Ukrainians pray more often in times of war - survey results

27 May, 09:28
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The Razumkov Center, commissioned by ZN.UA, conducted a survey in April-May of this year. It showed that Ukrainians' religious beliefs are largely shaped by spoken tradition.

Source: ZN.UA

Katerina Schotkina writes about this in the article "War: How Ukrainians' Relationship with God and the Church Has Changed".

According to the survey, we primarily receive information about the Church directly from each other: 60.5% of respondents trust information about the Church obtained from friends and acquaintances, while only 7% do not trust such information. For comparison, 40% trust what the authorities say about the Church, and 18.7% trust secular media (31% do not trust them).

This means that when it comes to matters of faith and the Church, we prefer to rely on personal experiences and the agreement of our closest circles. While in many socio-political spheres, the ideal of solidarity within local communities has been undermined by information flows and mass migration to "social media bubbles," this trend has not affected religion and the Church significantly. Here, we still hold onto our roots and support one another, the author writes.

According to her, belief in God is growing and strengthening, as confirmed by the survey. Identification with a particular Church or at least a religious affiliation has become slightly more defined compared to the pre-war period and even the period of hybrid warfare: 89% of respondents associate themselves with some Church or religious denomination. However, the current survey also indicates that self-identification with the Church and church membership (belonging to a congregation) are not necessarily the same thing.

The ZN.UA survey also showed that the voice of the Churches is hardly heard: 63% of respondents do not receive information from church media (only 19% of respondents trust them).

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Prayer is the most popular religious practice among Ukrainians. Moreover, prayer is predominantly "private": 58% of respondents pray regularly (while 38% do not practice prayer). However, participation in communal church worship through prayer is practiced only occasionally by 34% (while 62% do not practice it).

With the beginning of the full-scale war, Ukrainians have noticeably started praying more frequently. According to a study conducted by KMIS in 2016, 44% of Ukrainians prayed. According to the "Social Monitoring" survey (2020), 38% of Ukrainians regularly (several times a week) practiced prayer. Sociologists noted a decrease in prayer activity, particularly during the period of the hybrid war from 2014 to 2022. However, the full-scale war has partially restored the popularity of this most accessible and intimate religious practice.

As mentioned, relationships with God among Ukrainians have always been predominantly private and remain so. Ukrainians traditionally perceive religion as part of their daily life, a family tradition, or as a deeply personal and intimate spiritual experience of communion with something or Someone higher. Or as a way to define their personal place within vast impersonal constructs - in culture, history, nationhood, and eternity.

The sociological study also revealed another trend - the Church has ceased to enjoy a high level of trust and has slipped to the 10th position in the ranking. The war has made its adjustments. The army now occupies the top position in terms of trust.

The sociological study was conducted by the Razumkov Center from April 28 to May 3, 2023. A total of 2,020 respondents aged 18 and above were surveyed, with a theoretical sampling error not exceeding 2.3%.