St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv.

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv.

Essays Church independence as historical justice Politics of history explaining the meaning of the Tomos in Ukraine 2018–2019

This essay explores how the politics of history in the time of conflict between Russia and Ukraine empowered various actors of Ukrainian public life, from the president to religious leaders, to advocate for an independent Orthodox church as “long-awaited historical justice.” By deconstructing historical narratives employed in 2018–2019, it argues that church independence was placed within a broader context of decolonisation and overcoming the Soviet legacy.

Published in the printed edition of Baltic Worlds BW 2020:2-3, pp 74-83
Published on on October 8, 2020

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This essay explores how the politics of history in the time of conflict between Russia and Ukraine empowered various actors of Ukrainian public life, from the president to religious leaders, to advocate for an independent Orthodox church as “long-awaited historical justice.” By deconstructing historical narratives employed in 2018–2019, it argues that church independence was placed within a broader context of decolonisation and overcoming the Soviet legacy.

Keywords: Politics of history, Ukraine, orthodox church, Tomos

In 2014 Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea, and the war in the Donbas started. Russian propaganda emphasizing the common history of Ukrainians and Russians became a challenge to Ukrainian national security. In response, Ukraine officially employed a historical narrative describing Ukrainians as perpetual victims of and perpetual fighters against Russia, a people whose country was occupied first by the Russian Empire and then by the Soviet Union.

This narrative was claimed to be “genuine history”, which had been hidden until recently behind Russian and Soviet myths. Combating these myths became a trend in Ukrainian politics of history after 2014. One of the myths to be dismantled was that of the “common Orthodox Church” for Ukrainians and Russians. Back in the late 1980s, Ukraine had only one Orthodox church — the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), but with the collapse of the Union, some of its bishops and communities attempted to gain independence from Moscow and create a “national church.” This resulted in the schism which shaped the religious landscape of Ukraine from the 1990s on. Three churches emerged from this schism: the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate, the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Of these, only the Moscow Patriarchate was recognized by other Orthodox churches of the world as “canonical” — that is, legitimate. If we consider that in Ukraine, as in other Eastern European countries, national and religious identities are intertwined, the subordination of the Ukrainian Church to Moscow in the conditions of a military conflict with Russia looks like a threat to national security and “historical injustice” for many Ukrainians who call themselves Orthodox. As a result, public demands for canonical recognition of the local independent churches grew stronger over the years after 2014.

In 2018/2019 President Petro Poroshenko did his best to take advantage of this. He urged that the Ukrainian church must be independent from Moscow and started the campaign to make it happen and so fulfil “300 years of Ukrainian aspirations” and “restore historical justice.” He turned to the Patriarch of Constantinople, asking him to grant the Tomos of autocephaly (independence) from Moscow, and actively supported the creation of the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) in every possible way throughout that year.

In this essay I’d like to discuss how the public use of history under Poroshenko helped frame the pursuit of autocephaly as the restoration of historical justice. This is by no means a study about what actually happened in the 17th century when the Church metropolis of Kyiv became part of the Moscow Patriarchate, nor does it attempt to assess the historicity of historical facts pronounced by Poroshenko and other actors who propagated the same ideas. Again, it is not about what happened, but rather about how various institutions and talking heads in 2018/2019 described what had happened. So, this essay is about storytelling: how narrators build their story, what they include and what they exclude from it, the words they use, the parallels they draw.

To that end, I analyze speeches, publications produced by several governmental institutions (president, parliament, Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Ministry of Education), and news in the media, as well as materials prepared by various educational projects in the field of history. I also pay attention to what was said by pro-Tomos churches and religious scholars/historians involved in the process of advocating for the Tomos in the public space.

Stolen history

One of the central notions in Ukrainian politics of history after 2014 is that “our history” was stolen by Russia; once it was stolen, it was distorted in order to represent Ukraine as an inseparable part of Russia. The anti-Russian patriotic mobilization of 2014 gave birth to numerous state and civic initiatives, aimed at dismantling these distortions and “returning to the Ukrainian people its genuine historical memory.”

