Ukrainians have a strong demand for activating the social role of the Church, - Razumkov Center Research
Today, the results of these studies are presented at the Round Table: "Features of religious and church-religious self-determination of Ukrainian citizens: trends of 2000-2020."
RISU summed up this study:
Throughout the entire research period, Ukrainian society demonstrates a fairly high level of religiosity.
During 2010-2020, the share of believers among adult citizens of Ukraine averaged 70%. At the same time, a 2014 study recorded an increase in the number of believers from 67% to 76% compared to the "prewar" 2013, which is typical for a society in a stressful situation. This indicator is still the highest in all the years of observation; in the future, it declined and now stands at 68% of respondents (from 88% of residents of the West of the country to 55% of residents of the South).
The level of religiosity depends on gender, age, place of residence (city/village), and level of education. Traditionally, the level of religiosity is higher in older age groups, compared to younger (in 2020: among 18-24-year-olds – 52% of believers, among those who are 60 and older – 76%), among women, compared to men (74% and 61%, respectively), among rural residents, compared to citizens (74% and 65%, respectively); in people with a lower level of education, compared to highly educated groups (among people with incomplete or full secondary education – 70%, among those who have incomplete higher or higher education-64%).
The West of the country is traditionally characterized by the highest level of religiosity, the South and East – the lowest, and the self-determination of residents of the South and East in the religious sector has recently been characterized by instability, which probably reflects the general inconsistency of changes in the mass consciousness of these regions, which is observed after 2014.
The majority of Ukrainians identify with Orthodoxy (in 2020 – 62%); the number of followers of Greek Catholicism (10%), as well as "just Christians" (9%), is significant. Other faiths and religious trends (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, etc.) are represented by a much smaller number of adherents. The number of those who do not belong to any of the faiths remains approximately the same (in 2020 – 15%, as in 2000).
The largest number of Orthodox Christians is typical for the central region (in 2020 – 70%), the South (65%) and the East (65%), while in the West their share is only 46%; but a significant part of Westerners consider themselves Greek Catholicism (in 2020-38%).
The majority of citizens expressed the belief that religious faith does not provide for mandatory religious certainty. Now 65% (in 2000 – 64%) of respondents believe that "a person can just be a believer and not profess any particular religion." However, in the West, the majority (52%) of respondents supported the opinion that "a believer must necessarily profess a specific religion, and only 41% allowed the possibility of "just believing".
In 2018, the UOC-KP and UAOC merged into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), but soon the honorary Patriarch of the OCU Filaret proclaimed the renewal of the Kyiv Patriarchate-which was supported by individual bishops and groups of believers of the UOC-KP. As a result, with two legally recognized Orthodox Churches – the OCU and the UOC-MP – de facto we have three churches, including the UOC-KP.
According to the results of a 2020 study, the UOC-KP has lost most of its faithful: so far, only about 4% of Orthodox Christians, or 2% of citizens in general, have recognized themselves as supporters of this Church.
Instead, the number of OCU believers increased from 20% of Orthodox Christians in 2019 to 30% (or from 13% to 19% of respondents in general, respectively). At the same time, we should note a certain increase in the number of believers of the UOC-MP, which included 22% of Orthodox Christians (against 16% in 2019), or 14% (against 11%) of respondents in general. The growth in the number of believers of the UOC-MP is recorded for the first time since 2010.
Attitude towards the Tomos of autocephaly:
• 33% of respondents expressed support (from 65% of westerners to 11% of easterners, 77% of UGCC believers to 10% of those who do not belong to any religion, among OCU believers the corresponding indicator is 62%); *
• Only 17% of respondents do not support the provision of the Tomos by Constantinople; 50% are indifferent to this event or have not decided on their attitude to it.
The fact that the Ukrainian Church as one of the largest Orthodox Churches has the right to autocephaly was agreed by 4.4% of respondents (from 72% of westerners to 21% of easterners; from 83% of UGCC believers to 20% of those who do not belong to any religion); only 15% did not agree with the statement (from 20% of easterners to 4% of westerners, from 16% of "just Orthodox" and "just Christians" to 34% of UOC-MP believers).
Attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate
Simultaneously, the majority (53%) of respondents disagree that the Ukrainian Church should remain part of the Moscow Patriarchate (from 77% of westerners to 24% of easterners; from 95% of UGCC believers to 19% of UOC – MP); only 16% agree with this statement (from 28% of easterners to 7% of westerners; from 58% of UOC – MP believers to 2% of UGCC). Almost a third (31%) of respondents are undecided on this issue.
Religiosity in regions
Among the faithful of the UGCC, 60% attested to being members in the community, 26% of the faithful of the UOC-MP, and only 19% of the faithful of the OCU did the same. 2% of "just Christians" also identified themselves as members of religious communities.
The vast majority of believers in each of the Churches are concentrated in one or two of them.
• 95% of UGCC believers are residents of the West of the country; 5% are residents of the central part; less than 1% are residents of the East;
• 80% of OCU believers are concentrated in two regions – in the central part (48%) and in the West (31%); 12% of believers of this Church are residents of the South; 9% - of the East;
• 71% of believers of the UOC (MP) are residents of the East (37%) and center (35%); 22% are westerners; 7% are southerners.
