Ukrainian church loses trust among population


Eastern Europe


The Ukrainian church has lost trust, says a poll. Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

The Ukrainian church is the only official institution that has lost trust since the Russian invasion. It went down from 51 per cent last year to 44 per cent this year.

This is the result of a survey done by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). The church has the tenth place among 14 institutions mentioned in the poll. The survey just spoke about “the church”; it did not distinguish between denominations.

In Ukraine, around 70 per cent of the more than 41 million inhabitants profess Orthodox Christianity. However, they belong to two churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC, canonically linked to the Moscow Patriarchate in Russia) and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). Around 10 per cent of the population belongs to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC).


According to the survey, the armed forces are at the top of the confidence scale with 96 per cent (that was 72 per cent last year). President Volodymyr Zelensky is also held in high esteem, with 84 per cent. Zelensky gained no less than 57 points compared to the 2021 survey.

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Diagram with the trust results of Ukrainian social institutions. Screenshot from kiis.com

Ukrainians have relatively little trust in parliament (35 per cent), the courts (25 per cent) and prosecutors (21 per cent). In last place are Russian media (1 per cent). Almost 1,000 adults were surveyed in all regions of the country – except for the areas occupied by Russian troops.

Open letter

Meanwhile, there is a debate in Ukraine about a possible ban on the UOC. This church should threaten Ukraine’s security because of its link with Russia. The Ukrainian church tried to cut this connection last May by removing all the references to the patriarchate. But in Moscow, the statutes still mention the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as one of the connected churches.

In an open letter, a group of church members and some clergy members ask the Holy Synod of the church to confirm that the UOC is fully independent indeed.


On the website of the Ukrainian government, a petition was launched this weekend with the request not to ban the UOC, the Union of Orthodox Journalists report.

The authors of the petition “Do not ban the UOC” note that they fully support the need to investigate each case of collaboration and bring it to justice following the current legislation of Ukraine if the person’s guilt is proven. “However, we consider it impossible to attribute the crimes of individual citizens to the entire ramified institution, which is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and on this basis, resort to its legal prohibition. Yes, the UOC unites people with different views. Still, for the most part, we all want our country to win this war and restore its territorial integrity,” the petition says.



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