Less than 1/3 of Ukrainians support creation of Local Church, more than 1/2 believe it’s not a matter for gov’t

Kiev, June 28, 2018

Photo: dif.org.ua Photo: dif.org.ua

About 31% of Ukrainians support the creation of an autocephalous Local Church in Ukraine, and 20% are firmly against it, as evidenced by the results of a recent survey conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the sociological Razumkov Center, reports strana.ua.

The study showed that the rest of the population either does not care (35%), or they have no definite answer (14%). Even among religious people, 40% gave neither an affirmative nor negative answer.

The most support for the creation of an autocephalous Church comes from Western (58%) and Central Ukraine (35%).

The creation of an autocephalous Church is not supported in Southern (24% against, 9% for) and Eastern Ukraine (28% against, 10% for), or in Donbass (28% against, 18.5% for).

In addition to regional differences, confessional differences of course had an impact on answers given. Among supporters of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” whose “patriarch” champions the autocephaly cause, 45% support the creation of a Local Church, while 18% are against it. Among the faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Church, 23% support the move for a Local Church, while 40% oppose it.

Only 11% of the population believes the issue is relevant priority in their lives, while 23% believe it is irrelevant and that the creation of a Local Church would change nothing in their lives. Another 26% believe it would actually be harmful.

Additionally, 56.7% of respondents said that governmental authorities should not interfere in the matter of the creation a Local Church. Only 7% believe they should, and 17.1% believe the authorities can make efforts in that direction, but only as an aid to the independent efforts of the churches.

The nationwide survey was conducted from May 19 to 25 in all regions of Ukraine, except for the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Lugansk. 2019 respondents aged 18 and over were interviewed. The theoretical sampling error is 2.3%. The survey was funded by USAID and carried out by Pact.

Similar results were found in a Ukrainian Parliament-backed opinion poll in early 2017, where 32% of respondents agreed that a single Local Church is not needed because it would limit citizens’ rights to choose their confession. 24% were against this sentiment, while 44% were undecided.

However, the number that believes the government should not interfere in Church matters has risen. In 2017, the notion that the authorities and politicians should not interfere in Church matters was met with approval by only 36% of respondents (as opposed to this year’s 56.7%), and disapproval from 19%, with 46% undecided.

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