The most noticeable initiative in this regard was the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) — a governmental institution under the executive branch. In 2014 it was mandated to cleanse Ukrainian history from Soviet myths, and since then the UINM team has promoted narratives about the heroic struggle of Ukrainians against Soviets and done its best to expose Russian myths about Ukrainian history.

Even though UINM dedicated its efforts mostly to “liberation movements” of the 20th century, they started a trend among the various actors involved in church issues of claiming that “for ages the Russian Empire, and then the USSR, have tried to ‘steal’ or ‘privatize’ (not only) the history of Ukraine as a whole,” but also “the history of the Ukrainian Church”, as Vitalii Klos from Kyiv theological seminary put it.

“The ROC seeks to create a myth that the Metropolis of Kyiv is an invention of the late twentieth century, while that of Moscow has a thousand-year history,” argued, for instance, Taras Antoshevskyi, editor-in-chief of Religious Information Service of Ukraine.

The aim of this misrepresentation, according to another scholar, is quite simple — with the “Kyivan period of history” (between the 10th and 15th centuries) the Russian church looks older and thus more authoritative in the eyes of believers.

President Poroshenko, himself an active proponent of the “stolen history” narrative, addressed parliament in 2018, underscoring that “it was Ukrainians who first encountered ‘the light of the Christian faith, and only then did (they) share it with the Zalissia [area beyond the forest, borderlands of Kyivav Rus — AF], where the ancient princes of Kyiv had so recklessly founded Moscow’.” According to this logic, it is Ukraine that is older, not Russia, while the latter merely tries to appropriate Ukrainian history.

Moreover, as once again Taras Antoshevskyi pointed out, the Russian church itself unintentionally subscribed to this point of view, when “in 1948, it celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Moscow Metropolis.” So, as soon as Ukrainian church is recognized as independent, the theft of history will become apparent to everyone and “the history of the Russian Church will begin not with Kyivan Rus’ in the late ninth century but in 1448, the point at which it split from the Kyiv Metropolis,” said Filaret, head of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

Once that happened, the proponents of the “stolen history” narrative unanimously agree, Russian orthodoxy would become “500 years younger”, “Moscow’s most ancient conceptual claim to world hegemony” would fall apart, and so Russians would be forced to “think about what they could offer to the world, apart from what they stole from us.”

“Annexation of Kyiv Metropolis”

The “theft” of church history was made possible thanks to the narrative in which the Kyiv Church Metropolis itself was stolen by the Russian church. The transition of the Metropolis from Constantinople to Moscow’s rule in 1686 was repeatedly referred to as “loss of independence” or “annexation by Moscow” by various actors including the president and his advisers.

As early as in 2016, the Ukrainian Parliament turned to Bartholomew, patriarch of Constantinople, with a request for autocephaly for the Ukrainian church. In their appeal, members of parliament, in particular, argued:

On July 26, 2008, on your visit to our country to mark the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus, you, Your Holiness, in your appeal to the Ukrainian nation [clearly outlined (AF)] your attitude toward the act of 1686, or as you put it, “annexation of [the Ukrainian Church] to the Russian state”.

By placing the patriarch’s words in a radically new context in 2016, namely the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war with Russia, Ukrainian legislators drew a clear parallel between events of the 17th century and the current state of affairs: Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea in 2014; Russia annexed the Ukrainian church in 1686. These two historical injustices need to be corrected.

Subsequently, “annexation” took root in public discourse, so when in 2018 the Patriarch of Constantinople revoked the act of 1686 upon Ukrainian request, Ukrainian media by and large reported this news as “Constantinople called the annexation of the Ukrainian Church by Moscow illegal.” The same statement was repeated by church speakers and even by professional historians in their books.

