the selection of candidates for participation in the 1945 council that elected Patriarch Alexy I of Moscow from the representatives of the clergy and the laity. This included "persons who have religious authority among the clergy and believers, and at the same time checked for civic or patriotic work". A letter sent in September 1944 and signed by the head of the 2nd Directorate of the NKGB of the USSR Fedotov and the head of the Fifth Division 2nd Directorate of Karpov stated that "it is important to ensure that the number of nominated candidates is dominated by the agents of the NKGB, capable of holding the line that we need at the Council."
On 13 December 2018 a priest of the church, Volodymyr Maretsky, was sentenced in absentia to 6 years of imprisonment for hindering the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2014 during the War in Donbass. In November-December 2018, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carries out raids across the country targeting the UOC (MP) churches and priests.
On 20 December 2018, the Verkhovna Rada passed a legislation to change the UOC-MP's registered name. Ukrainian deputy Oleksandr Bryhynets described the law as stipulating if "the state is recognized as the aggressor state, the church whose administration is based in the aggressor state must have in its title the full name of the church to which it is subordinate". The Russian Orthodox Church, which the UOC-MP is part of, is based in Russia, which is considered by Ukraine as an aggressor state following the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The law also gave it "no right to be represented in military units on the front line". On 11 December 2019 the Supreme Court of Ukraine allowed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to retain its name.
In 2008 the Church had 42 eparchies, with 58 bishops (eparchial - 42; vicar - 12; retired - 4; with them being classified as: metropolitans - 10; archbishops - 21; or bishops - 26). There were also 8,516 priests, and 443 deacons.
Notwithstanding the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) kept control of its eparchies in Crimea. In January 2019 the head of the Information and Educational Department of the UOC-MP, Archbishop Clement, stated that "from the point of view of the church canon and the church system, Crimea is Ukrainian territory."
Note: in 1770 the office's jurisdiction was reduced to a diocese's administration as Metropolitan of Kyiv and Galicia. The autonomy was liquidated and the church was merged to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Due to emigration of Metropolitan Antony in 1919, until World War II Kyiv eparchy was often administered by provisional bishops. Also because of political situation in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church introduced a new title in its history as the Exarch of Ukraine that until 1941 was not necessary associated with the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych.