Ukraine Divided Geographically on Autocephaly as It is on Many Other Issues
June 27 – A new poll finds that more than 30 percent of Ukrainians support autocephaly
for the Orthodox church in their country, while 20 percent oppose it, but those
nationwide figures conceal enormous differences between western Ukraine where people
are overwhelmingly in favor and the central and eastern where they are less supportive.
Ukraine, the poll carried out by the Kucheriv Democratic Initiative Foundation
and the Razumkov Center Sociological Service found that 58 percent support
independence for the Ukrainian church, a figure that fell to 35 percent in the
central part of the country, nine percent in the south, 10 percent in the east,
and 18.5 percent in the Donbass.
perhaps most striking given that this issue has agitated much of the Ukrainian
media and political space in recent months is that 35 percent of all Ukrainians
say they are indifferent to the issue, a figure that is approximately the same
as the share who support this change in the status of the church.
President Petro Poroshenko has said that Ukraine is close to receiving a tomos
of autocephaly from the Universal Patriarch in Constantinople, a development the
Ukrainian leader says is essential to the stability of Ukraine. Patriarch
Filaret, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate
says this could happen next month.