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Spatial Analysis of Contemporary Religious Diversity in Ukraine (SACRED -- Ukraine), 1991-2015




Brik, T., & Korolkov, S. (2020, November 30). Spatial Analysis of Contemporary Religious Diversity in Ukraine (SACRED -- Ukraine), 1991-2015.


After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine became fertile ground for empirical research on religious diversity. Over the past 30 years, several examples illustrate the growing religious pluralism in Ukraine. These include the strong presence of all major Christian denominations (Orthodox, Greek-Catholic, Roman-Catholic and Protestant), the solid influence of the Greek-Catholic church in Western Ukraine, a persisting Baptist presence since the 19th century (i.e., serving as the base for transnational evangelical missions to post-Soviet republics), the rise and growth of Muslim and Jewish communities and the split of the Orthodox church into three independent jurisdictions: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Moreover, in 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed the Tomos, officially recognizing a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine as a canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church within the territory of Ukraine. The goal of this dataset is to map the 30 years of religious resurgence in Ukraine after the fall of the USSR. By measuring and tracking religious supply, this project aims to contribute to the global discussion about its role and state in shaping religious behavior and attitudes of people. Religious supply is also deeply embedded in the history of the Soviet and post-Soviet era; since 2015, religion is associated with political solidarity and international affairs. SACRED-Ukraine includes two files: 1) Religious communities 1991-2015 2) Religious communities 1991-2018 The following dataset attached is the first file. See Spatial Analysis of Contemporary Religious Diversity in Ukraine (SACRED -- Ukraine), 1991-2018 for the second dataset.

Data File

Cases: 184
Variables: 8
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

Spatial Analysis of Contemporary Religious Diversity in Ukraine (SACRED -- Ukraine)

Collection Procedures

Data collection for various Ukrainian religious communities at the level of regions happened throughout 2016-2017. Collection procedures included a mix of researching publications, visiting archives and collecting data.

Ukraine is divided into 27 administrative units: 24 regions, and two cities with special status (Kyiv and Sevastopol). Ukrainian oblasts are similar to the European NUTS2 units. This dataset is measured based on 26 regional units. This includes Kyviv, 24 oblasts, and Crimea with Sevastopol merged into one unit.

Sampling Procedures

The focus of this dataset is on religious communities, which is a good representation of religious supply and religious market, according to past research. To avoid past critiques on using surveys and censuses to study religious pluralism and religious behavior, SACRED data utilizes statistical data of religious communities to analyze religious supply and religious market. However, a few caveats worth noting: some religious communities may not be well represented in the data because in Ukraine, since religious communities are not required to register, local state offices only obtain the information on parishes after registration; the data is aggregated at the regional level, since religious communities are only registered at this level; the size of these religious communities is unknown (only that these churches are greater than the minimum of 10 people). See attached codebook for a more detailed explanation of the theory and context for studying religious communities.

Included below are more elaborated descriptions on the religious groups included in the dataset:
OCU: On Jan. 5, 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed the Tomos, officially recognizing a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine as a canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church within the territory of Ukraine.
UOC-MP: The UOC-MP pictures itself as a descendant of the Metropolis of Kyiv and all Russia. After the collapse of the USSR, it received a status of the self-governed Ukrainian church under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.
UOC-KP: Emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It also considers itself as a descendant Metropolis of Kyiv and all Russia. However, it has a more complex relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church. The UOC-KP received a status of a 'schismatic church' from the latter and it is one of the most popular churches among Ukrainian believers.
UAOC: The historical emergence of it during the Bolshevik Revolution marks the first modern attempt at Ukrainian confessionalization, independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, but such a project could not possibly succeed under Soviet communism. After the fall of the USSR, a new church was organized mostly by efforts of diaspora and clergy in exile who returned to Ukraine.
UAOC_novel: This group became independent from the UAOC in 2006.
UOC_others: All smaller and marginal groups of Orthodox, including the Armenian Church, old believers and Russian Orthodox Church.
UGCH: Emerged after the the Union of Brest (1595-1596) within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the diocese of Lviv served as a main Orthodox stronghold against the 'Unia.' Eventually, once Galicia was incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire under the Partitions, the Greek Catholic Church became the hegemonic confession among Ruthenians/Ukrainians, determining the ethnic boundaries between Greek Catholic Ukrainians and Roman Catholic Poles (Himka, 1984).
Prot_all: The list of such churches is very long and includes different kinds of Lutherans, Baptists, Reformed, Adventist, Evangelist, Charismatic, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. Despite these groups sometimes being very different from each other, they are merged together in this variable. The Jehovah Witnesses and Evangelical Baptist are considered to be two large groups. For some years, it is possible to see different groups as well.
Islam: Most of them are Crimean Tatars who live in Crimea. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, some Tatars migrated to Kyiv, Lviv and Kherson.
Judaism: Most of them are in big cities.
Others: All other religious groups, including but not limited to, pagans, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, etc.

Principal Investigators

Tymofii Brik and Stanislav Korolkov

Related Publications

Brik, T. (2019). When church competition matters? Intra-doctrinal competition in Ukraine, 1992-2012. Sociology of Religion, 80(1), 45-82.

Brik T., Korolkov, S. (2019). A spatial analysis of religious diversity and freedom in Ukraine after the Euromaidan. In Elizabeth A. Clark, Dmytro Vovk (Eds.), Religion during the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict. Routledge.

Blogs and think-tank commentaries:
Wilson Center (2018). Religious Regulations and Orthodox Competition in Ukraine.

Vox Ukraine (2016). Church competition and religious participation: new evidence from Ukraine

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