Proposed medical chaplaincy programme gains momentum in Ukraine


Eastern Europe


A Military chaplain prays together with Ukrainian soldiers in a shelter not far from their positions at a village not far from Izyum city of Kharkiv area, Ukraine. Currently, most of Ukraine's chaplains work on the battlefield. Photo EPA

Leaders from the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO) want to see chaplains working in the nation’s healthcare sector.

Entitled “On Chaplaincy in the Sphere of Health Care,” the draft law outlines requirements set out for chaplains that want to apply their expertise in the medical field, according to an inVictory report. The nation’s Commission on Social Ministry and the AUCCRO recently held a meeting to discuss the topic further.

Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the decision introduces a “holistic approach to medical care” that considers both the physical and psychosocial aspects of the patients, the report said.


Father Yaroslav Rokhman, Chairman of the Commission for Pastoral Health Affairs says that while the position may not be easy, the work will remain meaningful to sick patients.

“The priest’s erroneous vision was that he came to the sick man, prayed and left. Firstly, a chaplain is a shepherd who performs ministry, is close to staff at all levels, and works with patients and relatives. Communication with volunteers, donors, etc. is also important,” he said.


Sergei Ubogov, Doctor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a department head at the Ministry Health of Ukraine spoke about the requirements detailed in the legislation.

As for the qualifications, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in theological studies, and the degree must be from a state-approved institution, he says. From now and until 2026, candidates must also complete at least 400 hours of “specialised postgraduate training”. After undergoing training for the proposed program, the chaplains receive a certificate that allows them to work in the medical field.

Interfaith services

Talks regarding the chaplaincy in healthcare program began as early as 2021, according to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU). In the October meeting, they proposed creating a Code of Ethics for chaplains and launching a “clinical chaplain training programme”. Other topics included creating a set of regulations for medical chaplains and holding interfaith services in healthcare institutions.

In a previous CNE report, the Ukrainian National Qualifications Agency declared the chaplain title as an official profession in March 2023. The Agency wanted to create “professional standards” for the job and open opportunities for having them work in healthcare. In the article, the Ukrainian Health Ministry said that the new standards will be completed by February 2024 at the latest.



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