The president himself applied the term “annexation” in regard to church issues, for instance in his opening speech at the council to establish the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a crucial symbolical milestone on the way toward autocephaly — in December 2018:

The Ecumenical Patriarch finally declared as illegal Moscow’s annexation of the Kyiv Metropolis in the late 17th century. His Holiness has declared that the Russian Orthodox Church has no canonical rights regarding the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and that our Orthodox Church should not be subject to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Strong emphasis on the word “annexation” was usually accompanied by a list of Moscow’s violations of Kyiv’s rights. The first violation was that the Russian Church misinterpreted the 1686 act of transition. As Radio Liberty pointed out in “Constantinople-Kyiv-Moscow. Chronology of Church Relations”, the Ukraine project aimed at explaining church history in the light of the Tomos negotiations:

Patriarch Dionysius of Constantinople issued a letter transferring his right to ordain the Kyiv Metropolitan to the Patriarch of Moscow. The letter specified the conditions of such transfer […] Moscow, however, interpreted this act as a complete transfer of the Kyiv Metropolis under its rule.

These conditions required Moscow to preserve Kyiv’s privileges, to allow local clerics to elect the Metropolitan and to let them commemorate the Patriarch of Constantinople before Moscow during worship services. All of them — as the participants of the international roundtable assembled by the Ministry of Culture, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the National Academy of Sciences, put it in February 2019 — “have been violated by the Moscow Patriarchate.”

In addition, the Moscow Patriarchate is represented as having acted illegally while seeking to place Kyiv under its power. For example, according to BBC Ukraine, Moscow ambassadors bribed the patriarch of Constantinople to make him sign the act of transition, and Moscow authorities appointed a new metropolitan to Kyiv even before Constantinople gave them this right. And so, “by intrigues and coercion the tsarist authorities incorporated the Kyiv Metropolis into the Moscow Patriarchate” — as authors from the Ministry of Education summed up in their materials about the Tomos for schools.

Apart from “gross violation of canons”, the annexation narrative sometimes drew parallels between church-state cooperation in Russia now and then. As Olexandr Sagan, a well-known expert on religion in Ukraine, stressed on several occasions, one of the “organizers of annexation” in the 17th century, Patriarch Joachim of Moscow, was a Reiter (cavalry officer in the Russian army at the time) before taking his monastic vows, who used to say “I am ready to fulfill and obey any orders of authority”. This portrayal of Joachim as a representative of the siloviki (military and security high-rankers in contemporary Russia), unquestionably loyal to the authorities in the 17th century, perfectly mirror the public image of the current Patriarch Kirill of Moscow as an FSB agent promoting the Kremlin’s agenda in Ukraine.

In such a way, the annexation narrative underscores that the Ukrainian church was “illegally annexed” in the 17th century with help of bribes, its rights were violated in many regards, but none of the initiators of annexation “survived five years after that event. All of them were punished by God.”

Subjugation and Russification replace independence and national traditions

In historical narratives that frame the struggle for the Tomos, the “annexation” of 1686 turned the “natural” path of Ukrainian development into the “wrong” direction. The Ukrainian Church before 1686 is represented as independent and self-governed with its own unique traditions — one can easily observe this in numerous TV programs broadcast throughout the nation in 2018/2019.

The brief explanation of the history of Ukrainian Orthodoxy on the TV channel 24 argued: “Since its foundation in 988, the Kyiv Metropolis had been autonomous and had well-developed self-governance. (Its head) obtained extremely powerful rights and privileges, but traditionally he modestly called himself Metropolitan.”

In a similar vein, the TV channel Priamyi, in its program about church history, admits that even though “Greeks sent from Constantinople were in charge of Kyiv Metropolis during the reign of Volodymyr, the situation changed with the accession to power of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. In 1051, Rus received the first Metropolitan of local origin — Hilarion. Metropolitan Hilarion left behind an important philosophical piece, ‘Sermon on Law and Grace’, which asserted the independence of Kyivan Rus and the Rus’ Church.”

Before 1686, the independent Ukrainian Church maintained “its own liturgy and its own traditions,” despite many difficulties, noted participants of the telethon “Unifying Council” on public broadcaster UA. Moscow itself broke away from this church in the mid-15th century.

