Lviv garrison church

Ukrainian soldiers visit the garrison church in Lviv. Photo: 

Opinion, Ukraine

The share of Ukrainians identifying as members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has fallen from 18 to four percent over the last year while the share of those saying they are followers of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has risen from 42 percent to 54 percent, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology says.

Those poll figures are a better measure of the relative standing of the Russian church and the autocephalous Ukrainian one than the number of parishes and bishoprics of the two, numbers that remain far closer and are regularly cited.

To be sure, some of this decline in the number of adherents to the Russian church reflects the fact that the survey could not be conducted in areas in the eastern portion of Ukraine now under the control of Russian aggressors. But the shift is still impressive and means that the autocephalous church is now vastly larger and more important in Ukraine than the Moscow one.

At the same time, the survey by the authoritative Kyiv polling agency found that the share of Ukrainians identifying as atheists rose over the past year from four percent to 17 percent, an apparent contradiction of the widely held view that there are no atheists in the foxholes of a country at war.

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