Hasn’t President Zelensky banned churches in Ukraine? 

Supporters of Russia have pushed this narrative to distract from the widespread torture and persecution of Ukrianian protestants by Russians that we are highlighting on this website. 

This is a national security issue, not a religious issue. Zelensky has taken steps to limit the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarch. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarch, is the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church. As the name suggests, its clergy reports to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow, the equivalent of the pope in the Russian Orthodox Church.

As detailed elsewhere on our website, the Russian Orthodox Church is not a church as most Americans would think of one. It is a working arm of the Kremlin. Patriarch Kirill has stated that those Russians dying in Ukraine will have all their sins washed away. More broadly, all levels of the Russian Orthodox Church are active in the war. Googling “Russian Orthodox priests blessing tanks,” will yield dozens of photos of priests in robes sprinkling holy water on weapons of war.

Clergy of the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church are similarly engaged in aiding the Russian military. While not all clergy of UOC-MP are bad actors, enough are that 85% of Ukrainians want the government to crack down on the church – 66% want it banned completely.

In Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where Russians executed 560 civilians ranging in age from 2 to 92 and raped girls as young as 14, a UOC-Moscow Patriarchate clergyman reportedly led invading Russian soldiers to the homes of those who would be most likely to oppose them. 

Read also:

Does Ukraine have religious freedom? 

I’ve heard that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarch is the biggest church in Ukraine.