Not only independence in self-government, but also what was called European orientation, was “natural” for the Ukrainian Church before 1686, according to this narrative. Over the whole period until 1686, Ukraine and its church are described as having been oriented toward Europe, just like modern Ukraine aspiring to the EU. President Poroshenko stated several times that “Prince Volodymyr’s decision to baptize Kyivan Rus (was) a genuine European choice”. And since contemporary Russia opposes Europe, by breaking away from the Russian church Ukrainians will be able to return “the true meaning to the baptism of Volodymyr.”

This European choice failed in 1686 when the Ukrainian Church was “annexed and occupied […] Millions of believers were deceived, the church that had been a connecting bridge with the Christian world was defrauded. Those clerics who had resisted the occupation were persecuted mercilessly,” as stated by the participants of the aforementioned international round table.

Soon after that, following the proponents of this narrative, the Metropolitan of Kyiv lost his power over the Ukrainian dioceses; moreover, the Metropolis itself became just another “ordinary diocese” within the Moscow Patriarchate.

As result, for a very long time Ukraine turned into a “Russian political and ecclesiastical colony”, which in its turn caused “the tragic processes of Russification and Ukrainian Orthodoxy’s loss of its uniqueness over the 18th and 19th centuries; any manifestations that did not conform to Russian church tradition were prohibited”, as the Ministry of Education outlined the situation in the materials about the Tomos for school teachers.

The emphasis on Russification is important to the narrative of “historical justice” which draws direct parallels between the past and the present. According to these logics, Russia had stolen history, and the church, and was now stealing the right of the local church to its own traditions and language. Perhaps, it is not a coincidence that, for example, the ICTV channel in its documentary “Tomos for Ukraine”, with the participation of the president, his adviser on church affairs Rostyslav Pavlenko, and the heads of the OCU, Epiphanius and Filaret, shows an excerpt from a history lesson devoted to Russification in the Kyiv theological seminary.

Similar emphasis on Russification was made by Father Vitalii Klos from Kyiv Seminary, who claimed that the empire:

[…] took away all that was most valuable, authentic, original. And [the Empire (AF)] gave back, I would say, something “hollow”, distorted — some substitutes to distribute, to make sure everyone knew them. As a result, a holistic concept of Russian history emerged, certain traditions spread that we had never had in Ukraine, and instead our Ukrainian traditions were banned.

Both state officials and churchmen of different ranks appeared to share the view that long ago in the 17th century the Ukrainian church was forced to take the “wrong” path, which eventually lead to Russification and loss of independence in favor of Moscow, and this “historical injustice” was framed in present-day phrases from the vocabulary of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The Russian church created by the KGB vs the Ukrainian church born of national revolution

What would a story be without a villain who looks authoritative, but in fact is a fraud? The Russian church not only stole Ukrainian history; it also falsified its own history to conceal the unpleasant details about state help in recognition of its patriarchal status and cooperation with godless communists. Throughout the entire period of the Tomos campaign and the emergence of the new autocephalous church, various actors in Ukraine exposed these two unpleasant details to undermine Moscow’s protests against Ukrainian autocephaly.

The story about how Moscow illegally split from Kyiv Metropolis in the 15th century and then, with help from the Grand Prince of Moscow, forced the patriarch of Constantinople to recognize its independence could not have been better designed to back up present-day Ukrainian state interference in the same business.

It is telling in this context that the report by 1+1 — one of the most influential Ukrainian TV broadcasters — came under the title “Bribes, intimidation and deceit: how historically “autocephaly” were granted to the Russian Church”, aired on January 6, 2019 — the day when OCU was granted autocephaly.

“Year 988 — Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv proclaims Orthodoxy the state religion of Kyivan Rus. In Moscow’s location at the time — only swamps,” states the reporter. “For five hundred years Kyiv remains the center of Orthodoxy from the east to the north.” Then the reporter introduces the fact that in the 15th century, Moscow itself split off from the Kyiv Metropolis, and no one recognized its independence at the time. And only:

[…] at the end of the 16th century Boris Godunov lures Patriarch Jeremiah II from Constantinople, promising him protection against the Ottomans. For six months Godunov holds Jeremiah in captivity, seeking his permission to establish the Moscow patriarchy. Under pressure, the patriarch agrees. In 1589, Moscow ambassadors give a bribe — countless [sorok sorokov — AF] fur coats and 200 gold coins for proclaiming the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the Russian Church do not receive the Tomos of autocephaly, only the letter proclaiming the Moscow Patriarchate.

