Religion in Ukraine

Dix Newell and Ryan Andersen

Ukraine does not declare an official state religion. The majority of Ukrainians identify with Orthodox Christianity under either the Moscow or Kiev Patriarchate.  Eight to ten percent of Ukraine adheres to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Prominent religious organizations include various Protestant churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and Muslim and Jewish congregations.  Ukraine’s Muslim population is approximately 500,000, although Muslim leaders claim a following closer to two million.  Approximately eleven percent of Ukrainians do not identify with any religious group.

Because of the strong majority of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches, minority religions in Ukraine struggle to overcome obstacles like obtaining legal registration, securing building permits, and gaining visas for foreign representatives.  Minority religions often experience hurdles while the State shows favoritism towards Orthodox Christianity. 

Beyond these restrictions, however, Ukraine generally respects religious freedom. An individual’s freedom to change religion or worship is usually respected. The Constitution protects individual religious freedom.  

The Constitution of Ukraine  clearly establishes religious freedom as a fundamental human right. Several Articles from the Constitution not only establish these religious freedoms and basic rights, but they also establish the expected role of the government in terms of its relationships with religious organizations. 

For more, please see Ukraine: Law and Religion Framework Overview (updated 2014).