On the importance of religion in life
57% of respondents consider religion important in everyday life; 37% do not, and only 6% are undecided on this issue. In the list of 17 life values, religion consistently occupies one of the last places (in the range of 11-13, in 2020 – the 13th position);
• the importance of raising religiosity in children in the family was noted by only 14% of respondents
• while in 2000, 49% of respondents attended the religious services and assemblies, and 51% did not attend them. Further, the majority of respondents reported visiting services (in 2020 – 53%: from 84% of westerners to 33% of southerners, from 98% of UGCC believers to 6% of those who do not belong to any religion), 47% of respondents did not attend services in 2020 (from 67% of southerners to 16% of westerners). At the same time, only 27% of those who admit attending religious services and meetings regularly, at least once a week (from 46% in the West to 15-16% in other regions; from 53% of UGCC believers to 7-8% of "just Christians" and "just Orthodox"). The relative majority (47%) of those who attend services attend meetings only on religious holidays. In the West of the country, there are only 24% of them, while in the other three regions they range from 58% to 68%. The lowest number of those who give such an answer is among the faithful of the UGCC (17%).
Compared to other groups of people who have assigned themselves to a particular church, the UGCC faithful are the most consistent in recognizing religion as a vital value and fulfilling the norms of religious practice.
• 87% of those who recognize religion as a vital value (against 73% of the OCU and 74% of the UOC (MP));
• 98% attend religious services and meetings (against 70% of the UOC (MP) and 75% of the OCU), and 53% do so at least once a week (on the backdrop of 23% of the faithful of the OCU and 26% of the UOC (MP));
• 90% were brought up at home in a religious spirit (against 44% of the UOC (MP) and 47% of the OCU);
• 55% believe that a believer must necessarily profess a certain religion (against 34% of believers of the OCU and 39% of the UOC-MP).
During the monitoring period, Ukrainian society demonstrated a virtually stable and fairly high level of tolerance to the practice of various religions.
The national orientation of religion
Among the faithful of the UGCC, supporters of the national orientation of the Church and religion make up the majority (66%), among the faithful of the OCU – a relative majority (48%), then among other groups, based on confessional and ecclesiastical certainty, supporters of this thesis are in the minority (from 26% of believers of the UOC(MP) to 18% of those who do not affiliate with any religion.
Public trust in the Church. There is a demand to activate the social role of the Church
The Church continues to hold one of the first positions in terms of public trust among public and political institutions (along with volunteer organizations and the Armed Forces). At the same time, compared to 2010, when the level of public trust in the Church reached a maximum (73%), now this figure is lower – 60%. While in the western region 83% of respondents trust the Church (the level of religiosity is 88%), in the eastern region they make only 47% (the level of religiosity is 61%). In all regions, the number of those who trust the Church exceeds the number of those who do not trust it (however, in the East, 37% do not trust the Church). At the same time, attention is drawn to the rather noticeable (22%) number of those who could not decide on this issue in the South of the country.
Trust in the hierarchs of the Churches of Ukraine and churches directly involved in the religious and ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine.
The level of trust in hierarchs in all cases is dominated by distrust (with the exception of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow 13).
The head of the OCU, Metropolitan Epifaniy, enjoys the trust of 44% of the citizens (on the backdrop of 16% who do not);
Primate of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Onufriy enjoys the trust of 32% (against 26%);
Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav has 29% (against 16%);
the share of those who trust Patriarch Filaret is only slightly higher than the percentage of those who mistrust him (29% and 25%, respectively).
32% of respondents showed confidence in Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; 16% showed distrust.
The level of trust in Pope Francis is high – 45% against 14% of those who do not trust him.
The high and stable level of trust in the Church is at odds with the level of its recognition as a moral authority. The corresponding indicator during 2010-2020 decreased from 56% to 45% of respondents; 40% do not consider the Church a moral authority (against 27% in 2010). The positions of citizens on this issue are regional in nature and depend on the confessional-ecclesiastical certainty of respondents: the Church is a moral authority for 77% of westerners and only for 27% of southerners and for 23% of easterners; on confessional-ecclesiastical grounds: it is a moral authority for 87% of UGCC believers (the highest indicator) and for 4% of those who do not belong to any religion (the lowest indicator).
The attitude of citizens to the morality of clergymen is more critical. Only 20% of respondents (in 2010 – 26%) expressed confidence that "the majority of clergymen are deeply moral and spiritual persons": from 25% of westerners to 14% of easterners; at the same time, this figure is almost the same for faithful churches: for the UOC (MP) it is 33%, 29% for the OCU, and 26% of believers of the UGCC.
The number of those who support the principle of separation of Church from State and of school from Church has increased, as well as the number of those who disagree with the teaching of religion in general education schools.
Separation is supported by 41%, while 28% of respondents do not support it.
One can observe a steady deterioration in the attitude of citizens to the public demonstration of religiosity by statesmen of Ukraine.
The public's request to increase the social activity of the church and religious figures remains relevant. The overwhelming majority (78%) of respondents believe that "religious figures should stand up for the protection of the poorest strata of citizens if the authorities make decisions that reduce the standard of living of the population."
During the entire monitoring period, the majority of citizens note the positive impact of religion on certain aspects of public life.18% of citizens demonstrate a request for a critical position of the Church in relation to the authorities, which additionally indicates in favor of the above thesis about the request to activate the social role of the Church and to protect the poor and destitute.