On TV channel 24 there was also a program on the Tomos that rightly concluded, that “the Russian Church is the daughter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but for centuries it has claimed to have supreme ecclesiastical authority over the Ukrainian Church.”

Another unpleasant page in Russian church history as discussed in the narratives on the Tomos directed at the Ukrainian public is that the Russian church was created by Stalin and remains the last relic of the Soviet Union. It is argued that this church collaborated with the Soviets in suppressing Ukrainian national identity and culture. The associative link between the Russian Orthodox Church and the USSR is difficult to overestimate. The decommunization politics conducted by the UINM in 2015-19 has entrenched the view of the Soviet past with exclusively negative characteristics of a “criminal totalitarian regime”, moreover, the “Soviet” in public discourse has more and more often become equated with the “Russian” — and, therefore, something negative.

After the severe persecution of the church in the USSR in 1920–1930s, “Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dramatically changed his attitude to the church. He met with the remaining bishops and approved of their desire to elect a Patriarch… The restoration [of the Russian church took place] under the strict control of the Communist Party.” The ROC is presented as a means of suppression of other churches in Ukraine. Thus, it is stated that the “Stalin-created church” was used by the Soviets to liquidate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church after World War II, as well as to suppress the Ukrainian autocephalous movement — those few elements of the genuine “Ukrainian movement” in the USSR.

Similarly, Katerina Shchotkina, a well-known Ukrainian columnist covering church issues, reflected that “the ROC had been fully integrated into the USSR system. When the USSR collapsed, the ROC survived as did its structure.” This structure has apparently lost its “spirituality [by creating] projects like Novorossiya, ‘Russian World’ and Orthodox fascism, [and also proposing] the “canonization” of Vladimir Putin,” — as the UINM put it. With Russia-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine using Orthodoxy as a part of their ideology alongside the Soviet narratives of the “Great Patriotic War” and “fraternal peoples” to undermine Ukrainian independence, these arguments sounded pretty convincing.

So, while presenting the Tomos, President Poroshenko also emphasized the connection between the ROC and Stalin: “Let them demonstrate their (ROC) Tomos! Where’s their Tomos? Signed by Stalin? That’s how they started. This is the truth and they can’t hide it.”

Following up in his interview for “Focus” magazine, Poroshenko stated: “We hate the stereotype that we are part of the Soviet or Russian empire.” The ROC as “the Soviet Church”, according to this approach, is something that still keeps Ukrainians in the Soviet-Russian empire, so it could not be considered part of the Ukrainian national past. Just as the historical narratives set by decommunization focused on resistance to Soviet power, the president also promoted the episodes of the church’s resistance to the Soviets. For example, he mentioned several times the episode of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, which emerged thanks to the Ukrainian National Revolution of 1917-21 and was destroyed by the Bolsheviks.

The historical continuity of the newly established OCU with the church destroyed by the Bolsheviks was promoted by the president and the newly canonized Ukrainian church through symbolic gestures. On January 18, 2019, during his visit to Cherkasy, the President, together with the head of the OCU, Metropolitan Epiphaniy, unveiled a monument to the first head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church — Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivskiy (1864—1937). In his speech, he noted:

A Grand Design arose during the Ukrainian Revolution, when the government began the struggle for autocephaly of the Ukrainian church […] Vasyl Lypkivskiy with his like-minded clerics convened the First All-Ukrainian Church Council in Saint Sophia on October 14, 1921, [and proclaimed (AF)] autocephaly… Vasyl Lipkivskiy was elected Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, the first head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Moscow did not forgive Metropolitan Vasyl his efforts, his pro-state, pro-Ukrainian position, and his worship services in the Ukrainian language, and the 73-year-old bishop was shot on November 27, 1937 and buried in a nameless grave.

