The Gospel According to Poroshenko: Politics, Religion, and the New Church of Ukraine

Nicolai N. Petro

Source: Yale Journal of International Affairs

April 15, 2019


Religious conflict in Ukraine has been much in the news of late, ever since President Petro Poroshenko very publicly embraced the ambitious idea of creating a single, unified Orthodox Christian church out of the country’s many Orthodox denominations. This idea, long dear to the hearts of Ukrainian nationalists, kept the issue on the front pages of the media in Ukraine, Russia, and other predominantly Orthodox countries for most of 2018.

Then, quite unexpectedly, he got his wish. On January 6, 2019, the Patriarch of Constantinople, primus inter pares among Orthodox Church hierarchs worldwide, granted Poroshenko a church document (tomos) designating the newly minted Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as the sole legitimate and independent Orthodox church in Ukraine. The question that many Orthodox Christians both in Ukraine and elsewhere are now asking themselves is, at what cost?

Poroshenko’s achievement has evoked conflicts within both Ukraine and the rest of the Orthodox world. While he has gained the backing of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the rest of the Orthodox world has taken a wait-and-see attitude since, in the tradition of Orthodox Christianity, the consequences of these actions will not become fully manifest until far into the future.

...Read the rest at Yale Journal of International Affairs.

Nicolai N. Petro


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