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Ukraine and Russia - what is religious statistics talking about?


Finally, new statistical tables on religious organizations that met the year 2018 in Ukraine and the Russian Federation have been published. Usually these statistics do not tell us much - dry figures and sometimes funny names. But this year there are important news, which should be taken on a pencil, especially because of a surge of interest to the religion in Ukraine.

1. In Russia, the number of parishes in the Russian Orthodox Church continued to grow in 2017, from 16,497 at the start of the year to 16,931 at the end. They represent more than half of the total 28,370 religious communities officially registered in that country now.Today the ROC is a largest religious organization in Russia.

2. Muslim parishes also continued to increase in number in the Russian Federation during last year, up 146 to a new total of 5490, a figure that many Muslim leaders say does not reflect the actual number.

3. Some religious groups in Russia declined significantly: the 397 Jehovah’s Witness communities have been officially disbanded after the church was declared extremist.

4. Russian statistics do not include a line for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It has not appeared since the annexation of Crimea, which means that Russian statistics see the UOC communities in the Crimea as an organic part of the ROC, contradicting the idea that the UOC unites Orthodox on territories that are under the control of the Ukrainian government and uncontroled territories. Confirmation is the splash in the number of ROC communities in statistics for 2014 - when they have added at once 754, although the average annual growth is twice less. In the following years, there were other outbreaks in the Russian Federation, for example, in the statistics for 2015 there were 2 Greek Catholic communities, and for 2016 they were already 7. It is known that in the Crimea the Greek Catholics had to change their positioning to the "Catholic Church of the Byzantine rite, "although what communities really went through re-registration is not known, because Russian statistics are published without reference to the regions. On the other hand, the Ukrainian statistics for the past few years and does not take into account the Crimean communities.

5. In Ukraine, the increase in major Orthodox organizations by communities occurs without sharp leaps, the UOC added 20 communities, and the UOC-KP - 53. The UAOC, which is experiencing bad times, has shrunk to 28 communities. And yet, these three churches include to them 18,682 local religious organizations. Not to mention the fact that this network is larger than the ROC network in absolute terms, it is much denser in terms of the number of communities per capita, because in Russia there are three times (at least) more people than in Ukraine, and the territory of the Russian Federation exceeds the Ukrainian one by almost 30 time. You should not be a great strategist to understand: the unification of even the three largest Orthodox churches in Ukraine will make Ukrainian Orthodoxy the most powerful community of its kind in the world. But the unification must take place on an organic basis, after a long work not only of the President with the Ecumenical Patriarch, but also of the leaders of all Orthodox jurisdictions, including the UOC.

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