A slightly different pattern can be seen in the methodological materials of the UINM, prepared for schools in 2019. Dedicated to the centenary of the law “On the Higher Government of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”, these materials paid as much attention as possible to the church activities of the Directory, the Ukrainian national government during the revolution.

But the student who was expected to read them could encounter the following passage: “In early February 1919, the Directory left Kyiv. The Bolsheviks, who were in confrontation with (Moscow) Patriarch Tikhon, at first supported the development of the national church in Ukraine. In this atmosphere, the First All-Ukrainian Church Council took place in October 1921; it proclaimed the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and elected Vasyl Lypkivskiy as its head.”

Mentioning Bolsheviks supporting the UAOC was rather an exception from general trend. In public Bolsheviks usually entered the scene merely as destroyers of the Ukrainian church, never as its supporters.


When I told my friend that I was going to write an essay on how exactly the Tomos of autocephaly has become a “restoration of historical justice”, she nearly choked and asked warily, “Don’t tell me you doubt that the Tomos is a restoration of historical justice” Well, that is telling. The war with Russia turned the modern conflict back into the past, and therefore any conversation about the past becomes a conversation about the present.

Responding to the historical narratives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia about “fraternal peoples”, “the unity of the historical experience”, and “a common Orthodox culture”, Ukrainian actors created a narrative of resistance to the empire, and of opposition to “spiritual occupation.” In this narrative, Russia “stole” Ukrainian history and “annexed” the Ukrainian church. The strong parallels between modern warfare and the events of the distant past has made it possible to frame the Tomos as long-awaited historical justice, which restored everything to its rightful place.

This narrative has grown up from the politics of history that Ukraine consistently implemented since 2014, and all main points of this politics are easily traced in it: Russia as the main “Other”; the emphasis on resistance; not “common historical experience,” but occupation, etc.

Unlike the politics of history in general, in the case of the historical framing of the Tomos, the narrative was created by a huge number of different actors — from the president and the Ministry of Education to the media and religious scholars acting as talking heads. But surprisingly, it was very holistic and enjoyed equal support among the political elite and the expert community. With the Russian invasion in the background, when “being Orthodox is very or somewhat important to truly be a national in the country”, recognition of the autocephaly of “our church” from Moscow could not help but become a “restoration of historical justice” in the eyes of so many.

Answering my friend’s question, I would say that, in some way, the Tomos really brought a kind of historical justice to Ukraine. The struggle for recognition of the autocephaly and the enormous attention paid by so many people worldwide have shaped and promoted the narrative about the Ukrainian church fighting for its independence for centuries. This narrative — though with a lot of surprising oversimplifications — went far beyond the Ukrainian context, and finally challenged for the very first time the only authoritative source about the history of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy: the Moscow Patriarchate.



  1. To find out more about the politics of history in Ukraine I strongly recommend Georgiy Kasianov’s recent book Past Continuous (published in 2018 in Ukrainian), his chapter “History, Politics and Memory (Ukraine 1990s — 2000s)” in Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives edited by Małgorzata Pakier and Joanna Wawrzyniak in 2015 ( and numerous articles on the subject which can easily be found on his profile; also Iryna Vushko’s 2018 article “Historians at War: History, Politics and Memory in Ukraine” in Contemporary European History ( and many others such as the 2017 volume War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (, and the 2013 volume Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe (, especially Andriy Portnov’s chapter: “Memory Wars in Post-Soviet Ukraine (1991–2010)”.
  2. This is about the church established in 1995. When the Kyiv Patriarchate council elected metropolitan Filaret Denysenko as a patriarch in 1995, part of the clergy refused to accept him as their head, and so they split away and established the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). By this naming they symbolically appealed to the UAOC that had existed throughout the 20th century, and then was forced – as they used to say – to merge with the group of bishops from the Moscow Patriarchate under the name “Kyiv Patriarchate.” This was a relatively small church with few bishops and several hundred places of worship, the majority of which were located in the western regions of Ukraine. They were usually at odds with the Kyiv Patriarchate, but in 2018 under pressure from the Ukrainian public and the president, they decided to merge with the Kyiv Patriarchate into the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to receive canonical recognition from Constantinople.

