Staunton, Sept. 4 – Most assessments of the balance between the autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate are based on the number of parishes and bishoprics. But this overstates the influence of the latter because its parishes remain more numerous but are in almost all cases smaller.
Now, a poll of 5,000 Ukrainians by the Ukrainian Institute of the Future and the New Image Marketing Group provides a more accurate measure of the real size of the two churches in Ukraine (uifuture.org/publications/39-pravoslavnyh-ukrayincziv-ye-pryhozhanamy-pravoslavnoyi-czerkvy-ukrayiny-ta-16-pryhozhanamy-ukrayinskoyi-pravoslavnoyi-czerkvy-moskovskogo-patriarhatu/).
The survey found that 72 percent of Ukrainians identify as Orthodox Christians. Of these, 39 percent say they are parishioners of the autocephalous Ukrainian church, more than twice the 16 percent who say they are members of the Russian church which is subordinate to the Moscow patriarchate.
But at the same time, 43 percent said they were not members of any parish and therefore were not one on side or the other as this survey was intended to determine. Those attached to the Ukrainian church rather than the Russian one were a majority in all age groups. This dominance was greater in the West than in the East.
Significantly, the region where those not attached to either the Ukrainian or the Russian church was the Donbass, where 59 percent said they were independent. The region where this figure was the smallest was in the West, where only 23 percent said they weren’t attached to one church or the other.
Those who said they were unbelievers form 13 percent of the population, the second largest “denomination.” Eight percent said they were Greek Catholics, and two percent said they were members of Protestant denominations. One percent of Ukrainians are Roman Catholics, 0.34 percent are Muslims, and 0.2 percent are Jews.