Author Topic: GÇ£Religion and the Church in Contemporary UkraineGÇ¥  (Read 942 times)

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Offline Deacon Lance

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From November 5 to 21, 2003 , the firm “Ukraine Sociology Service” at the request of Patriarchate of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church conducted a religious life survey covering all the regions of Ukraine , the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Kyiv and Sevastopol . Three thousand and seven (3007) Ukrainian citizens were surveyed, representing a cross sample of the Ukrainian population by sex, age, education, type of living accommodation and region.

The main task of the survey was to investigate the level of religiosity and the denominational/confessional structure of society, and also the attitude of the faithful of various denominations and religions to one another, to different canonical religious teachings, the problems of Church divisions and the unification of the Churches of the Kyivan Christian Tradition, ecumenical movements, the religious needs of the faithful, the attitude of the state authorities towards Churches and the faithful, the charitable activity of Churches and religious organizations, the study of religious subjects at schools and higher educational institutions, the authority of religious leaders etc. A through analysis of the collected results will require time and its materials can not be presented in one single press release.

The sociological research of religion in Ukraine in the last decade was sporadic and the methodology and techniques used insufficient. Most often results of empirical research of denominational and Church identification vary not by 2-3%, as in other spheres, but vary considerably. This situation is prevalent not only in semi-professional and local research, but also in national research conducted by leading sociological centers and institutes.

A considerable number of sociologists believe Ukraine to be a practically homogeneous Orthodox country.

Such significant divergences in the identification of the confessional and religious structure of the population and the assertion of absolute domination of the Orthodox faith in Ukraine, is the result not of errors in empirical measurement but erroneous methodological approaches that are based on the principles that the Ukrainian population is on a whole religious, that all faithful identify with a particular denomination and a non-varying approach to the denominational identification of nominal versus real believers. This produces erroneous conclusions concerning the structure of the population by faith and denomination, because it seeks to determine the religious structure of the population using one question: “What faith do you identify yourself with?” This question was placed to faithful and atheists, to faithful who have chosen a particular denomination and those who are still undecided.

Methodically, research must include the following stages of the religious growth of a person in order to determine the confessional structure of the Ukrainian population:

GÇó  Determine from among all citizens, those who believe in God.

GÇó  Determine from among those citizens who believe, those who belong to a religious community and those who not.

GÇó  Determine from among those citizens who believe, those who belong to a particular religious confession and those who not.

GÇó  Determine from among those citizens who believe, those who attend services at religious places of worship and those who do not (Churches, Buildings of Prayer, Synagogues, and Mosques etc.)

GÇó  Determine from among those citizens who attend services at religious places of worship the frequency of their attendance.

GÇó  Determine the denominational identification of Ukrainian citizens who believe, and who belong to a particular religion and denomination.

Only such a system of indicators used in this research of the adult population of Ukraine can determine the accurate confessional and religious structure of the population and its relation to the level of religiosity of its citizens.

The research conducted shows that close to 70% (69.6%) of citizens identify themselves as faithful , 16.1% - as atheists and 14.3% do not identify themselves with any faith. Of those seventy percent, 40.7% belong to a particular religious denomination/confession, and 29% do not belong.

Only 2/5 Ukrainian citizens were able to practically identify themselves with a particular confession. What are the most prevalent religious confessions in Ukraine ? The analysis of the investigation showed that the most numerous confessions in Ukraine are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) - 37% of all faithful who identified themselves with a particular confession (or 15.4% of Ukrainian adults), UOC of Kyiv Patriarchate - 28.7% ( 11.7% of adults) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - 18.6% (7.6% of adults).

In other words, the faithful of these Churches compose nearly 85% of those who believe in God and belong to a particular denomination/confession. Other Churches and religions do not hold more than 2% of those faithful who identify themselves with a denomination (or 1% of the population). At the same time, it must be emphasized that no denomination in Ukraine holds half of all the faithful and a sixth of Ukrainian adults . Ukraine is a multi-denominational state where no Church or religion is dominating . It is incorrect to associate the un-confessed faithful to an Orthodox direction of Christianity, as some researchers tend to do.
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