  3. Bohdana Kostiuk, “PTsU i RPTs. Yak Rosiia pryvlasniuvala istoriiu tserkvy Ukrainy” [OCU and ROC. How Russia appropriated the history of the church of Ukraine — interview with Vitalii Klos], Radio Svoboda, March 4, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  4. Roman Tyshchenko, “Tomos dlia Ukrainy ruinuie mif pro yednist’ narodiv Rosiiskoi imperii — relihiieznavets” [Tomos for Ukraine will destroy myth about the unity of the peoples of the Russian empire — religious scholar (interview with Taras Antoshevskyi], Radio Svoboda, December 13, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  5. Oksana Dudar, “Ukrainska pomisna tserkva postavyt khrest na tysiacholitnii istorii rosiiskoho pravoslavia, — relihiieznavets” [The local Ukrainian church will put an end to the millennia-long history of Russian Orthodoxy — scholar (interview with Dmytro Horevoi)], Dyvys Info, September 5, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  6. President Petro Poroshenko addresses the Verkhovna Rada Ukrainy on April 19, 2018 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  7. Andriy Fert, “Spiritual capital: why Ukraine is breaking from Russia’s Orthodox Church,” OpenDemocracy Russia, September 17, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  8. Oksana Dudar, “Ukrains’ka pomisna tserkva”
  9. President Petro Poroshenko, Address to the Verkhovna Rada Ukrainy on September 20, 2018, (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  10. Ivan Kampasun, “Pro vidnovlennia istorychnoi spravedlyvosti” [On restoration of historical justice — interview with Rostyslav Pavlenko],, April 26, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  11. Dmytro Horevoi, Anna Shamanska, “Konstantynopol’-Kyiv-Moskva: khronolohiia tserkovnykh vidnosyn” [Constantinople-Kyiv-Moscow: chronology of ecclesiastical relations], Radio Svoboda, November 14, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  12. “Synod vyznav, shcho RPTs aneksuvala Kyivs’ku tserkvu — Zoria” [Synod recognized that ROC had annexed Kyivan Church — Zoria], Ukrain’ska Pravda, October 11, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  13. Verkhovna Rada Ukrainy, Appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople no. 1422-VIII, June 16, 2016 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  14. Evstratii Zoria, press-secretary of the UOC-KP, on his Facebook page on October 11, 2018 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  15. Dmytro Hordiyenko, Vitalii Klos, Yurii Mytsyk, Iryna Prelovs’ka, Istoriya Ukrains’koi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy [History of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church] (Kharkiv: Folio, 2019), 78-83.
  16. President Petro Poroshenko, Address to the participants of the Unifying Council on December 15, 2018 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  17. Dmytro Horevoi, Constantinople-Kyiv-Moscow: chronology of ecclesiastical relations,
  18. Lana Samokhvalova, “Yak Rosiia okupuvala Kyivs’ku Mytropoliiu: istoriia movoiu arkhiviv” [How Russia occupied Kyiv Metropolis: history told by the archives], RISU, February 8, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  19. Vitalii Chervonenko, “Chyia Ukraina: tysiacha rokiv borot’by za pravoslavnyi Kyiv” [To whom does Ukraine belong: a thousand years of struggle for Orthodox Kyiv], BBC News Ukraina, September 12, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  20. Lana Samokhvalova, “How Russia occupied Kyiv Metropolis: history told by the archives”,

