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ICC NOTE: The rivalry between the pro-Russian Ukrainian Orthodox church and the pro-Ukrainian Orthodox church has culminated in fears of an escalation in violence. Ukraine has seen a religious procession of the pro-Russian church emerge from near Donetsk, which has been the stronghold for pro-Russia separatists. That fact as well as the rumor the FSB is working from within a local monastery has placed fear within the hearts of the Ukrainian people and of the church. It has been a long held belief the Orthodox church of Russia and its connected affiliates have been a soft arm for the Russian government. While the animosity between the two separate churches is likely more of an ethic dispute, it is something to take note of for the future. 

7/29/2016 Kiev, Ukraine (Christian Today) – Controversy over a march to mark the anniversary of the conversion of Russia in AD 988 has highlighted the divisions in Ukrainian society following the loss of territory to its giant neighbour.

The event marks the adoption of Christianity in the early Slavic state Kievan Rus.

Both Russia and Ukraine predominantly Eastern Orthodox, but Ukraine has seen a bitter turf war between rival Orthodox Churches which reflects the two nations’ political divisions.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church of Patriarch Kirill, while the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate is identified with Ukrainian nationalism. A third grouping is the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. All emerged from the Russian Orthodox Church in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

According to a Pew Center study conducted in 2011, around 76.7 percent of the total Ukrainian population – some 30 million people – belong to the Eastern Orthodox churches.

In recent years the Kiev Patriarchate has been steadily growing, from 12 per cent in 2000 to 25 pe rcent in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate fell to 15 per cent during the same period.

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