  21. Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, letter #1/9-90 dated 25.02.2019 “Shchodo vysvitlennia pytan’ stvorennia Pravoslavnoi tserkvy Ukrainy” [On coverage of issues related to the establishing of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine], accessed April 8, 2020,
  22. Verkhovna Rada Ukrainy, Appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople no. 1422-VIII, June 16, 2016 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  23. Lana Samokhvalova, “How Russia occupied Kyiv Metropolis: history told by the archives”,
  24. Ibid.
  25. “Istoriia pravoslavnoi tserkvy v Ukraini u korotkomu mul’tyku” [History of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in a brief cartoon],, October 12, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  26. Ihor Krompf, “Vid khreshchennia i do Tomosu: etapy stanovlennia Ukrains’koi tserkvy” [From the Baptism to the Tomos: stages in establishing of the Ukrainian Church],, July 28, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  27. Telethon “Obiednavchyi sobor” [Unifying Council], UA: Pershyi, December 15, 2018 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  28. President Petro Poroshenko, “Kniaz’ Volodymyr zrobyv yevropeiskyi vybir” [Prince Volodymyr made European choice], Espreso.TV, July 28, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  29. “‘Yevropeiskyi vybir: nyzka politykiv pryvitala ukraintsiv iz Dnem khreshchennia Ukrainy-Rusy” [“European choice”: a number of politicians greeted Ukrainians on the occasion of the Day of the Baptism of Ukraine-Rus], Radio Svoboda, July 28, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  30. Lana Samokhvalova, “How Russia occupied Kyiv Metropolis: history told by the archives,”
  31. Maksym Mayorov, “Kyivs’ka mytropoliia ta inshi pravoslavni tserkvy pered 1686 rokom (karty)” [Kyiv Metropolis and other Orthodox churches before 1686 (maps)], LIKBEZ Istrorychnyi front, December 16, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  32. Lana Samokhvalova, “How Russia occupied Kyiv Metropolis: history told by the archives,”
  33. Verkhovna Rada Ukrainy, Appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople no. 1422-VIII, June 16, 2016 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  34. Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, letter #1/9-90
  35. “Tomos dlia Ukrainy — dokumental’nyi film pro PTsU ta tserkovnu nezalezhnist’” [Tomos for Ukraine — documentary about the OCU and church independence], Telekanal ICTV, January 7, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  36. Bohdana Kostiuk, “OCU and ROC,”
  37. “Khabari, zaliakuvannia ta obman: yak ‘istorychno’ avtokefaliiu otrymuvala Rosiis’ka tserkva” [Bribes, intimidation and deceit: how historically “autocephaly” were granted to the Russian Church],, January 6, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  38. “History of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in brief cartoon”,
  39. “Constantinople-Kyiv-Moscow,”
  40. Kateryna Shchyotkina, “Kinets’ SRSR Moskovs’koho patriarkhatu?…” [The end of the USSR of the Moscow Patriarchate?…], RISU, May 14, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  41. Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Call for papers, June 11, 2015 (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  42. “‘Pokazhit’ svii Tomos: Poroshenko zaproponuvav RPTs dovesty svoiu kanonichnist’” [“Show your Tomos”: Poroshenko proposed ROC prove their canonicity],, January 14, 2019, accessed April 8, 2020,
  43. “Avtokefaliia ukrains’koho pravoslavia poverne Ukrainu do yevropeiskykh vytokiv yii istorii — Poroshenko” [Autocephaly of Ukrainian Orthodoxy will bring Ukraine back to the European origins of its history — Poroshenko], Radio Svoboda, May 5, 2018, accessed April 8, 2020,
  44. President Petro Poroshenko on Facebook on January 18, 2019 (video in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,
  45. Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Informational materials on the centenary of the proclamation of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Government of Directory, 2019, (in Ukrainian) accessed April 8, 2020,
  46. See: Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, 100 oblych Ukrains’koi revoliutsii [100 faces of the Ukrainian Revolution] (Kyiv, 2019), 24, accessed April 8, 2020,; “Tomos for Ukraine,”; History of the OCU from their official web-site (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,; History of the OCU from their official web-site (in Ukrainian), accessed April 8, 2020,; Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, letter #1/9-90,
  47. Funnily enough, this approach has made its way into the documents of the Constantinople Patriarchate. For instance, at the Synaxis taken place in September 2018 in Istanbul Bishop Makarios of Christoupolis presented his report about ecclesiastical issues in Ukraine, in which he stated that, “In early 1919, the Ukrainian government adopted the ‘Law on the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,’… there was no recognition of autocephaly on the part of the Church of Constantinople. Of course, all this was no longer relevant after 1930 when the Bolsheviks occupied Ukraine and abolished the so-called autocephaly.” More at
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